This seminar was supposed to be about exchange and its gains (see abstract below), but because of the outcome of the presidential election in USA, Geoffrey changed the topic.
Over the history of Economics, there have been a small number of influential voices insisting on the primacy of the idea of “exchange” within a proper account of the Economics discipline. Sometimes this view has been expressed in terms of recommendations for a change in the discipline’s name – away from oeconomia (with its connotation of household management) and towards “catallactics” or “catallaxy” – the science of exchange.
In this paper I shall be concerned with the relation between exchange and mutual gains or mutual advantage. I shall be concerned with mutual advantage that arises other than via exchange. And I shall be concerned to investigate whether voluntary exchange always yields mutual advantage – or at least to uncover cases which put pressure on that connection. And I shall be concerned to explore cases where, not only is it the case that mutual advantage can arise without exchange but where exchange (at least in the folk understanding of what exchange involves) would actually destroy the benefits on offer.
Read the paper (a shorter version will be handed out at the seminar)
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