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).
Purpose – This chapter engages critically with the ideas of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and irresponsibility (CSI) in order to examine their utility for the…
Purpose – This chapter engages critically with the ideas of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and irresponsibility (CSI) in order to examine their utility for the purposes of realizing more socially just and environmentally sustainable social and economic practices.
Methodology/approach – The chapter develops Marx's understanding of the twin pressures of class struggle and inter-capitalist competition in setting the limits of agency for corporate actors. It is thus theoretical and discursive in nature.
Findings – The findings of the chapter suggest that the scope for corporate agency in relation to responsibility/irresponsibility is severely limited by inter-capitalist competition and capitalist social relations. It therefore argues that those interested in social justice and environmental sustainability should focus on these structural pressures rather than theorizing corporate agency.
Social implications – The research suggests that the focus of academic and government attention should be on resolving the contradictions and exploitative social relations inherent in capitalism. Without this emphasis activism, corporate agency and government action will not eradicate the types of problem that advocates of CSR/CSI are concerned about.
Originality/value of paper – The value of the paper is that it contests and engages critically with the utility of the notion of CSR and the emergent concept of CSI. It asks proponents of these concepts to think seriously about the structural pressures and constraints within which business and policy makers act.
This paper follows previous economic studies on bodyweight by looking at bodyweight as individuals’ choices in response to changes in income and food prices. However, it goes one step further to add another relevant choice under individual control: food quality. It shows that the upward trend of bodyweight caused by economic growth and technological innovations may well be self-limiting in the sense that the bodyweight growth in the future is likely to be slower or reversed. In particular, it finds that much of further income growth will be used for improving food quality rather than increasing caloric intake. Moreover, further technological innovations that focus on lowering the price of high-quality (healthy) food relative to that of low-quality food would encourage substituting food quality for food quantity (calories).
The corporate food regime is presented here as a vector of the project of global development. As such, it expresses not only the social and ecological contradictions of capitalism, but also the world-historical conjuncture in which the deployment of price and credit relations are key mechanisms of ‘accumulation through dispossession.’ The global displacement of peasant cultures of provision by dumping, the supermarket revolution, and conversion of land for agro-exports, incubate ‘food sovereignty’ movements expressing alternative relationships to the land, farming and food.
: Immigration in the colonial period was almost exclusively English plus geographically scattered others. Little immigration until after the War of 1812, still mainly English speaking. After 1840, a heavy influx of German (1850–1880), Irish, later Scandinavian immigrants in large numbers, especially after, but also during, the Civil War, 1860–1865. The heaviest immigration was from 1890 through 1910 up to World War I: Polish, Italian, Slavic, Russian and Romanian Jews, generally East European. Most immigrants were young people. Since World War I immigration has been light, due in part to restrictive policies after 1920, especially after 1927. Only slight immigration during the 1930s but more emigration, resulting in net emigration. Since World War II, considerable immigration but nothing like the period prior to World War I; relatively geographical distributed: refugees, nationals, displaced persons, etc., including the families of servicemen who married abroad.
Numerous commentators have suggested that Barack Obama represents a new “post-racial” politics in the United States, distinct from a pre-existing contentious form that…
Numerous commentators have suggested that Barack Obama represents a new “post-racial” politics in the United States, distinct from a pre-existing contentious form that originated with the civil rights era. Drawing on secondary historical data, Mr. Obama's presidential campaign speeches, and county-level electoral returns from Indiana and North Carolina, I argue in contrast to such claims that post-racial politics comprise the latest in a line of successive attempts by the Democratic Party to articulate the New Deal voting bloc, in which the white suburban middle class is the primary constituency while African Americans are of secondary importance. By addressing the question of “Obama and the Politics of Race” in this way, this chapter seeks to integrate political parties into the study of racial ideologies. Specifically, it suggests that the latter may originate and subsequently develop in the context of partisan struggle.
Business cycle theory is normally described as having evolved out of a previous tradition of writers focusing exclusively on crises. In this account, the turning point is…
Business cycle theory is normally described as having evolved out of a previous tradition of writers focusing exclusively on crises. In this account, the turning point is seen as residing in Clément Juglar's contribution on commercial crises and their periodicity. It is well known that the champion of this view is Schumpeter, who propagated it on several occasions. The same author, however, pointed to a number of other writers who, before and at the same time as Juglar, stressed one or another of the aspects for which Juglar is credited primacy, including the recognition of periodicity and the identification of endogenous elements enabling the recognition of crises as a self-generating phenomenon. There is indeed a vast literature, both primary and secondary, relating to the debates on crises and fluctuations around the middle of the nineteenth century, from which it is apparent that Juglar's book Des Crises Commerciales et de leur Retour Périodique en France, en Angleterre et aux États-Unis (originally published in 1862 and very much revised and enlarged in 1889) did not come out of the blue but was one of the products of an intellectual climate inducing the thinking of crises not as unrelated events but as part of a more complex phenomenon consisting of recurring crises related to the development of the commercial world – an interpretation corroborated by the almost regular occurrence of crises at about 10-year intervals.
Many traditional economists view trade unions as monopolies; unions challenge capital by having control over labor as a production input and threatening to withhold it to…
Many traditional economists view trade unions as monopolies; unions challenge capital by having control over labor as a production input and threatening to withhold it to achieve union goals. Yet, unions also strategize around citizenship and consumer roles with political action and consumer boycotts. Little researched is how unions challenge corporate authority by encouraging workers to defer consumption and become owners of capital through pension funds. This new role as capital owners is leveraged through pension fund activism, which challenges corporate decisions that are not much affected by political action, organizing, or collective bargaining. This chapter puts these developments in the context of familiar theories of the economic effect of trade unions and the history of union pension activism.