Socio-Economic Machines and Practical Models of Development: The Role
of the HDI.
The objectives of this chapter are to characterize the socio-economic machines and to show the entanglement of facts and values in economic instruments like indexes. After presenting the proposal for a normative machine and model of capabilities, the chapter analyzes the role of the HDI in this context.
This will serve as an example of how to combine theoretical and practical reason in Economics. It will show that the HDI makes a number of underlying technical and practical assumptions. The conclusion is that the HDI could be a partial model contributing to the construction of a socio-economic normative machine of development, but that it has to be improved. Normative models should include all the relevant arguments and information needed to construct a socio-economic normative machine—which permits the effective work of practical reason in order to accomplish its purpose in each place and situation.
Keywords: Socio-economic machines – Entanglement of facts and values – Shortcomings of the HDI