Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publication Title

Economics as Discourse: An Analysis of the Language of Economists



Publisher Name

Kluwer Academic Publishers

Publisher Location



This contribution to Economics as Discourse: An Analysis of the Language of Economists develops the theme that economics, long considered a science, is actually part of the cultural context by and through which we give meaning and purpose to our lives. Economics is culture, our culture in the sense that it represents an “effort to provide a coherent set of answers to the existentialist situations that confront all human beings in the passage of their lives” (Bell 1976, p. 12).

The analytical framework for this chapter is Clifford Geertz’s model of religion as a cultural system (1973, pp. 87-125). The analytical task is to delve into the meaning of economics. I juxtapose economics with religion knowing full well that few economists think of themselves as theologians. Doing so, however, illuminates the meanings of the concepts embodied in the symbols that make up economics proper, symbols such as the Marshallian Cross.1 We can then inquire into the relationship, or lack of relationship, between economics and what goes on in the world.




Author Posting. © Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990. This abstract is posted here for personal use, not for redistribution. The chapter was published in Economics as Discourse: An Analysis of the Language of Economists, 1990,

To view the chapter in full, please contact the author:

Raymond Benton Jr.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Available for download on Thursday, January 01, 2099

Included in

Business Commons