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Economics: Marxian versus Neoclassical Paperback – Bargain Price, August 1, 1987
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This book is intended as an introduction to Marxian economic theory in which Marxism is defined and developed in relation to neoclassical economics... Resnick and Wolff make an important contribution in urging students of economics to consider the social consequences of alternative economic theories.(Journal of Economic Literature )
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Top Customer Reviews
The book has four chapters. Chapter 1 provides the context for the comparison, Chapter 2 deals with neoclassical theory, Chapter 3 presents Marxian theory, and finally, Chapter 4 wraps it all up by discussing the importance of theoretical differences. Quite predictably, most of the action happens in chapters 2 and 3 while the rest only fulfills an ancillary function.
In Chapter 2 the authors assume basic familiarity with neoclassical economics and go on to discuss the logical structure of this particular theory: its entry points, its logic and how it links the entry points to everything else. According to Wolff and Resnick, neoclassical theory has three main entry points: preferences, resource endowments and technology. Moreover, its logic is determinist with clear causes and effects. The authors proceed using this determinist logic to show how neoclassical entry points (or "essences") lead to certain outcomes in factor (labour, capital) and commodity markets. This discussion of neoclassical theory serves as a backdrop for the later discussion of Marxian theory. The chapter also provides a very brief section with criticisms of neoclassical theory and a section on "the challenge of Keynes". This is easily the weakest part of the book. It is less accessible than the rest as well as visibly dated: as a result of the Keynes section, rational expectations school occupies the only Appendix of this chapter.Read more ›
There are a number of reasons that I consider this book to be a truly worthwhile read. Just like Debunking Economics: The Naked Emperor of the Social Sciences by Steve Keen (another book I highly recommend) this book provides a really excellent summary of neoclassical economic theory and the foundations of neoclassical economic theory. This is a good book to read as a supplement to the standard intermediate economics textbooks as it lays down the philosophical foundations of neoclassical economic theory more explicitly than is often done in the textbooks (the purpose of course being to contrast these philosophical foundations with the philosophical foundations of Marxian economic theory).
This book also provides a really interesting interpretation of Marxian economic theory. Marxians are a notoriously heterogenous bunch and I have a feeling that many Marxians would take issue with the Marxian theory presented in this book. But there is one aspect of Wolff and Resnick's interpretation that I found to be especially compelling. The Marxian theory of base and superstructure is often presented in a really reductionistic way which many people find to be an especially unappealing aspect of Marx's thought.Read more ›
This version has never been out of print in its quarter-century though, and reading it will show you evidence for its longevity. The first 124 pages can be pulled out and stand alone as an introductory text for economics as it is currently taught at the 101 level. The authors understand and explain the orthodox so well it feels like one of the Alfred Marshall Texts.
The second part is a clear, mostly jargon-free description of Marxian economics that is much more accessible than handing someone a single volume of Capital. The authors are able to show the logic behind Marx's analysis of capitalism and his intellectual torch-bearers. The most true thing I can say about this book, and the one that is the highest praise I can bring, is that I wanted to use this book as a teaching text. The only issue is that the Marxian economics don't lend themselves to problems sets as easily as neoclassical problems. There are equations, but you don't end up with the nice charts and graphs that demand curves. I wanted to share this with students and show that there are true alternatives to the status quo, not just tinkering at the edges of the models.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very good comparison and contrast with two very different economic theories. It could be used as a textbook.Published 1 month ago by Jeremy Rouse
I was given this book by my mentor years ago, who in turn was mentored by Drs. Resnick and Wolff. It's a wonderful introductory text to heterodox theory and political economy, and... Read morePublished 8 months ago by James Taylor
Capitalism is more of a religion than an economic system. This book does a good job comparing the fundamentals of both systems, and focuses on the math as well as the philosophical... Read morePublished 17 months ago by EthosInFreefall