The Routledge Handbook of Heterodox Economics

(click to enlarge) The Routledge Handbook of Heterodox Economics presents a comprehensive overview of the latest work on economic theory and policy from a ‘pluralistic’ heterodox perspective. Contributions
throughout the Handbook explore different theoretical perspectives including: Marxian-radical political economics; Post Keynesian-Sraffian economics; institutionalist-evolutionary economics; feminist economics; social economics; Régulation theory; the Social Structure of Accumulation approach; and ecological economics. They explain the structural properties and dynamics of  capitalism, as well as propose economic and social policies for the benefit of the majority of the population. You can buy it here.

A theory of economic policy and the role of institutions

Nicola Acocella published a paper in the Journal of Economic Surveys (a free, preliminary version is available here) on the development of the theory of economic policy. Acocella is clearly fully aware of the differences between classical political economics and marginalism (neoclassical economics).* And he dismisses the pre-margnialist views on economic policy as being unsystematic and devoid of general principles.
In his words:
Most classical writers and the marginalists had suggested cases where public intervention was in order. This had been so for Smith (1776), Ricardo (1817), Mill (1848), Marshall (1890), Walras (1874-1877, 1898). But these cases were mainly what Walras called ‘examples of empirical policy’ rather than consistent policy. They were certainly dictated on the basis of an analytical evaluation of the circumstances suggesting them, but were not part of a systematic and consistent assessment of the foundations and the articulation of public policy. In his view, econo…

Racism, the election and more

After writing on Venezuela last week, Trump suggested that the US might intervene there. And then the predictable happened, violence and death ensued... in the US. I don't have much to say about what happened in Charlottesville. It is worth noting that even though the city and the University of Virginia are relatively progressive places these days, they do have a long history that ties them to slavery and white supremacy (see this on NPR; h/t URPE blog).*

At any rate, it's not surprise that Trump didn't condemn his base (and yes the racist voted for him; but as I noticed before 1964 those votes went mostly to Democrats). He certainly is more explicit than previous Republicans going beyond racist dog whistle  politics. I would insist that racism is not the main reason why he won the election, and that a left wing populist right have won.

The topic is still relevant (even in the middle of the violence and crazy confrontation with North Korea; btw, this is a must read for th…

On Venezuela, Democracy, Violence and Neoliberalism

Many pieces have been written recently on the situation in Venezuela, including some on the left, that are very critical of the Maduro government (see for example this Jacobin piece that has been widely cited). Interestingly, during the sleepy months of the summer in which I almost didn’t write anything here, this old post on Venezuela has become the most read on the blog (as we approach almost 3 million hits).

Let me first say that I am for democracy and against violence, irrespective of who is behind it. Calls to reduce violence on both sides should be at the top of the international agenda. So, any government constraints on the ability of the people to participate in its own government (some form of democracy) and government repression of manifestations (violence) is wrong. As far as I can tell, the current claims about the lack of democracy in Venezuela are not associated, for the most part, to the election of the president (even though right-wing activists insist, without proof, …

The wage share in Argentina

In his book, Estudios de Historia Económica Argentina, Eduardo Basualdo has several tables with the data for the share of wages in income. Sources seem to be different and not necessarily compatible (although I 'm not sure about that). He also published a paper in 2008 with additional data. The graph below adds the numbers shown here, which I think are also from Basualdo (the newspaper only cites CIFRA; I couldn't find another source in their website).
To the extent that one can trust numbers on functional income distribution, these numbers give a reasonable picture of what happened in Argentina since the first Peronist government back in 1946. It is clear that the military coup in 1976 was implemented to reduce the share of wages. The graph also puts in perspective the last progressive administration of the Kirchners, which brought wages up from very low levels, but not quite to the pre-1976 level. I would expect the decline with Macri, that seems to have started (as I predi…

Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean´s (ECLAC) Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean (“Dynamics of the current economic cycle and policy challenges for boosting investment and growth”) for 2016-2017 was published last Thursday (3 of August). It incorporates a number of heterodox concepts and ideas mainly in Part II. These include the notion of center and periphery (which provides the framework for Chapter III “The region’s current economic cycle and its various characteristics are partly a reflection of changes that have occurred in the international economy and in the way forces are transmitted from the more advanced to the developing economies.” p.117 ); the importance of the productive structure (Chapters III and IV) to analyze the impact of the impulses from the center to the periphery; aggregate demand as a key driver of the world slowdown in trade (pp. 123-124); the relative importance of income versus substitution effects (pp.147-149); the …

The positive profit with negative surplus-value paradox

New paper by Lucas (not that one) and Serrano. From the abstract:

This paper explains the “positive profits with negative surplus-value” example of Steedman (1975) and shows that while in joint production systems individual labour values can be negative, the claim that the total labour embodied in the surplus product of the economy (surplus-value) can also be negative is based on assumptions that have no economic meaning (such as negative activity levels). The paper also provides a way to measure the surplus-value of joint production systems which overcomes the problems of the traditional concept and restates the proposition that a positive amount of surplus labour is a necessary condition for positive profits. Read full paper here. A preliminary version was briefly noted here in 2012. Academic publications are slow indeed.