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The Empire of Value: A New Foundation for Economics Hardcover – 8 Jul 2014

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About the Author

Andre Orlean is Senior Researcher in the CNRS Center for Economics at the Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris, and Director of Studies at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales.

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally someone with an alternative! 28 Mar. 2015
By They'reTheMessWe'reIn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not just a book about the recent financial crisis: It's about rethinking the foundations from the ground up of what the Nobel committee keeps calling "the economic sciences." By recasting the nature of "economic value" and then patiently drawing out the implications of that recasting, Orléan moves beyond the conventional critiques of "neoclassical economics" to what needs to replace it by way of a better, broader explanation of economic behavior. He is refreshingly forthright in drawing the implications of this as well.

The readership of this book should be well beyond those in economics and policy analysis (my profession). To that end, Orléan takes a number of opportunities in the book to sum up his argument, such that by the time the reader gets to the last chapters on the financial crisis, he or she will see how his "mimetic approach" applies with chilling detail.

And what is his mimetic approach? To simplify, think of it this way. When you work under complex and uncertain conditions, economists are fond of telling you that you work on the basis of likely outcomes with respect to costs and benefits. Often, they tell you that the greater the uncertainty the more risk averse you become. The mimetic approach says: No; you might end up taking even more risks. It depends on whom you think knows what really is going on and then imitating him/her/them in your behavior.

From this notion that economic behavior is profoundly imitative (mimetic) under conditions of high uncertainty Orléan is able to look back to economists and sociologists who knew this all along and to consolidate those insights and extend them in original ways into a new foundation for economic analysis.
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