RETHINK
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266 results

2019
Level: expert
This paper attempts to clarify how the European economic crisis from 2007 onwards can be understood from the perspective of a Marxian monetary theory of value that emphasizes intrinsic, structural flaws regarding capitalist reproduction. Chapter two provides an empirical description of the European economic crisis, which to some extent already reflects the structural theoretical framework presented in chapter three. Regarding the theoretical framework Michael Heinrich's interpretation of 'the' Marxian monetary theory of value will be presented. Heinrich identifies connections between production and realization, between profit and interest rate as well as between industrial and fictitious capital, which represent contradictory tendencies for which capitalism does not have simple balancing processes. In the context of a discussion of 'structural logical aspects' of Marx's Critique of the Political Economy, explanatory deficits of Heinrich's approach are analyzed. In the following, it is argued that Fred Moseley's view of these 'structural logical aspects' allows empirical 'applications' of Marxian monetary theories of value. It is concluded that a Marxian monetary theory of value, with the characteristics of expansive capital accumulation and its limitations, facilitates a structural analysis of the European economic crisis from 2007 onwards. In this line of argument, expansive production patterns are expressed, among other things, in global restructuring processes, while consumption limitations are mitigated by expansive financial markets and shifts in ex-port destinations.
2016
Level: beginner
This multimedia dossier explores the production chain of smartphones. In particular due to the violation of workers' rights and low payments, the author Benjamin Selwyn calls those production structures global poverty chains. In this context, he points to the importance of workers' struggles.
2015
Level: beginner
What does political economy say about the global sugar production? Take a look at global trade regulations, intercountry inequalities, and the role of marketing.
1985
Level: advanced
Sabel and Zeitlin present the persistence of small firms in Europe against the rise of mass production and modern enterprises Their article starts by analysing how mass production can be considered a historical necessity for the classical view as it is a highly specialized structure where man and machine can …
2019
Level: advanced
Approaching the law of nature that determines all forms of economy. The bulk of economic theory addresses the economic process by setting out on a catalogue of aspects, seeking the laws in the aspects and hoping to get together a reliable view of the whole.
2014
Level: beginner
In this lecture Ben Fine aims at stimulating interest for and explaining the relevance of Marxist Political Economy. Ben Fine dedicates the first half of his comprehensible lecture to the question on how mainstream economics became the way it is by explaining its key concepts and how those evolved during the past 150 years. While critically reflecting those concept he also emphasizes that mainstream economics does not consider historical processes. This is the point of departure on his presentation of the core terms and crucial categories of Marxist Political Economy: e.g. the production process and class relations (Part 1). Part 2 examines the consequences of the capitalist mode of production and its propensity to crises. Ben Fine illustrates this Marxist analysis with the example of the current crisis and explains current conditions for the accumulation of capital.
2014
Level: beginner
In this lecture Ben Fine aims at stimulating interest for and explaining the relevance of Marxist Political Economy. Ben Fine dedicates the first half of his comprehensible lecture to the question on how mainstream economics became the way it is by explaining its key concepts and how those evolved during the past 150 years. While critically reflecting those concept he also emphasizes that mainstream economics does not consider historical processes. This is the point of departure on his presentation of the core terms and crucial categories of Marxist Political Economy: e.g. the production process and class relations (Part 1). Part 2 examines the consequences of the capitalist mode of production and its propensity to crises. Ben Fine illustrates this Marxist analysis with the example of the current crisis and explains current conditions for the accumulation of capital.
 
Austrian economics focuses on the economic coordination of individuals in a market economy. Austrian economics emphasises individualism, subjectivism, laissez-faire politics, uncertainty and the role of the entrepreneur, amongst others.
 
