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      Who Owns the Unexpected? Insights from Antigone for Don Lamberton's economic question

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            Dissent and assent contribute to new information and knowledge in that they foster ideas, avert errors and counter misplaced beliefs. Although intended to facilitate progress, innovation and creativity, dissent may be opposed by the closed mind and defensive mindset. Don Lamberton encountered a specific mindset in his own duties to scholarship in economics. Thus, the perspective of dissent is a fitting way to pay homage to his scholarship. However, this paper is also a lament. It gives an interpretation of Antigone from political philosophy which depicts Antigone rocking an ideological boat harboured by the polis. The silencing of Antigone's voice results in unexpected losses in the oikos. This is the sort of tragedy threatening critical and innovative scholarship in the twenty-first century.


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            Pluto Journals
            1 December 2015
            : 33
            : 4 ( doiID: 10.1080/prometheus.33.issue-4 )
            : 421-430
            Department of Mathematics and Statistics, La Trobe University, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia
            © 2015 Pluto Journals

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            Computer science,Arts,Social & Behavioral Sciences,Law,History,Economics


            1. The term pre-dates Galbraith at least to 1838, see Warner and Frelinhuysen (1838, p.35).

            2. I am specifically indebted to Sofia Ahlberg and Nick Sergeant for clarifications concerning The Waste Land.

            3. This is Don's allusion to William Blake's poem.

            4. In this play, Antigone is a character who sets individual conscience above and against the might and authority of the state, that is, ‘the gods’. One sees her belief in a personal encounter with divine principle. This play is the first instance, of which we are aware, of such a character. Antigone, daughter of Oedipus, has buried her brother in defiance of the clear edict of the king, Creon. Antigone's brother was a traitor to Thebes. Antigone's wilful and yet considered act of disobedience relates to her deep convictions over family, kinship and the ancestral ties of the ancient Greeks. Antigone's pleas are not just personal, but also a profound temporal and spatial dimension of the plot. To Creon, Antigone's convictions mean nothing and Creon's punishment for Antigone's disobedience is that she be buried alive. Creon's edict is not the end of the story because Antigone takes her own life. Creon's son, abhorring his father's cruelty, then commits suicide. When Creon's wife learns of the loss of her son, she, too, takes her own life. There, the play ends. By the time Creon realises his error, it is too late.

            5. The meaning relates to the household as the basic unit of family and for producing and consuming.

            6. Although I was schooled in neoclassical economics, my tertiary education encompassed heterodoxy and countervailing ideas (beyond those of ‘Professor Lamberton’ in my first year). For a non-technical discussion of the diversity that still exists in economic thought, see Chang (2010).

            7. I am indebted to Richard Joseph for this information on Kenneth Boulding.

            8. The allusion here may seem to be to Humphrey Bogart's famous line in The Maltese Falcon; however the intended claim is to Prospero: ‘Such stuff as dreams are made on…‘ (The Tempset, IV, i).


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