Professor Wolff and Economic Schools

I was wondering if professor Wolff would consider his interpretation of Marxian economics as a new school, or how he would delineate it from earlier writers. Also, what his views are on Post-Keynesian economics. Particularly that of Hyman Minsky.

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This important topic may not interest larger audiences, so let me say a few words here. Hyman Minsky is a special case in large part because he took Marxian economics quite seriously and made a variety of efforts to link, integrate Keynsian and Marxian theories and arguments (something parallel to what Marxist economists like Paul M. Sweezy and Paul Baran also did from their side). Post-Keynesian economics (a range of perspectives with a corresponding range of attitudes toward Marxian economics) has been mostly exclusively concerned with how capitalist economies work often with how to make them work better in some ways. Marxian economists have been more concerned, from Marx himself, with moving on to a different system organized in basically different ways from the micro-level (as in the internal organization of enterprises) on up through the macro-level (as in non-market distribution systems and non-private ownership of means of production). The kind of Marxian economics that makes most sense to me is one that focuses on the micro-transformation chiefly because of its relative neglect within the Marxian tradition but does also take into account the macro-changes that Marxist' critiques of capitalism focused on in its first 150 years.

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  • Devon Brockhaus
    commented 2017-08-31 14:44:25 -0400
    This is great. Hopefully the economists Sweezy or Baran (I have yet to read up on them) speak to the micro-level transformation of capitalist economies, as I believe your work on economic enfranchisement is best when it comes to working on the individual level. Around the sociological Dunbar number. What I fear might require a Minskian ideology is the micro-macro-level junction. As Mancur Olson spoke to in The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups, as group size goes up, so too does the cost of organizing. That overhead cost could reduce how effectual even the most tightly knit worker cooperative is in being its own special interest. (I could draw allusions to the unions of the past) Without the Minskian awareness of the fragility of seemingly stable systems and the risk of bad-faith between representatives and the represented, I fear a “Divide and conquer” sentiment inevitably cropping up among the power hungry.
  • Devon Brockhaus
    tagged this with good 2017-08-31 14:44:23 -0400
  • Richard Wolff
    responded with submitted 2017-08-28 15:29:12 -0400
  • Devon Brockhaus
    published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2017-08-28 00:06:50 -0400