Magnitudes in Badiouʼs Objective Phenomenology and Economic Consumer Choice
Keywords:Badiou, preference logic, utility theory, objective phenomenology, Marx, value form
The young Marx once remarked that political economy finds itself in an estranged form and is therefore in desperate need of a critical reconstruction of its object [Gegenstand]. He proposed a complete deconstruction of economic objectivity and its categories, hoping to recover the true species-life of man. In the article, we assert that contemporary economic theory remains confined by this estrangement, despite managing to ‘revolutionize’ itself out of the grip of classical political economy. The subjectivist-marginalist reliance on ‘measurable’ consumer preferences not only solidified the discipline’s estrangement, but also wrested away any remaining basic principles of economics through neoclassical reconceptualization. A break with estrangement would require novel critical economic thinking that would do away with the discontinuity between classical and neoclassical (contemporary) economics. It would therefore need a rich enough framework to scrutinize its principal categories. We argue that Alain Badiou’s objective phenomenology possesses a complementary synchronic structure able to conform to basic economic tenets, allowing for a comparative and synthetic approach. This would then be the basis for a new model of economic theorizing. We conclude the article with Marx’s value form, seeing it as a possible central category of a newly proposed economic framework.
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