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Marx, Veblen, and Contemporary Institutional Political Economy

Principles and Unstable Dynamics of Capitalism Phillip Anthony O’Hara, Global Political Economy Research Unit, Australia
This book uses an institutional–evolutionary approach to analyse economic problems associated with developments in capitalism during the second half of the twentieth century. It argues that economics should centre on institutions – the durable fabric of the economy over time.

Drawing on the foundations of Marxist and institutional political economy, the book traces the lineages of institutional themes, as well as considering feminist, post-Keynesian, holistic economics and Schumpeterian perspectives. The nature of institutions in the growth and instability of capitalism is then explored with reference to social structures of accumulation.
Awarded the Gunnar Myrdal Book of the Year Prize 2002
Extent: 384 pp
Hardback Price: £109.00 Web: £98.10
Publication Date: 2000
ISBN: 978 1 85898 067 6
Availability: In Stock
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Economic History
  • Evolutionary Economics
  • History of Economic Thought
  • Radical and Feminist Economics
This book uses an institutional–evolutionary approach to analyse economic problems associated with developments in capitalism during the second half of the twentieth century. It argues that economics should centre on institutions – the durable fabric of the economy over time.

Drawing on the foundations of Marxist and institutional political economy, the book traces the lineages of institutional themes, as well as considering feminist, post-Keynesian, holistic economics and Schumpeterian perspectives. The nature of institutions in the growth and instability of capitalism is then explored with reference to social structures of accumulation. Particular reference is given to the world economy, the family, the Keynesian welfare state and neo-liberalism, Fordism, the flexible mode of accumulation, and financial regulation and deregulation. The author concludes, using institutional–evolutionary themes of political economy, that the evolution of modern capitalism is likely to be unstable as we move into the next century.
‘Phillip O’Hara’s intention in this well-written and referenced book is to provide a new synthesis between neo-institutionalist followers of Veblen and adherents of the neo-Marxist approach to political economy . . . Beyond those interested in its primary objective, this book is also likely to find a readership among people who wish to get a solid introduction to economics beyond the literature and questions that are of current interest to the mainstream of the profession . . . This book is a clear and accessible survey of a remarkable range of literatures . . . the book represents a useful survey of several important non-mainstream approaches to political economy.’
– Robert E. Prasch, Eastern Economic Journal

‘Phillip O’Hara’s book is one of the most important works attempting to synthesize the contributions of Karl Marx and Thorstein Veblen in political economy. This is not a history of thought book, but rather a forward-looking book. . . By highlighting the similarities and integrating the common ground of neo-Marxism and neoinstitutionalism, O’Hara has made a tremendous service to heterodox political economy for this is the only way to strengthen the field and move it forward toward what O’Hara calls institutional political economy. . . . This book is an excellent resource for students and scholars interested in linkages between institutionalist and Marxist political economy. Readers will find the book thought provoking, intellectually exciting, and, more importantly, optimistic about the possibilities for further development and integration within heterodox political economy.’
– Fadhel Kaboub, Review of Radical Political Economics

‘Philip O’Hara has written an excellent and important book. It should be read by all economists, but it will be particularly useful to heterodox economists interested in exploring the commonalities between Marxism and institutionalism, and using that analysis to understand and change contemporary capitalism.’
– Martin H. Wolfson, The Economic Record

‘This book is a deep analysis of the capitalist system and its evolution, and belongs to the radical institutionalism deriving from Marx and the old institutionalism founded by Veblen. It is an impressive work. . .’
– Jean Bernard and Jacques Brasseul, Journal of Evolutionary Economics

‘[O’Hara’s] achievement is considerable. Foremost is his institutional explanation of the recent conflicts and crises that plague contemporary society. O’Hara’s book makes great strides toward building an institutionally grounded radical political economy capable of reducing future conflicts and crises.’
– Hans G. Despain, Constitutional Political Economy

‘Not least among the merits of this book is an excellent review of the debates that have been conducted in the pages of the Journal of Economic Issues and the Review of Radical Political Economics since the 1960s. . . a splendid tribute to the greatest and most under-rated political economist that the United States has produced, and to his followers among the questioning intellects in North American economics.’
– Jan Toporowski, History of Economics Review

‘One must admire these chapters. They offer an analysis that cannot be ignored, based on a deeper appreciation of the factors at work than anyone else has ventured . . . It is the best of the analyses of the radical institutionalists.’
– Daniel Fusfeld, Journal of Economic Issues

‘. . . it is certainly one of the major advances in institutional economics and political economy in recent memory.’
– Wolfram Elsner, EUEPE Newsletter
Contents: Foreword: William M. Dugger and James Ronald Stanfield 1. Introduction Part A: The Foundations: Marx and Veblen 2. Marx’s Capital and the Institutional Reproduction of Capitalism 3. Veblen’s ‘Critique’ of Marx’s Philosophical Preconceptions of Political Economy 4. Veblen’s Analysis of Social Wealth, Industry–Business, and Crises of Capitalism Part B: Contemporary Institutional–Evolutionary Political Economy 5. Neo-Marxian and Neoinstitutional Political Economy: Holism, Evolution, and Contradiction 6. Capital, the Wealth of Nations, and Inequality in the Contemporary World 7. A New Measure of Macroeconomic Performance and Institutional Change Part C: Social Structures of Accumulation and Socioeconomic Crises of Modern Capitalism: 1940–2000s 8. Long Waves of Economic Growth and Development, and the Metamorphosis of Institutions 9. Fordism, Accumulation, and Institutional Contradictions 10. The World Economy and US Hegemony 11. Household Labor, the Family, and Macroeconomic Instability in the United States 12. The Keynesian Welfare State: Emergence, Contradictions, and Evolution 13. Financial Instability, Uncertainty, and Endogenous Credit in the United States 14. A New Social Structure of Accumulation or the Emerging Global Crises of Capitalism? 15. Conclusion Bibliography Index