Wednesday, July 07, 2010

study political economy

Given that we are facing the greatest economic crisis in 80 years it is a good idea to begin some serious study of the fundamentals of political economy.


plakboek said...

Reminds me to check what books are in the public domain that I can download and read.

Bill Kerr said...

hi plakboek,
There is quite a lot at the marxist archive. Also I find google books quite valuable to preview books before I buy.

John Dougan said...

If you are just reading those books pictured your economic education may be a mile deep but only an inch wide. I would recommend the free resources on political economy at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. A good starting point is Callahan's Economics for Real People. There are various reading lists that have been composed, some are more overwhelming than others.

Bill Kerr said...

thanks john dougan,

Shortly after I started I realised an historical overview was essential but it take me a while to find a text which I thought adequate since the field is so contested. Most of the resources in the photo do focus on Marx and Post Keynes outlooks, so well spotted. However, Yonay, "The Struggle over the Soul of Economics" is about the battle between American Institutionalist's and neo classical's b/w the wars and Fine and Milonakis, "From Political Economy to Economics" provides an historical overview of most of the different schools from Classical through to Keynes. I've found this latter book to be extremely valuable.

In reponse to your comment I have downloaded Callahan's "Economics for Real People", and subsequently Mises' "Human Action" and Rothbard's "Man, Economy and State" and read a few pages of the first two. Also downloaded and had a look at Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations". Earlier on I did look at Bohm's attempt to refute Marx but I have found replies to that which satisfy me that Marx is not refuted by him.

I'm not impressed by the Austrian critique of Marx because it misrepresents rather blatantly (eg. Callahan, pp. 20-21, this article: Marxism Unmasked ). One good way to judge a school of thought is how fairly it represents its opponents.

It's a can of worms, of course, to properly read the primary sources of Marx, Mises, Smith and others is going to take some time. In the meantime we gather impressions of where to start or which direction to go in from where? The opinion I have arrived at is that capital is the dominant feature of our society and so my direction is to try to understand that first.

I may or may not have persuaded you that my outlook is more than an inch wide. Now can you try to persuade me that your outlook is broader than mine?