Economics and Utopia: Why the Learning Economy is Not the End of History (Economics as Social Theory)

Economics and Utopia: Why the Learning Economy is Not the End of History (Economics as Social Theory)

Language: English

Pages: 360

ISBN: 041519685X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall we have been told that no alternative to Western capitalism is possible or desirable. This book challenges this view with two arguments. First, the above premise ignores the enormous variety within capitalism itself. Second, there are enormous forces of transformation within contemporary capitalisms, associated with moves towards a more knowledge-intensive economy. These forces challenge the traditional bases of contract and employment, and could lead to a quite different socio-economic system. Without proposing a static blueprint, this book explores this possible scenario.




















further from the neoclassical mainstream. Lange and others based their arguments on the allegedly universal precepts of neoclassical economics. They were aware of this fact and even tried to turn it against their Austrian school opponents. Lange noted that ‘Mises argues that private ownership of the means of production is indispensable for rational allocation of resources’ (Lange and Taylor, 1938, p. 61). Lange also noted that von Mises and other members of the Austrian school ‘did so much to

ideas for a ‘stakeholder capitalism’ (Hutton, 1995), they involve the idea that new integrative structures and social relationships can limit the damaging effects of sectional and individual greed. Such interlocking social institutions can make both producers and consumers more aware of the interests of others, of society as a whole, and of the environment. By suggesting that such institutions could be integrated with the market, the vista is opened up of transforming the market itself. What is

learning in a non-equilibrium context enabled a more satisfactory accommodation of the real world fact of firm heterogeneity (Eliasson, 1991; Metcalfe, 1988). Veblen’s answer to the Marxian argument that for the firm only one strategic response is possible, and also his rebuff to the neoclassical concept of equilibrium, was his theory of cumulative causation. He saw both the circumstances and temperament of individuals as part of the cumulative processes of change. For Veblen – inspired by Darwin

dictates of technology with the idea of such an alternative road. She concluded that industrialisation could have taken many possible pathways and occurred in different sequences. Broadly in line with this perspective, the literature on the Emilia-Romagna ‘industrial districts’ of modern Italy has addressed an alternative and very different mode of capitalist organisation, based on a number of closely networked and highly flexible small firms. These have been a significant departure from the

Blair, 1995; Dore, 1993; Hutton, 1995, 1997; Kelly et al., 1997). Kyoko Sheridan (1993) argued that Japan is not on a convergence route to Western-type capitalism but is sustained on a different track by a distinctive type of politico-economic formation. David Williams (1994) turned Fukuyama’s view of an ‘end of history’ in the shape of American capitalism on its head: in his view Japan is not only a quite distinctive type of capitalist formation but also offers a far greater long-term challenge

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