Re: [OPE-L] Bob Sutcliffe's website

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Thu Jun 07 2007 - 08:04:48 EDT

> The site also contains a copy of his book "The Profit System".

Hi Jurriaan:

Thanks for letting us know about this. For several years I  used that
1987 book, co-authored by Francis Green (Penguin), as a text for a
one-semester course on introductory economics for students who were
trade union members at a "Labor College" (don't ask my why I put that in
quotation marks - long story).  It was quite good for that purpose as it
was one of the few progressive, pro-working class texts on the subject.
It also had the advantage of being quite inexpensive (US$7.95 in pb).
Although parts of it are dated, it might be useful today for those who
want to assign a relatively short radical source as a supplemental text.

The Sutcliffe and Green book, along with the various editions of
_Understanding Capitalism_ by Bowles and Edwards (and now Roosevelt),
are examples of books which seek in part to *explain exploitation and
surplus without a theory of value*.  Whatever you think about the need
for value theory, I think the authors were able to convey most of the
concepts associated with class, surplus and exploitation *without* also
explaining controversies in value theory.  Both books explained
exploitation and class more intuitively than rigorously, but that's
not such a bad thing for introductory texts. And, overall, I think
there's a lot to be said for alternative heterodox texts which don't
have most of the reactionary religion so commonplace in mainstream
economics texts.  They are both also quite readable and not
graph-intensive or equation-intensive - which is good (or bad)
depending on your pedagogical perspective about what type of learning
environment you want to help create in the classroom.

btw, welcome back from your mini-break.

In solidarity, Jerry

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