[OPE-L:3786] The Golden Age Illusion

Gerald Lev (glevy@pratt.edu)
Thu, 5 Dec 1996 20:42:14 -0800 (PST)

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I received a copy recently of a really *incredible* book that is related
to many of the topics that we have been discussing, especially the
falling rate of profit, technical change, and empirical measurement:

@@ Michael J. Webber and David L. Rigby THE GOLDEN AGE ILLUSION: @@
@@ RETHINKING POSTWAR CAPITALISM, New York, The Guilford Press, 1996 @@
@@ [ISBN 0-89862-573-4]. @@

It is 501 (!) pages in length, hardcover, and sells for $45.00. Exam
copies are available. You can call the publisher at 1-800-365-7006 or
E-mail <info@guilford.com>.

Michael Webber is a Professor of Geography at the University of Melbourne
in Australia. David Rigby is an Associate Professor of Geography at the
University of California, Los Angeles.

[It seems to me that there have been a number of first-rate and important
contributions to political economy in recent years by radical geographers,
especially as it relates to urban, regional, and international political
economy. I think it's _high time_ for us to seriously consider the work
of these authors. Do others agree?].

The theme of the book concerns what happened to the so-called "golden age"
of capitalism (the post-WW2 boom). The authors, a blurb says, "use
nonlinear, nonequilibrium, and evolutionary arguments to frame
discussions of profit rates, technological change, and interregional
capital flows."


1. Introduction

2. The Partly Golden Age

3. Competing Theories of Growth and Change

4. The Labor Theory of Value and Expected Prices

5. Accumulation, Technical Change, and the Falling Rate of Profit

6. The Form of Productivity Change

7. Internationalization and Global Capital Flows

8. Profits and Technical Change in Australia, Canada, Japan, and the USA

9. The Rate and Direction of Technical Change in US Manufacturing

10. The Growth of the Newly Industrializing Countries

11. Conclusion

The *actual* table of contents is 6 pages long and has enough detail to
make your mouths all water! If I had more time and energy, I would
reproduce the contents here and you would all then rush to get a copy (no
kidding). A very thorough index and bibliography is included (the
bibliography is 29 pages long and quite a number of works by OPE-L
subscribers are included.

I wouldn't really recommend this book as a text for new students since it
is pretty technical in parts with lots of sophisticated equations (just
the stuff a lot of subscribers would just love) and presumes a knowledge
of a lot of the literature related to Marxian economics. The empirical
sections of the book are quite detailed and have lots of pretty tables and

Richard A. Walker, Chair, Department of Geography, University of
California at Berkeley, calls the book: "A coup for economic geography and
a challenge to the economists - if they know what hit them." Although that
comment appears to be directed at mainstream economists, it seems to me
that this book could equally well be said to be a challenge to Marxist
economists. The challenge might be to access the work being done today by
Marxist geographers.

In solidarity,