Marxian Political Economy focuses on the exploitation of labour by capital. The economy is not conceived as consisting of neutral transactions for exchange and cooperation, but instead as having developed historically out of asymmetric distributions of power, ideology and social conflicts.
2015
Level: advanced
The principle of effective demand, and the claim of its validity for a monetary production economy in the short and in the long run, is the core of heterodox macroeconomics, as currently found in all the different strands of post-Keynesian economics (Fundamentalists, Kaleckians, Sraffians, Kaldorians, Institutionalists) and also in some strands of neo-Marxian economics, particularly in the monopoly capitalism and underconsumptionist school In this contribution, we will therefore outline the foundations of the principle of effective demand and its relationship with the respective notion of a capitalist or a monetary production economy in the works of Marx, Kalecki and Keynes. Then we will deal with heterodox short-run macroeconomics and it will provide a simple short-run model which is built on the principle of effective demand, as well as on distribution conflict between different social groups (or classes): rentiers, managers and workers. Finally, we will move to the long run and we will review the integration of the principle of effective demand into heterodox/post-Keynesian approaches towards distribution and growth.
2017
Level: beginner
This paper surveys the development of the concept of socialism from the French Revolution to the socialist calculation debate. Karl Marx’s politics of revolutionary socialism led by an empowered proletariat nurtured by capital accumulation envisions socialism as a “top-down” system resting on political institutions, despite Marx’s keen appreciation of the long-period analysis of the organization of social production in the classical political economists. Collectivist thinking in the work of Enrico Barone and Wilfredo Pareto paved the way for the discussion of socialism purely in terms of the allocation of resources. The Soviet experiment abandoned the mixed economy model of the New Economic Policy for a political-bureaucratic administration of production only loosely connected to theoretical concepts of socialism. The socialist calculation debate reductively recast the problem of socialism as a problem of allocation of resources, leading to general equilibrium theory. Friedrich Hayek responded to the socialist calculation debate by shifting the ground of discussion from class relations to information revelation
2019
Level: advanced
By conducting a discourse analysis (SKAD) in the field of academic economics textbooks, this paper aims at reconstructing frames and identity options offered to undergraduate students relating to the questions ‘Why study economics?’ and ‘Who do I become by studying economics?’. The analysis showed three major frames and respective identity offerings, all of which are contextualized theoretically, with prominent reference to the Foucauldian reflection of the science of Political Economy. Surprisingly, none of them encourages the student to think critically, as could have been expected in a pedagogical context. Taken together, economics textbooks appear as a “total structure of actions brought to bear upon possible action” (Foucault), therefore, as a genuine example of Foucauldian power structures.
2019
Level: beginner
By conducting a discourse analysis (SKAD) in the field of academic economics textbooks, this paper aims at reconstructing frames and identity options offered to undergraduate students relating to the questions ‘Why study economics?’ and ‘Who do I become by studying economics?’. The analysis showed three major frames and respective identity offerings, all of which are contextualized theoretically, with prominent reference to the Foucauldian reflection of the science of Political Economy. Surprisingly, none of them encourages the student to think critically, as could have been expected in a pedagogical context. Taken together, economics textbooks appear as a “total structure of actions brought to bear upon possible action” (Foucault), therefore, as a genuine example of Foucauldian power structures.
2019
Level: beginner
The concept "imperial mode of living" questions the persistence of the capitalist mode of production and why this dominant mode of production has become so deeply ingrained in Western societies' everyday practices, consumption and lifestyle choices and institutional settings.
2020
Level: beginner
The most successful multialternative theories of decision making assume that people consider individual aspects of a choice and proceed via a process of elimination. Amos Tversky was one of the pioneers of this field, but modern decision theorists – most notably Neil Stewart – have moved things forward. At the current stage the theories are able to explain a number of strictly ‘irrational’ but reasonable quirks of human decision making, including various heuristics and biases. Not only this, but eye movements of participants strongly imply that the decision-making process depicted in the theories is an accurate one.
2013
Level: beginner
Silvia Federici outlines the content of her book „Caliban and the Witch - Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation“. Departing from a critique of the Marxist blindspot on reproductive labour, Federici aims at researching the historical process by which the exploitation of women and the construction of the unproductive housewife has been established. Federici points to the transition from the feudal to the capitalist mode of production and explains how the gender specific prosecution (witch hunt) was linked to necessity of control over bodies and the sexuality in the great transformation. Federici also presents arguments why this research is highly relevant for the analysis of women's situation in current capitalism.
2019
Level: beginner
The article pursues the two related questions of how economists pretend to know and why they want to know at all. It is argued that both the economic form of knowledge and the motivation of knowing have undergone a fundamental change during the course of the 20th century. The knowledge of important contemporary economic textbooks has little in common with an objective, decidedly scientifically motivated knowledge. Rather, their contents and forms follow a productive end, aiming at the subjectivity of their readers.
2019
Level: beginner
In this post, Rethinking Economics sets out what it means to decolonise economics education and how we can do that. The article first breaks decolonising down into a "mind-set" and a "process", then applies this process to economics education. It finishes with a reading list and some suggested actions to get you started decolonising economics today.
2009
Level: advanced
Is or has economics ever been the imperial social science? Could or should it ever be so? These are the central concerns of this book. It involves a critical reflection on the process of how economics became the way it is, in terms of a narrow and intolerant orthodoxy, that has, nonetheless, increasingly directed its attention to appropriating the subject matter of other social sciences through the process termed "economics imperialism".
 
