This chapter is a contribution to the intellectual history of the anxiety that full employment in the modern United States depended somehow on military spending. This…
This chapter is a contribution to the intellectual history of the anxiety that full employment in the modern United States depended somehow on military spending. This discourse (conveniently abbreviated as “military Keynesianism”) is vaguely familiar, but its contours and transit still await a full study. The chapter shows the origins of the idea in the left-Keynesian milieu centered around Harvard’s Alvin Hansen in the late 1930s, with a particular focus on the diverse group that cowrote the 1938 stagnationist manifesto An Economic Program for American Democracy. After a discussion of how these young economists participated in the World War II mobilization, the chapter considers how questions of stagnation and military stimulus were marginalized during the years of the high Cold War, only to be revived by younger radicals. At the same time, it demonstrates the existence of a community of discourse that directly links the Old Left of the 1930s and 1940s with the New Left of the 1960s and 1970s, and cuts across the division between left-wing social critique and liberal statecraft.
For Leftists engaged in the study of political economy during the 1960s and 1970s, Cuba and China held particular promise as postrevolutionary states working to construct…
For Leftists engaged in the study of political economy during the 1960s and 1970s, Cuba and China held particular promise as postrevolutionary states working to construct systems of production and distribution which were predicated on solidarity and mutuality, rather than on the exploited and alienated labor upon which capitalism depended. Against the claim that the desire for individual material gain was irreducibly a part of the human experience, China and Cuba offered the possibility of – in the parlance of the time – a “new man”: a political subject whose motivations were in alignment with a socialist economy rather than a capitalist one.
Based on research in multiple archives, this paper explores efforts on the part of radical economists in the United States – including the Marxists at Monthly Review, the young academics who founded the Union for Radical Political Economics (URPE), and a handful of older Left-Keynesians – to witness Third World experiments in nonmaterial incentives firsthand. What have often been dismissed as pseudo-religious “pilgrimages” were, in reality, voyages of discovery, where radicals searched for the keys to develop a sustainable, rational, and moral political economy.
While many of the answers that radicals found in Cuba and China were ultimately unsatisfying, Third-World experiments in moral incentives serve as a powerful example of “solidarity in circulation” during the “long 1960s,” and as an important reminder that attempts to keep social science research free of political contamination serve to reify disciplinary norms which are themselves the product of the political culture in which they were formed.
This paper discusses the American debate over price controls and economic stabilization after World War II, when the transition from a war economy to a peace economy was…
This paper discusses the American debate over price controls and economic stabilization after World War II, when the transition from a war economy to a peace economy was characterized by bottlenecks in the productive system and shortages of food and other basic consumer goods, directly affecting the living standard of the population, the public opinion, and political discourse. Specifically, we will focus on the economist Franco Modigliani and his proposal for a “Plan to meet the problem of rising meat and other food prices without bureaucratic controls.” The plan prepared by Modigliani in October 1947 was based on a system of taxes and subsidies to foster a proper distribution of disposable income and warrant a minimum meat consumption for each individual without encroaching market mechanisms and consumers’ freedom. We will discuss the contents of the plan and its further refinements, and the reactions it prompted from fellow economists, the public opinion, and the political world. Although the Plan was not eventually implemented, it was an important initiative for several reasons: first, it showed the increasing importance of fiscal policy among postwar government tools of intervention in the economic sphere; second, it showed a third way between direct government intervention and full-fledged laissez faire, in tune with the postwar political climate; third, it proposed a Keynesian macroeconomic approach to price and income stabilization, strongly based on econometric and microeconomic foundations. The Meat Plan was thus a fundamental step in Modigliani’s effort to build the “neoclassical synthesis” between Keynesian and Neoclassical economics, which would deeply influence his own career and the evolution of academic studies and government practices in the United States.
