Toward a New Economics: Essays in Post-Keynesian and Institutionalist Theory

By Alfred S. Eichner | Go to book overview

I
Introduction

The essays that have been brought together in this volume are directed toward those who, whether long-time students of economics or only now just completing their graduate training, are reluctant to turn away from the orthodox theory, as represented by the neoclassical synthesis, because they believe there is nothing better to put in its place. The thrust of the essays is that there is, indeed, something better.

That something better is based on a set of ideas developed by economists working outside the mainstream of the discipline. In recognition of the fact that its core derives from the efforts by several of Keynes' closest associates at Cambridge University, in the years following his death in 1945, to go beyond just the principle of effective demand in describing the dynamics of an advanced market economy, this set of ideas has been labeled post-Keynesian. But it could just as well be termed post-classical, or even post-Marxist, since it also picks up where the classical mode of analysis left off following the marginalist revolution in the 1870s. Indeed, it could well be described as institutionalist since an important characteristic of the theory is the prominent role it ascribes to the dominant institutions of the twentieth century--in particular, the large multinational corporation, trade unions, and credit money. The purpose in bringing these essays together in one volume is to present this body of post-Keynesian theory as an integrated whole, thereby demonstrating that it is just as comprehensive and coherent as the neoclassical synthesis, the dominant theory in economics today, while at the same time being far more applicable to economic systems like those of the United States and the other OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries.

The precise ways in which post-Keynesian theory differs from the neoclassical synthesis will be brought out in the following essays. What needs to be understood, even before turning to that subject, is why an economic analysis is almost certain to go astray when it is based on the

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Toward a New Economics: Essays in Post-Keynesian and Institutionalist Theory
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface viii
  • 1 - Introduction 3
  • 2 - The Megacorp as a Social Innovation 10
  • Afterword 27
  • 3 - Micro Foundations of the Corporate Economy 28
  • Afterword 73
  • 4 - An Anthropogenic Approach to Labor Economics 75
  • Afterword 96
  • 5 - The Demand Curve for Money Further Considered (Written With, and Based on the Econometric Work of, Leonard Forman and Miles Groves) 98
  • Afterword 109
  • 6 - Stagflation: Explaining the Inexplicable 113
  • Addendum 145
  • Afterword 148
  • Notes to the Addendum 149
  • 7 - The New Paradigm and Macrodynamic Modeling 151
  • Introduction 151
  • Conclusions 173
  • 8 - Post-Keynesian Theory and Empirical Research 176
  • Afterword 199
  • 9 - Reflections on Social Democracy 200
  • Afterword 218
  • References 219
  • Index 231
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