The Mechanistic Paradigm

  • Claus Dierksmeier
Part of the Humanism in Business Series book series (HUBUS)


This chapter presents management problems and traces them back to mistaken business theories based on a misguided “mechanistic paradigm” of economics. Mechanistic models, mimicking the methods of natural sciences, became popular in the realm of economic theory soon after the year 1800. Mechanistic economists attempted to break down all economic behavior into its smallest constituent parts such as the rational pursuit of self-interest of economic agents. Through this methodological filter, however, much of what constitutes everyday economic practices does not enter into economic theory. As a result, precisely those aspects of the human condition that enable individuals and institutions to advance the course of an ethical economy—personal freedom and responsibility—were eliminated from mechanistic economics. This led to the externalization of responsibility from the concept of economic freedom, much to the detriment of any and all interests in the social, moral, and ecological sustainability of business.


Economics Utilitarianism Maximization Homo economicus Principal/agent-theory 


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© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and the Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claus Dierksmeier
    • 1
  1. 1.Weltethos-Institut University of TübingenTübingenGermany

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