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The values of the world against the 'world' of values: Practical contradictions of economic theories of 'welfare'

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This paper tries to disclose the abstract manner in which orthodox theories of 'welfare' conceive of social values (ethics) and the consequences of such subjective treatment of values for theory itself and for praxis. The interest here resides particularly in the demonstration that the abstract articulation of social values stems from the admission of determinate ontological tenets, which characterise a profoundly conservative worldview. As the realisation of some of the values considered by orthodox theories of 'welfare' (such as the value of equality) demands a truly transformative praxis, it is obstructed a priori. To overcome this continued frustration and finally realise social values, economists reclaim the idea of state intervention. The question then is whether the state has the capacity to radically modify social reality.


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