Modern Economic Thought: The American Contribution

By Allan G. Gruchy | Go to book overview

CHAPTER
8
The Emergence of a 20th-Century Political Economy

This survey of the economic thought of six outstanding members of the holistic school reveals that their scientific analyses fall into the mold of a common intellectual pattern. The general pattern of their economic theorizing is woven around a framework of interpretation which takes the American economy to be a dynamic, emergent going system or cultural concern. The holistic economists have all come to view the American economic system as an evolving, pluralistic complex of economic relations in which conflict of interests is the dominant cultural fact. Furthermore, they combine their new framework of interpretation with a fresh approach to the analysis of economic behavior. These heterodox economists agree on the need to replace the outmoded, individualistic psychology of the neo-classicists with a social or cultural psychology which gives proper attention to the importance in contemporary American economic life of collective action and of communal standards of conduct. They find their new psychological approach very useful in developing their theory of capitalistic enterprise. Although these economists have many specialized scientific interests, they all see the need to relate particular economic studies to a larger theory of the evolving total economic order. This theory of the total economic order is an interpretation of the structure and functioning of the economic segment of contemporary American culture. Having a strong pragmatic bias, the members of the holistic school pass on from their theory of the total economic system to the question of how this system might be improved. Since they are economic interventionists who think in terms of the necessity of controlling the flow of economic events to the end that a

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