Inequality: Radical Institutionalist Views on Race, Gender, Class, and Nation

Inequality: Radical Institutionalist Views on Race, Gender, Class, and Nation

Inequality: Radical Institutionalist Views on Race, Gender, Class, and Nation

Inequality: Radical Institutionalist Views on Race, Gender, Class, and Nation

Synopsis

Radical institutionalism--a processual paradigm focused on changing the direction of cultural evolution and the function of social provisioning in order to promote the full participation of all--defines inequality as evolving from class exploitation, gender domination, race discrimination, and national predation. Radical institutionalism states that inequality is not determined by genetic differences between groups, innate differences between sexes, or class differences. It is believed that mainstream thinking in economics and related studies is not broad enough to capture the complexity of this social pathology.

Excerpt

William M. Dugger

Three volumes have preceded this one in a loosely related series of anthologies produced by an informal group of radical institutional economists. The first three volumes were: Radical Institutionalism, edited by William M. Dugger; The Stratified State, edited by William M. Dugger and William T. Waller Jr.; and The Economic Status of Women Under Capitalism, edited by Janice Peterson and Doug Brown.

This new anthology focuses radical institutionalism on inequality. Radical institutionalism is a "processual paradigm focused on changing the direction of cultural evolution and the function of social provisioning in order to promote the full participation of all" (Dugger 1989, 133). Mainstream economics is not broad enough to capture the complexities of inequality, but radical institutionalism, with its blend of institutionalism, Marxism, and feminism, is. Radical institutionalists understand that at its root, inequality is social rather than individual in nature. It is a product of social processes more than of individual choices. Furthermore, inequality is not determined by alleged genetic differences between races and ethnic groups or differences between sexes or by cultural differences between classes. Most important, inequality is a social pathology, not an inevitable cost of economic progress.

This volume is in four parts. Basic ways of understanding inequality are discussed in Part 1. The welfare state crisis is discussed in Part 2. Part 3 explores international contexts. Part 4 contains case studies.

Thorstein Veblen is the founder of institutional economics, so this anthology starts with The Egalitarian Significance of Veblen's Business-Industry Dichotomy, by Rick Tilman. Tilman explains that Veblen's appreciation for equality as an essential element in the fullness of life provides the key to understanding the "Veblenian dichotomy. . . ."

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