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The Social Construction of Theoretical Landscapes: Some Economics of Economic Theories



Economic theory emerges through interaction among interested participants, with the content of those theories being a product of spontaneous ordering and not scientific planning. At any moment, it is reasonable to expect various theoretical formulations to be in play, some typically receiving greater attention than others. As with spontaneous orders in general, the institutional arrangements within which theorizing occurs are influential though not determinative over the characteristics of theories. In this respect, a distinction is made between theories directed at understanding social processes as open and creative and theories directed at controlling what are treated as closed and deterministic processes. This distinction is illustrated with respect to theorizing about macro phenomena and public phenomena.