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Technical Change, Effective Demand and Employment

  • Sergio Cesaratto
  • Franklin Serrano
  • Antonella Stirati

Ricardo and Marx saw technological change as a possible cause of long-period unemployment. Neoclassical and Schumpeterian economists regard technological unem ployment as a transitory phenomenon. This paper argues that the capital critique (i) demolishes the neoclassical claim that market mechanisms will restore full employment whenever workers are displaced by technical change, and (ii) rehabilitates the old Ricardian argument that automatic compensation factors are generally absent. The neo-Schumpeterian notion of autonomous investment is also rejected, in favour of the view that, in the long period, all investment is induced. By extending Keynes's theory of effective demand to the long period through a model based on the supermultiplier, this paper suggests that the ultimate engines of growth are located in the autonomous components of effective demand--exports, government spending and autonomous con sumption. Technical change plays a role in the accumulation process through its effects on consumption patterns and the material input requirements. However, the impact of technical change is now seen to depend upon circumstances such as income distribution, the availability of bank liquidity and exchange rate policy.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Review of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 15 (2003)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 33-52

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Handle: RePEc:taf:revpoe:v:15:y:2003:i:1:p:33-52
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  1. Cesaratto, Sergio, 1999. "Savings and Economic Growth in Neoclassical Theory," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(6), pages 771-93, November.
  2. Kaldor, Nicholas, 1971. "Conflicts in National Economic Objectives," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 81(321), pages 1-16, March.
  3. Lindbeck, Assar & Snower, Dennis J, 1986. "Wage Setting, Unemployment, and Insider-Outsider Relations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 235-39, May.
  4. Anyadike-Danes, Michael & Godley, Wynne, 1989. "Real Wages and Employment: A Sceptical View of Some Recent Empirical Work," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 57(2), pages 172-87, June.
  5. Garegnani, P, 1970. "Heterogeneous Capital, the Production Function and the Theory of Distribution," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(3), pages 407-36, July.
  6. Pierangelo Garegnani & Antonella Palumbo, 1997. "Accomulation of capital," Departmental Working Papers of Economics - University 'Roma Tre' 0002, Department of Economics - University Roma Tre.
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