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Heterodox Economics

Foundations of Alternative Economics

Hasan Gürak

Mainstream economic textbooks propose a kind of economic world which can only exist in fictitious markets where producers and consumers interact like robots, relations are mechanical and assumptions utopian. Accordingly, the expositions are, in substance, nothing but sophistry. Yet, many economists are becoming more and more discontent with the sophistries of mainstream doctrines. The book presents some realistic alternative approaches to the conventional ‘unrealistic’ attitudes of mainstream economists in order to pave the way for a further development of new ideas.

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Contents

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Foreword ............................................................................. V Acknowledgement ........................................................... VII Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION ................................................. 1 On scientific (!) economics ......................................................................... 4 In Pursuit of New Approaches .................................................................... 8 The Subject of Economics ........................................................................... 9 Microeconomics vs. Macroeconomics .................................................. 10 A Science or an Ideology? ........................................................................ 12 Social Science vs. Natural Science ........................................................ 13 Skilled Labor(-er) & Technology .............................................................. 15 Basic Principles & the Study Plan............................................................. 18 Chapter 2: SOME CONCEPTS, DEFINITIONS & ASSUMPTIONS …19 Some Key Concepts & Assumptions ........................................................ 19 The Enterprise, i.e. The Firm .................................................................... 20 Entrepreneur (owner of the capital) ....................................................... 21 Science and Technology ............................................................................ 23 Knowledge ............................................................................................. 23 Science or Scientific Knowledge ........................................................... 24 Productive Knowledge (Technology) .................................................... 24 The Accumulation of Knowledge .......................................................... 26 The Importance of Technology ................................................................. 27 The Importance of Knowledge .............................................................. 29 The Contribution of Technology ........................................................... 30 Products (Goods & Services) .................................................................... 30 Commodities - Goods ............................................................................ 31 Service .................................................................................................... 31 Inputs of Production .................................................................................. 32 “Productive” Factor(s) ............................................................................... 33 Nature: as a “Productive” Factor ........................................................... 33 X Laborer: a “Productive” Production Factor ........................................... 34 Capital: a “Productive” Factor? ............................................................. 38 Other “Factors of Production” ................................................................... 41 Human Capital: Labor or Capital? ......................................................... 42 Laborer without Human Capital ............................................................ 43 Competition ............................................................................................... 43 Oligopoly & Imperfect Competition ..................................................... 44 Monopoly & Imperfect Competition ..................................................... 45 Increasing Returns to Capacity ................................................................. 45 On Institutions ........................................................................................... 46 In Summary ............................................................................................... 46 Chapter 3: PRODUCTION ................................................... 49 On Technology .......................................................................................... 49 Technology, Labor & Profit ...................................................................... 51 The Profit–Cost Relation with “Given” Plant Capacity ........................ 53 Technological Progress & Output ............................................................. 57 Technological Productivity Growth....................................................... 58 In Conclusion ............................................................................................ 61 Chapter 4: PRICE .................................................................. 63 Short Term Price: technology as a “given” ............................................... 64 Production Price vs. Market Price ......................................................... 64 Impact of Technological Changes on Price .............................................. 73 A “Given” Product & a “New” Production Process .............................. 73 “New” Production Process in...

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