Institutional economics focuses on the role of social institutions in terms of laws or contracts, but also those of social norms and patterns of human behaviour that are connected to the social organisation of production, distribution and consumption in the economy.
2020
Level: beginner
Steve Keen analyses how mainstream economics fails when confronted with the covid-19-pandemic. Mainstream economics has propagated the dismantling of the state and the globalization of production - both of which make the crisis now so devastating. More fundamentally, mainstream economics deals with market systems, when what is needed to limit the virus’s spread is a command system.
2017
Level: advanced
From the two premises that (1) economies are complex systems and (2) the accumulation of knowledge about reality is desirable, I derive the conclusion that pluralism with regard to economic research programs is a more viable position to hold than monism. To substantiate this claim an epistemological framework of how scholars study their objects of inquiry and relate their models to reality is discussed. Furthermore, it is argued that given the current institutions of our scientific system, economics self-organizes towards a state of scientific unity. Since such a state is epistemologically inferior to a state of plurality, critical intervention is desirable.
2020
Level: beginner
Firms are the primary places where economic activity takes place in modern capitalist economies: they are where most stuff is produced; where many of us spend 40 hours a week; and where big decisions are made about how to allocate resources. Establishing how they work is hugely important because it helps us to understand patterns of production and consumption, including how firms will react to changes in economic conditions and policy. And a well-established literature – led by post-Keynesians and institutionalists – holds that the best way to determine how firms work is to…wait for it...ask firms how they work. This a clearly sensible proposition that is contested in economics for some reason, but we’ll ignore the controversy here and just explore the theory that springs from this approach.
2019
Level: beginner
Adam Smith and Karl Marx recognized that the best way to understand the economy is to study the most advanced practice of production. Today that practice is no longer conventional manufacturing: it is the radically innovative vanguard known as the knowledge economy.
2020
Level: advanced
This book analyzes the transition of chocolate from an exotic curiosity to an Atlantic commodity. It shows how local, inter-regional, and Atlantic markets interacted with one another and with imperial political economies. It explains how these interactions, intertwined with the resilience of local artisanal production, promoted the partial democratization of chocolate consumption as well as economic growth.
2018
Level: beginner
The global financial crisis (GFC) led to increasing distrust in economic research and the economics profession, in the process of which the current state of economics and economic education in particular were heavily criticized. Against this background we conducted a study with undergraduate students of economics in order to capture their view of economic education.
2017
Level: advanced
Steven G. Medema is a Research Professor at Duke University. His research focuses on the History of Economic Thought, having published extensively on the issue of social costs of production (conceptualized as externalities in neoclassical economics). In this recorded seminar, he exposes his working paper on the history of the concept of externalities in economic literature, starting from Pigou’s “The Economics of Welfare” (1920), where Pigou makes the case for governmental intervention in the market where there is a divergence between private and social costs or benefits of a productive activity. T
2012
Level: advanced
This book challenges the mainstream paradigm, based on the inter-temporal optimisation of welfare by individual agents. It introduces a methodology for studying how institutions create flows of income, expenditure and production together with stocks of assets and liabilities, thereby determining how whole economies evolve through time.
2000
Level: advanced
Karl William Kapp (1910-1976) was one of the forefathers of Ecological Economics. Influenced namely by the Frankfurt School, Institutionalist Economics and Pragmatist Philosophy, he contributed to debates on the social costs of production, economic planning, sustainable development and epistemology. I
2015
Level: beginner
According to Karl Marx, work should satisfy people and encourage creativity. But the capitalist production, the separation of labour and the exploitation of workers alienates them from their products.
2011
Level: beginner
Capitalism cannot fulfil the promises of the French revolution: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. Why? Richard Wollf elaborates on Marx's analysis of the distribution and organisation of surplus in society and his conclusion that there is something inherently wrong in capitalist class structure that still causes economic crisis in our modern times. Change requires changing the organisation of the production. This goes far beyond a discussion of 'more-state' vs. 'less-state'.
Level: beginner
With this calculator you can assess the ecological backpack of your lifestyle. The ecological backpack visualizes the weight of all natural raw materials that are needed for our private consumption behavior. This includes all products and their production, use, and disposal.

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