El Viejo Almacen -Bs.As.

Surplus Approach

“Es necesario volver a la economía política de los Fisiócratas, Smith, Ricardo y Marx. Y uno debe proceder en dos direcciones: i) purgar la teoría de todas las dificultades e incongruencias que los economistas clásicos (y Marx) no fueron capaces de superar, y, ii) seguir y desarrollar la relevante y verdadera teoría económica como se vino desarrollando desde “Petty, Cantillón, los Fisiócratas, Smith, Ricardo, Marx”. Este natural y consistente flujo de ideas ha sido repentinamente interrumpido y enterrado debajo de todo, invadido, sumergido y arrasado con la fuerza de una ola marina de economía marginal. Debe ser rescatada."
Luigi Pasinetti

ISSN 1853-0419

Entrada destacada

Cuando pase el temblor

Por Fabián Amico y Mariano de Miguel    Economistas Existe la hipótesis generalizada de que la reciente corrida cambi...

16 nov. 2011

Gary Mongiovi:Keynesian Economics and Socialism

Del Lunes 7 al viernes 11 de noviembre se realizó en México, organizado por en la Facultad de Economía-UNAM, en la Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana- UAM-Xochimilco y El Colegio de México, el Congreso Internacional: Crisis de la Teoría Económica y Políticas Alternativas ante la Crisis Global con la participación de Mássimo Pivetti (Italia), Alejandro Fiorito (Argentina), Gary Mongiovi (EEUU), Heinz Kurz (Austria), Aldo Barba (Italia), Amit Bahduri (India), Franklin Serrano (Brasil) y Eladio Febrero (España). Toda la actividad fue coordinada por el Profesor Alfonso Vadillo Bello.

Presentación de Gary Mongiovi y Abstract


This paper explores the relation between Keynesian economics, in its various manifestations, and socialism. Mainstream Keynesianism experienced something of a golden age in the two decades that followed the Second World War—paradoxically, the same period during which anxiety about the Soviet Union fostered a political environment that was highly antagonistic toward progressive movements. Despite the chilling effect of McCarthyism on how economics and other social sciences were taught, economists got Keynesian ideas into their teaching, advocated impressively progressive macroeconomic policies, and trained students during this period who went on to teach Keynesian economics when McCarthyism had subsided. Economists trained in the generally more open post-Vietnam war 1970s, when many prestigious mainstream departments had a non-neoclassical or two on staff, came into their professional prime in the 1980s, and then launched a ruthless war on Keynesian, Marxian and Institutionalist economists—including to some extent the Keynesians who had hired them.
Whatever disagreements Post Keynesians may have with the Neoclassical Synthesis interpretation of The General Theory (and these differences are important), the mainstream Keynesians at least understood that market systems could malfunction in serious ways, and that governments have a key role in getting the system out of a hole, or better, keeping it from falling into a hole. Moreover, in a very real sense, mainstream Keynesians were marginalized by the same tendencies within the profession that pulverized Marxian and Post Keynesian voices in academic economics in the 1980s.
The question of the compatibility of Keynesianism and socialism provides a platform for launching a discussion of how the left engages, or fails to engage, with mainstream progressives. Keynesianism is sometimes criticized from a Marxian perspective on grounds that deficit spending channels ever-larger shares of current income to the rentier class that's responsible for the crisis in the first place. I have no quarrel with this point, but it doesn't undermine the case for Keynesian theory or Keynesian policy. The theory strikes me as compatible with Marxian economics—indeed, many Marxists of the mid-20th century were somewhat dismissive of Keynes because to them he was merely elaborating insights that could already be found in Marx. The policies can be defended on pragmatic grounds. It may be true that Keynesianism was designed to preserve capitalism for the capitalists, that capitalism is fundamentally predatory, and that the condition of workers won't improve until the system is replaced by one with radically different relations of production. I agree: but working people are in trouble now, and if Keynesian policies will alleviate their distress there is a strong progressive case to be made for such policies.
I approach the topic from an intellectual history perspective, looking at the Cambridge Keynesians, Robinson, Kalecki etc and then the Americans, Lawrence Klein, Paul A. Samuelson, Franco Modigliani, Stiglitz, essentially to make the case that (i) there's enough common ground to justify at least some degree of constructive engagement; and (ii) it is a strategic mistake for Marxists to shut themselves out of the conversation by refusing to engage.

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