[OPE-L:6404] Re: What do you teach in your micro and IO classes?

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Thu, 2 Apr 1998 12:31:13 -0500 (est)

Ted wrote on Thu, 2 Apr:

> Ajit said in his post of March 9: "As far as first year micro is
> concerned. I think not much can be done. I think it is important to
> point out that there are alternative paradigms, and that micro paradigm
> has many weeknesses." I took Ajit at his word, especially that there
> "ARE (exists)" alternative paradigms and asked if he at least POINTED
> OUT that TSS as one of many alternative paradigms in any mention in
> class or whether through a bibiographic reference to our recent text
> and specific articles.

I still don't see how TSS enters into the picture. I gather, according to
Ajit, that he discusses Marx and _mentions_ the "transformation problem"
in his micro class.

But, the transformation from value to prices of production, the law of the
tendency for the general rate of profit to decline, technological change
within the dynamic process of capital accumulation (and even a critique of
the Okishio Theorem) are all subjects that relate to *capitalist
production as a whole*. This is not the same level of analysis as
microeconomics. To the extent that a discussion of these subjects has a
place in introductory or intermediate economics classes, then I would say
that the most logical place to introduce them is in a class in

(of course, a good case could be made that the mainstream micro/macro
divide isn't really applicable to Marx. But, even so, if one has to teach
courses then one has to decide when and where different subjects are to be

> Standard
> micro is a simultaneist, use value paradigm and TSS is an alternative.

But, standard micro is more than the marginal utility school and general
equilibrium (Walrasian) theory. There is also Marshallian theory and an
examination of market structures. I don't for instance have any idea of
what relevance TSS has to these other subjects. If, for instance, someone
from a TSS perspective has written about the changing forms of competition
in different branches of production under late capitalism (a micro
subject) then I would be interested in reading that work (or works).

> I'm glad to see that Gerry is no longer questioning whether TSS
> is at all relevant to teaching a Micro course such as Ajit's which
> breaks from the standard mold by including such contentious topics as
> the transformation problem to which TSS has contributed so
> fundamentally.

See above.

> Gerry's new objection
> is that there are so many alternatives that it would be an endless
> burden to point out the existence of all these interpretations. I wish
> that were the case.

I think it is the case. There are a wide range of heterodox perspectives
from varying schools (surplus approach, Post-Keynesianism,
institutionalist, Marxian, etc.). I see no reason to believe -- at least I
have seen no *evidence* to believe -- that TSS is any more "suppressed"
than other heterodox perspectives.

> If I can work myself free and take a sabbatical I would like to write a
> history of thought paper pointing out the issues in contention during the
> recent development value theory.

I'd be interested in reading that paper.

In solidarity, Jerry