In this book, noted financial analyst Pascal Blanqué discusses the concept of economic freedom and analyzes the theoretical and practical issues involved in its attainment.
To fully explore the meaning of economic freedom, Blanqué creates a “Subject” that can reason and act in a structured financial environment. The Subject is a personification of the theory of homo economicus, a general concept that humans are narrowly self-interested and motivated by their personal goals, as opposed to wanting to cooperate for the greater good.
Blanqué turns his Subject loose in a virtual economic world filled with image-objects of varying value and observes as it becomes familiar with those objects, learns their worth in the financial market, and attempts to obtain them. Many factors come into play in this striving for personal gain, including the presence of other self-interested actors who can affect the Subject’s behavior through competition, conflict, and consensus. Based on his findings from this exercise, Blanqué establishes the conditions for a possible economic and financial norm in the real world as well as the proper amount of regulation to keep it running smoothly.
The second part of The Social Economy of Freedom introduces the philosophical foundations for the modern idea of economic freedom. Blanqué argues that development of the economic Subject’s identity and actions are shaped by the interaction and observation of others, and it is therefore interdependent. He demonstrates that the question of economic freedom is, to a great extent, based on the collective forms of freedom that accompany the development of the action process. Such collective forms contain the conditions for a norm and therefore for regulation in the face of conflicts.