Re: [OPE-L] is there "no longer a single dominant school" in economics?

From: Riccardo Bellofiore (riccardo.bellofiore@UNIBG.IT)
Date: Tue Sep 13 2005 - 09:51:32 EDT

Dear Andrew,

yes, I am interested - btw, I strongly disagree 
both with the new pluralism and with the turn 
taken by Bowles et al. They are following the 
"imperfectionist" line descending from the EEG as 
the base of economics. I am for a dialogue and 
criticism of the heterodox monetary analysis 
within a Marxian perspective. I liked very much 
the other two editions.

But why you thought I should have been 
interested? This way I can give a more meaningful 
answer, if any.


ps: sorry, I saw this message only now.


At 15:09 +0100 31-08-2005, Andrew Brown wrote:
>Thought you might be interestedŠ.
>-----Original Message-----
>From: OPE-L [mailto:OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU] On Behalf Of Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM
>Sent: 31 August 2005 14:26
>Subject: [OPE-L] is there "no longer a single dominant school" in economics?
>I have assigned the (new) 3rd edition of _Understanding Capitalism_ for
>a couple of sections of macro courses that I am teaching this semester.
>The 3rd edition -- in which Frank Roosevelt was added as a co-author
>besides Samuel Bowles and Richard Edwards -- is in many ways different
>from the preceding two editions.  The fundamental reason for the changes,
>I believe, is a change in perspective by the authors.
>While it might be seen as still being an "alternative" text and it is
>certainly more progressive than mainstream texts,  the authors have
>clearly become believers in the "new pluralism" in economics.  What
>has changed in recent years, they claim,  is 
>that economists "have turned their
>attention to inequality, the importance of ethical values and unselfish
>motives in economic behavior, the exercise of power, the way that history
>shapes economic events, and how the economy shapes who we are as
>individuals and as people in societies and cultures."    Note that the way
>in which "economics has changed in significant ways" concerns -- for B, E &
>R -- the *content* of their analysis rather than merely the analytical
>techniques employed.  Indeed, the authors claim:
>      "Of course, economics remains a controversial topic.  There is,
>       however, no longer a single dominant school but rather many distinct
>       approaches, each with its own merits and shortcomings."
>This leads me to ask:
>*Have the perspectives in  the economics profession changed significantly
>since the 1980s _or_ have the perspectives of Bowles, Edwards and Roosevelt
>changed _or_ have both changed?*
>*What do you think?*
>The authors claim that since the 1st edition of this book, the Nobel Prize:
>     "has been awarded to many of the economists who have inspired our own
>      work.  Among them are Amartya Sen and Ronald Coase ..., as well as
>      George Akerlof, Joseph Stiglitz, Robert Fogel, Douglass North,
>      Daniel Kahnemann, Vernon Smith, John Nash, and others."
>Yet, if one were to examine either of the previous editions of this book, one
>would be hard pressed to discover ways in which any of the above
>"inspired our own work."    It is therefore 
>unclear when they were so "inspired".
>It is also unclear how exactly the above "inspired" Bowles, Edwards and
>Roosevelt.   Can it be that they were really inspired by Robert Fogel --
>an apologist for slavery?   What inspiration could they have received from
>marginalist economic historian Douglass North, etc.?
>*Should _we_ be inspired by any of the recent Nobel Prize winners?  If so,
>which ones?*
>In the text, the authors especially highlight 
>the contributions of Ronald Coase
>and Amartya Sen?
>*Are there any perspectives of Coase and Sen that we should especially take
>note of and incorporate within our analysis?*
>As I explained previously, I had used the two earlier editions of
>this book as texts for classes that I had taught on introductory economics.
>As I have more experience working with this edition, I'll let you know more
>about that experience.  I can tell you that the 
>current edition does retain much
>of the content and focus of the previous 
>editions.  The sub-title is similar --
>"competition, command, and change" (but "in the US Economy" was dropped
>-- reflecting more of a global focus) -- and the 
>focus on class, race, and gender
>remains.  Analytically -- as was the case with 
>prior editions --  the concepts of
>the surplus product (and class conflict over), 
>the importance (and determinants) of
>the rate of profit,  economic dualism, segmented 
>labor markets, and even social
>structures of accumulation remain.  This is the case even though I don't think
>that Bowles and Edwards could still be said to 
>be part of the Social Structure of
>Accumulation (SSA) perspective.  (Terry: am I mistaken?)    So I guess the
>bottom line is that while there are many 
>significant changes in the text, much of the
>flavor and content remains the same or is quite similar.  One wonders, though,
>what the next edition will look like ....
>In solidarity, Jerry

Riccardo Bellofiore
Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche
"Hyman P. Minsky"
Universitą di Bergamo
Via dei Caniana 2
I-24127 Bergamo, Italy
direct    +39-035-2052545
secretary    +39-035 2052501
fax:      +39 035 2052549

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