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On the Cambridge, England, Critique of the Marginal Productivity Theory of Distribution

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  • G. C. Harcourt

    (School of Economics, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia)

Abstract

The Cambridge critique of the marginal productivity theory of distribution is entwined with the critics’ theories of value, price, distribution, capital, growth, and methodology that occurred alongside it. The article first discusses these dimensions, then the inescapable need to explain the origin and size and rate of profits in any approach to the theory of distribution. The need in the neoclassical approach to have a unit in which to measure capital that is independent of distribution and prices is examined. The alternative classical/Marxian alternative and the relationship of pricing and market structures to systemic relationships in Post-Keynesian theory are analysed. Unresolved debates among the critics of the mainstream are outlined including those between Garegnani and Hahn. Ways forward are suggested in the concluding section.

Suggested Citation

  • G. C. Harcourt, 2015. "On the Cambridge, England, Critique of the Marginal Productivity Theory of Distribution," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 47(2), pages 243-255, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:reorpe:v:47:y:2015:i:2:p:243-255
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    Cited by:

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    3. Fix, Blair, 2018. "Capitalist income and hierarchical power: A gradient hypothesis," Working Papers on Capital as Power 2018/06, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism.
    4. Up Sira Nukulkit, 2018. "Neutral Technical Progress and the Measure of Value: along the Kaldor-Kennedy line," Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, University of Utah 2018_05, University of Utah, Department of Economics.
    5. Harvey Gram & Geoffrey Harcourt, 2015. "Joan Robinson and MIT," Working Papers 9, City University of New York Graduate Center, Ph.D. Program in Economics.
    6. Blair Fix, 2021. "How the rich are different: hierarchical power as the basis of income size and class," Journal of Computational Social Science, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 403-454, November.
    7. Fix, Blair, 2019. "How the rich are different: Hierarchical power as the basis of income size and class," Working Papers on Capital as Power 2019/02 (v.2), Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism.
    8. Fix, Blair, 2018. "Capitalist Income and Hierarchical Power," SocArXiv u8epv, Center for Open Science.
    9. Fix, Blair, 2019. "How the rich are different: Hierarchical power as the basis of income and class," Working Papers on Capital as Power 2019/02, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cambridge critique; marginal productivity theory of distribution;

    JEL classification:

    • B1 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925
    • B10 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - General
    • B2 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925
    • B20 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - General
    • B40 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - General
    • B5 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches
    • B51 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Socialist; Marxian; Sraffian
    • E1 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models
    • E10 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - General
    • E11 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Marxian; Sraffian; Kaleckian
    • E12 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian; Modern Monetary Theory
    • E13 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Neoclassical

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