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The Demise of Radical Political Economics? An Essay on the Evolution of a Theory of Capitalist Production

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  • Spencer, David A
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    Abstract

    The paper traces the historical development of American radical economics. The focus is on the work of Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis. The central aim is to examine the implications of their recent move towards neoclassical economics for the study of capitalist production in particular, and the future of American radical economics more generally. By embracing neoclassical concepts and methodology, radical economists have denied themselves the opportunity to elucidate both the bases of capitalist class conflict, and the nature of more complex social interactions at the point of production. American radical economics once provided a powerful critique of capitalism and its system of production, but it now struggles to provide more than a policy prescription for reduced levels of opportunism among individual workers. American radical economics cannot remain a distinctive voice in economics while it retains such close associations with neoclassicism. Copyright 2000 by Oxford University Press.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Cambridge Journal of Economics.

    Volume (Year): 24 (2000)
    Issue (Month): 5 (September)
    Pages: 543-64

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    Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:24:y:2000:i:5:p:543-64

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    1. Costabile, Lilia, 1995. "Institutions, Social Custom and Efficiency Wage Models: Alternative Approaches," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(5), pages 605-23, October.
    2. Samuel Bowles, 1998. "Endogenous Preferences: The Cultural Consequences of Markets and Other Economic Institutions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 75-111, March.
    3. Rebitzer, James B, 1993. "Radical Political Economy and the Economics of Labor Markets," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(3), pages 1394-434, September.
    4. Hodgson, Geoffrey M., 1998. "Competence and contract in the theory of the firm," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 179-201, April.
    5. Edwards, P. K., 1990. "The politics of conflict and consent : How the labor contract really works," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 41-61, January.
    6. John E. Roemer, 1979. "Divide and Conquer: Microfoundations of a Marxian Theory of Wage Discrimination," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(2), pages 695-705, Autumn.
    7. Terence Hutchison, 1998. "Ultra-deductivism from Nassau Senior to Lionel Robbins and Daniel Hausman," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(1), pages 43-91.
    8. Gintis, Herbert, 1972. "A Radical Analysis of Welfare Economics and Individual Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 86(4), pages 572-99, November.
    9. Nicolaides, Phedon, 1988. "Limits to the Expansion of Neoclassical Economics," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(3), pages 313-28, September.
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    Cited by:
    1. David Spencer, 2003. "Love's labor's lost? the disutility of work and work avoidance in the economic analysis of labor supply," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 61(2), pages 235-250.

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