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Capital: Piketty and such   Peter Radford  RWEB

I will not pile on any more: the Piketty book is required reading. Enough said.....I have a few comments I want to make because of his book and the reaction to it.

First: it confirms, in my mind, my argument that economic systems cannot ever be carved out of their historical, social, and political contexts. Not, at least, if the analyst wants to be left with anything at all useful. Studying economics as some abstracted other-worldly stand alone entity is entirely pointless. Pretending that everyday people act in an economic sense without reference to a whole slew of cultural, institutional or other relationships and pressures is just nonsense. Of course they do. We all know that.

I understand that distilling some uniquely "economic" regularities is useful. I understand that establishing certain cause and effects relationships can help us understand society, but, ultimately it is society we are understanding, not just some economic agents roaming about absent any other influences. So anything understood within the domain of economics must then be converted to, or fitted within, the larger picture before it is thought of as having any relevance. Particularly policy relevance.



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Apr 18th, 2014 at 09:37:17 AM EST
Economics stripped of its political and social context is less relevant than would be physics had it been stripped of experimental observation.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Apr 18th, 2014 at 09:41:31 AM EST
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Further into his review Radford notes the continuing problem defining capital and labor and strongly suggests that both are social constructs having to do with the power to organize production. This is very similar to the argument put forth by Nitzan and Bichler in Capital as Power.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Apr 18th, 2014 at 09:52:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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