Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Seth Ackerman And Mike Beggs On The Intellectual And Moral Bankruptcy Of Mainstream Economics

Seth Ackerman and Mike Beggs have an interesting article in Jacobin. They note:

  • Marginalist economics arose as a reaction against the analysis of class conflict in classical economics.
  • Greg Mankiw's defense of the 1% is deeply muddled.
  • The Arrow-Debreu model's use as a benchmark reflects a "broken" "belief system".
  • Marx and Keynes developed different, but perhaps compatible views of political economy.
  • Post Keynesians developed anti-neoclassical elements in Keynes' theory and revived the surplus-based approach to political economy.

I'll quote the last two paragraphs here:

"But in the long run, radicals need something more from their economics. Class conflict is at the heart of the capitalist economy and the capitalist state, yet neoclassical economics will not acknowledge the fact. How, then, should we think about economics as a discipline and the question of inequality as its subject? At an individual level, there are truly great economists working in the mainstream — some harboring deeply humane instincts, and some even with good politics. As a body of knowledge, economics yields a flood of invaluable empirical data and a trove of sophisticated tools for thinking through discrete analytical questions.

But as a vision of capitalist society, mainstream economics is simply hollow at its core — and the hollow place has been filled up with a distorted bourgeois ideology that does nothing but impede our understanding of the social world." -- Seth Ackerman & Mike Beggs

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