Extensions/applications/revisions of the Marxian vision ofsocialism can broadly be categorized into two polar strands: thecentralized and the decentralized strands of…
Extensions/applications/revisions of the Marxian vision of socialism can broadly be categorized into two polar strands: the centralized and the decentralized strands of socialist economic systems. Explores the main postulates of a decentralized version of a socialist economic system as provided by Kautsky, Luxembourg, Bernstein, Bukharin and Lange. The centralized strand of socialist economic systems has been elaborated drawing mainly from the writings of Lenin, Trotsky, Dobb, Sweezy and Baran.
According to the traditional Soviet view, the Soviet economic society, based essentially on governmental and collective farm property and overall national planning, is…
According to the traditional Soviet view, the Soviet economic society, based essentially on governmental and collective farm property and overall national planning, is “socialist”, and has been so since Stalin's proclamation to that effect in the 1930s. Most Western observers, Marxist and non‐Marxist, recognise these two socio‐institutional features of the Soviet politico‐economic system and ascribe substantial importance to them. Beyond this point, interpretations differ considerably. Five alternative views may be distinguished. These contending perspectives argue that Soviet economic society is:
This article traces the history of a continuous tradition of Marxian stage theory from the beginning of the twentieth century until the present day. The resolution of the first crisis of Marxism was found in the work of Hilferding on finance capital, Bukharin on the world economy and Lenin on imperialism as a new stage of capitalism. Hilferding's, Bukarin's and Lenin's analysis was carried into the post–World War II era through the work of Sweezy and Mandel. A second wave of Marxian stage theorizing emerged with the end of the post–World War II expansion. Mandel's long wave theory (LWT), the Social Structure of Accumulation Framework (SSAF), and the Regulation Approach (RA) analyzed the stagflationary crises as the end of a long wave of growth. This long wave was underpinned by the emergence of a postwar stage of capitalism, which was analogous to the reorganization brought about by monopoly capital at the turn of the century. These new schools were reluctant to predict the non-resolution of the current crisis, thus opening up the possibility of further stages of capitalism in the future. This elevated Lenin's theory of the highest stage to a general theory of capitalist stages. The last decade has seen a substantial convergence in the three perspectives. In general, this convergence has reaffirmed the importance of Hilferding's, Bukarin's and Lenin's (HBL's) initial contributions to the stage theoretic tradition. The article concludes with some thoughts on the necessity of stage theory for understanding of the current period of globalization.
American radical economists in the 1960s perceived China under Maoism as an important experiment in creating a new society, aspects of which they hoped could serve as a…
American radical economists in the 1960s perceived China under Maoism as an important experiment in creating a new society, aspects of which they hoped could serve as a model for the developing world. But the knowledge of “actually existing Maoism” was very limited due to the mutual isolation between China and the US. This chapter analyses the First Friendship Delegation of American Radical Political Economists (FFDARPE) to the People’s Republic of China in 1972, consisting mainly of Union for Radical Political Economics (URPE) members, which was the first visit of a group of American economists to China since 1949. Based on interviews with trip participants as well as archival and published material, this chapter studies what we can learn about the engagement with Maoism by American radical economists from their dialogues with Chinese hosts, from their on-the-ground observations, and their reflection upon return. We show how the visitors’ own ideas conflicted and intersected with their perception of the Maoist practice on gender relations, workers’ management, and life in the communes. We also shed light on the diverging conceptions of the role for economic expertise between URPE and late Maoism. As the first in-depth study on the FFDARPE, we provide rich empirical insights into an ice-breaking event in the larger process of normalization in the Sino-US relations, which ultimately led to the disillusionment of the Left with China.
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.
The purpose of this second part of this special issue is to contribute to a better understanding of the nature of Soviet society. It is not possible to analyse such a…
The purpose of this second part of this special issue is to contribute to a better understanding of the nature of Soviet society. It is not possible to analyse such a society in all its complexities within the space of one study. There are, however, some economic relations which determine society's major features. We believe that commodity‐production relations in the Soviet Union are of this type.