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The Limits of Radical Institutionalism: A Marxian Critique of Thorstein Veblen’s Political Economy

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  • Devin Penner

    (York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, dpenner@yorku.ca)

Abstract

Some commentators pose Veblen’s political economy as a corrective to the “reductionist†character of Marxism. This article counters by highlighting the primary source of differences between Veblen and Marx: their methods. Veblen’s generalized conceptions of monopoly and technology, for example, misread the specificity of the systemic logic of capitalism. These dynamics are fully captured only in Marx’s movement from simple, abstract laws to complex, concrete reality, where “non-economic†factors are not reduced to the economic, but rather intervene at a later moment of the concretization process. JEL classification: B14, B15, P16

Suggested Citation

  • Devin Penner, 2011. "The Limits of Radical Institutionalism: A Marxian Critique of Thorstein Veblen’s Political Economy," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 43(2), pages 154-171, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:reorpe:v:43:y:2011:i:2:p:154-171
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    Keywords

    Thorstein Veblen; Karl Marx; methodology; monopoly; technology;

    JEL classification:

    • B14 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Socialist; Marxist
    • B15 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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