Volume III Issue 1

Autumn 2009

1. The social organisation of epistemology in macroeconomic policy work: the case of the IMF

Richard Harper.
This paper reports an ethnographic study of work practices in the IMF, and IMF mission activity in particular. It will show how this work combines arithmetic, econometric and meeting skills with the adroit management of social processes that transform 'incomplete' or 'ambiguous numbers' into socially validated and hence 'objective for practical purposes' data. These data form the basis of epistemic certainty in the analytical work undertaken, and though this certainty is socially framed, it is treated as sufficient for substantive, robust and 'real world' macroeconomic policy making.
Section: Articles

2. The foundation of Marx's concept of value in the Manuscripts of 1844

Laurent Baronian.
The aim of this paper is to show how Marx's Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, which stand as his first systematic study of classical economists, transform the concept of labour as it had been developed by political economy against mercantilism and physiocracy. The current interpretations of the Marxian theory of value are first reviewed. The analysis of the Manuscripts then shows that the contribution of Hegelian philosophy lies in the definition of social labour in total opposition to the orthodox conception. This issue leads to a reexamination of the significance of these Manuscripts for the Marxian concept of value and its source, general and abstract labour.
Section: Articles

3. Institutionalism as the way of unification of the heterodox theories

Nicolas Postel ; Richard Sobel.
In this article we seek to show that there is a common framework to the various approaches known as heterodox. This framework is the "institutionalism", which take into account the concrete institutions in which the economic process proceeds. To argue our thesis we deploy two types of justification. We begin with an historical justification which borrows from the history of the thought and will find in emblematic authors (Ricardo, Marx, Keynes, Polanyi) (1) the definition of a common object for an institutionalist political economy (the study of a "Monetary economy of capitalistic production"); (2) a common general standard of the economy like "an institutionalized process between men and environment" (against the definition of Robbins). Our second justification is a more epistemological one. We develop the way in which the institutionalist approach mobilizes the concepts of action and of institution. The goal of this article is to contribute to the emergence of a positive paradigm, common to the heterodox, which is not defined any more in hollow or negative in opposition to the neoclassic "main stream".
Section: Articles

4. Loanable funds, liquidity preference: structure, past and present

Romar Correa.
We appraise the canonical RobertsonKeynes discussion from the structural axis of exogeneity/endogeneity of the interest rate. The interest rate is shown to be an exogenous variable. It is only with Keynes' contribution of liquidity preference and, specifically, the introduction of the liquidity preference of banks that no more than the possibility of endogenising the interest rate arises. Given the tenuousness of the resolution, we pose the ethical question: should the rate of interest be endogenised? On the other hand, Keynes' theorem that the rate of interest is a monetary variable is validated. Both money and the rate of interest are codetermined in a capitalist economy.
Section: Articles

5. A new framework for the analysis of contemporary financial markets: the need for pluralistic approaches

Mitja Stefancic.
Interdisciplinary approaches are essential to properly evaluate an economic and financial system that is increasingly complex and globally interrelated. With reference to the work of the philosopher Peter Godfrey-Smith, it is argued that a more pronounced interdisciplinarity in the social sciences would enable a flourishing of pluralism in economics. By adopting clearly defined research strategies and objectives, scholars with different academic backgrounds can successfully work on common projects. A better integration of economic, social and behavioural sciences will favour the establishment of new frames of thinking and new analytical tools which are much needed in contemporary financial regulation. Financial markets, defined as competitive markets in financial instruments such as stocks, bonds, loans and derivatives, represent a research subject that may be analysed from a plurality of angles and frames, including a sociological one. In practice, such a plurality of perspectives could favour sustainable wealth creation and contribute to maximizing the benefits from economic globalization.
Section: Articles

6. A review of David Colander, The Making of a European Economist, Cheltenham, UK, Edward Elgar, 2009, 190 pp.

Mariana Nicolae.
David Colander's book on The Making of a European Economist is somehow a natural continuation of his by now classic studies on economics education in the US and of his book The Making of an Economist, Redux [1]. The book is fascinating to read not only by someone like me who is not really an economist, but has been close to the field and has been teaching students of economics for a long time, but mainly by policy makers both in the field of higher education and in other fields like business where the larger aspects of societal changes are more and more apparent.
Section: Book reviews

7. A review of George A. Akerlof and Robert J. Shiller, Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism, Princeton University Press, 2009, 264 pp.

Cornel Ban.
Section: Book reviews

8. A Review of Moral Markets: the Critical Role of Values in the Economy, Edited by Paul J. Zak, Princeton/ Oxford, Princeton University Press, 2008, 386 pp

Thomas Wells.
It is well known that economics does not understand values. It turns out, however, that a main reason for this is that it has not understood markets either. This collection of literature reviews, essays, and original research from the fields of primatology, philosophy, law, and economics grapples with the vexed relationship of values and markets but doesn't quite succeed in addressing it. While there is plenty of wisdom scattered across the different contributions, as a book it fails in its interdisciplinary task of integrating these nuggets, and it fails also to include all the disciplines which would seem to be relevant sources of insight.
Section: Book reviews

9. A Review of The Genesis of Innovation: Systemic Linkages between Knowledge and the Market, Edited by Blandine Laperche, Dimitri Uzunidis, Nick von Tunzelmann, Cheltenham UK, Edward Elgar, 2008, 285 pp.

Dana Gârdu.
Though almost onecentury old, the Schumpeterian statement that innovation is the true driver of welfareenhancing economic development captures the essence of today's knowledge economy. In his acceptation innovation refers to new combinations conducive to new products, new production processes, new markets, new organizational forms, and the discovery of new resources. Currently the fierce global race challenges nationstates and transnational corporations (TNC) to engage in the management of innovation in order to secure competitive advantages, hence their recurrent initiatives in science and technology (S&T)/innovation policies, and regional development. In a bestcase scenario this endeavour produces innovative milieux underpinned by vibrant interactions among major players (companies, research organizations, local communities, regional and central governments, etc.), and integrates them into other networks spawning knowledge externalities.
Section: Book reviews

10. A Review of Marshall and Schumpeter on Evolution: Economic Sociology of Capitalist Development, Edited by Yuichi Shionoya and Tamotsu Nishizawa, Cheltenham UK, Edward Elgar, 2008, 285 pp.

Andreas Stamate.
Joseph Alois Schumpeter (18831950) and Alfred Marshall (18421924) had more or less successfully delivered to humanity their vision about evolution and made connections between this and other concepts which deserve attention, such as development or capitalism. The volume Marshall and Schumpeter on Evolution: Economic Sociology of Capitalist Development is a tool for starting to understand these connections, and at the same time for observing the differences, if any, between the two.
Section: Book reviews