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This paper is an initial attempt to discuss the American institutionalist movement as it changed and developed after 1945. Institutionalism in the inter-war period was a relatively coherent movement held together by a set of general methodological, theoretical, and ideological commitments (Rutherford, 2011). Although institutionalism always had its critics, it came under increased attack in the 1940s, and faced challenges from Keynesian economics, a revived neoclassicism, econometrics, and from new methodological approaches derived from various versions of positivism. The institutionalist response to these criticisms, and particularly the criticism that institutionalism “lacked theory,” is to be found in a variety of attempts to redefine institutionalism in new theoretical or methodological terms. Perhaps the most important of these is to be found in Clarence Ayres’ The Theory of Economic Progress (1944), although there were many others. These developments were accompanied by a significant amount of debate, disagreement, and uncertainty over future directions. Some of this is reflected in the early history of The Association for Evolutionary Economics.
The first Wisconsin Ph.D.s who came to MSU with an institutional bent were agricultural economists and included Henry Larzalere (Ph.D. 1938) whose major professor was…
The first Wisconsin Ph.D.s who came to MSU with an institutional bent were agricultural economists and included Henry Larzalere (Ph.D. 1938) whose major professor was Asher Hobson. Larzalere recalls the influence of Commons who retired in 1933. Upon graduation, Larzalere worked a short time for Wisconsin Governor Phillip Fox LaFollette who won passage of the nation’s first unemployment compensation act. Commons had earlier helped LaFollette’s father, Robert, to a number of institutional innovations.4 Larzalere continued the Commons’ tradition of contributing to the development of new institutions rather than being content to provide an efficiency apologia for existing private governance structures. He helped Michigan farmers form cooperatives. He taught land economics prior to Barlowe’s arrival in 1948, but primarily taught agricultural marketing. One of his Master’s degree students was Glenn Johnson (see below). Larzalere retired in 1977.
This paper seeks to evaluate how some of the core general principles of heterodox political economy (HPE) can be applied to the issue of how HPE has managed to undergo…
This paper seeks to evaluate how some of the core general principles of heterodox political economy (HPE) can be applied to the issue of how HPE has managed to undergo resurgence and development over recent decades.
Four major principles of heterodoxy are applied successively to this issue: historical specificity; contradiction; heterogeneous agents and groups; and circular and cumulative causation.
These principles assist in comprehending how HPE is able to develop its own concepts, networks, publications, academic departments, teaching and policy‐relevant material.
HPE has had considerable success in developing a conceptual apparatus, which helps to explain the emergence of much of its edifice being developed in academic and policy circles. The performance of HPE has been impressive.
The conceptual apparatus of heterodoxy can be applied to real world situations; specifically a component of world history over especially the past 40 years.
This is the first time such a theme has been explored in the literature.
This article explores what is meant by social economics in a set of ten specific commentaries or interpretations which appear to be widely accepted by social economists…
This article explores what is meant by social economics in a set of ten specific commentaries or interpretations which appear to be widely accepted by social economists. In brief those commentaries are organized and presented in the following manner. Social economics is: heterodox; evolutionary, revolutionary, and counter‐revolutionary; a social science; a moral science; social economics because it addresses the social question; recognizes that the invisible hand does not protect the common good; anthropocentric; teleological; has vision; and has a three‐part structure. This article tends toward simplicity and brevity, the better to set forth the essential nature of social economics. Social economics is more than just a subspecialty area within or a branch of the tree of conventional economic thought. Rather social economics is an entire body of thought, a different way of thinking about economic affairs. It resembles mainstream economics in the same way that one tree resembles another. But it is a separate tree, with its own life force supplied by the scholarly energies of those who identify with social economics.
Economics and political philosophy tend to lead separate existences in separate university departments. This paper argues that there are gains to be had in the…
Economics and political philosophy tend to lead separate existences in separate university departments. This paper argues that there are gains to be had in the understanding of the teaching of economics if the intellectual divide between these disciplines is bridged. The history of economic thought owes its evolution in part to responses at particular points in time to the enduring questions of political philosophy. A more deep‐seated understanding of economics and of HET is therefore available if considered in conscious alliance with the history of political philosophy (HPP). In short, the argument of this paper ‐ which considers five dimensions of the interdependence of HET and HPP ‐ is the reverse of Scott Gordon’s conclusion that economists have little or nothing to learn from philosophers.
In 1978, Philip Klein wrote about institutional economists of the Veblen-Commons-Mitchell-Ayres variety:Whatever we call ourselves, we are not given much credit generally…
In 1978, Philip Klein wrote about institutional economists of the Veblen-Commons-Mitchell-Ayres variety: Whatever we call ourselves, we are not given much credit generally among our fellow economists, but I think there is evidence that an ever-wider group of economists has begun to hear what we are saying and to accept a number of our premises…institutionalism must be viewed as either never having died or as being in the process of a resurrection which I suggest will endure (Klein, 1978, p. 252).Klein’s optimism seems justified by the following quote from Joseph Stiglitz’s new book, Globalization and its Discontents: Old-fashioned economics textbooks often talk about market economics as if it had three essential ingredients: prices, private property, and profits. Together with competition, these provide incentives, coordinate economic decision making, ensuring that firms produce what individuals want at the lowest possible cost. But there has also long been a recognition of the importance of institutions (Stiglitz, 2002, p. 139; emphasis in original).Klein and other original institutionalists should be buoyed when they hear such a statement from a recent Nobel Prize winner. One problem, however, is that the “old-fashioned textbooks” are still being published in 2003. The quote also raises a question: just who recognized the importance of institutions and when did they recognize it? Statements such as the above by Stiglitz irk original institutionalists, but why? Is it because he underestimates the prominence of perfect competition in current texts, because he is understating original institutionalists’ positions as “keepers of the faith,” or both? In any case, we may not be able to hoist the V(eblen)-C(ommons) banner and claim total victory but, increasingly, more of economics today is institutional economics. A recent article by Allan Schmid demonstrates that indeed though everyone is not an institutionalist in the Veblen-Commons mold, “good economists find it useful to embrace some of its various elements” (Schmid, 2001, p. 281).
This article attempts to provide an institutionalist analysis and diagnosis of the current crisis of orthodox economics. We shall, first, characterise the predominant opinion in economics—the neoclassical synthesis. Next, we examine the anomalies which are currently vexing orthodox opinion and their power to provoke a period of crisis and extraordinary science. In the final section, we diagnose the source of the anomalies of the neoclassical synthesis.