By Geoffrey M. Hodgson
Fresh occasions in japanese Europe have underlined the restrictions of Marxian financial and political thought. during this choice of essays Hodgson matters Marxian fiscal idea to severe exam and indicates which components continue their smooth relevance. After analysing the contribution of Sraffa, and indicating its serious capability and theoretical boundaries, Hodgson issues to a brand new synthesis embracing Marx, Keynes and Veblen.
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Extra info for After Marx and Sraffa: Essays in Political Economy
If all the things which serve to sustain my life were as abundant as certain of them are, light for instance, -- in other words, if the quantity of every valuable thing was inexhaustible, -- my welfare would be forever assured: I should not have to labor; I should not even think. In such a state, things would always be useful, but it would be no longer true to say that they ARE VALUABLE; for value, as we shall soon see, indicates an essentially social relation; and it is solely through exchange, reverting as it were from society to Nature, that we have acquired the idea of utility.
Such is political economy's first article of faith. As for socialism, it does not appear to have understood the question, or to be concerned about it. Among its many organs, some simply and merely put aside the problem by substituting division for distribution, -- that is, by banishing number and measure from the social organism: others relieve themselves of the embarrassment by applying universal suffrage to the wages question. It is needless to say that these platitudes find dupes by thousands and hundreds of thousands.
Every science must first define its domain, produce and collect its materials: before system, facts; before the age of art, the age of learning. The economic science, subject like every other to the law of time and the conditions of experience, before seeking to ascertain how things ought to take place in society, had to tell us how things do take place; and all these processes which the authors speak of so pompously in their books as laws, principles, and theories, in spite of their incoherence and inconsistency, had to be gathered up with scrupulous diligence, and described with strict impartiality.