- 12th Annual Conference of the Association of Heterodox Economics -
7. - 10 July 2010 Bordeaux, France
The Heterodox Economist
Presentation and Comments on Selected Papers:
(For all interventions please look up the program.)
About 150 participants enjoyed a very nice conference in Bordeaux. The organizing team, led by Ali Douai was excellent, the weather fantastic (even to hot just when Rick Wolff started criticising). Alan Freeman got it right: We all can say: I have been there! There is no chance to present nor to comment on all the contributions. So here is just a collection of those immediately close to the MIME Project. The organizing team of GREThA of the University of Montesquieu, Bordeaux 4, has contributed several above average quality papers which should be looked up on their site.
The conference is an event of international solidarity in favour of the labour movement, for a tough social control of the financial sector, against social and tax dumping, for the maintenance and improvement of social services and increased progressive taxation in support of more social equality and an ecological sustainable economic development.
1. There was no anti-militaristic study presented at the conference!
As if the wars going on
don't matter causing the world economic crisis!
One should remember the words of Jean Jaurès:
"Le capitalisme porte en lui la guerre comme la nuée porte l'orage."
Here is a link to SIPRI – Stockholm Peace Research Institute
We were introduced by Diane Elson (Essex) to look at the issues under discussion through a gender lens: "Capitalism Through a Gender Lense, Finance, Production and Reproduction".
Manuel Couret Branco (University of Évora, Portugal) in his paper Economics for Human Rights argues "that mainstream economics discourse is often contradictory with promoting human rights. What are the changes economics must undergo in order to promote human rights?” he asks.
At the introduction there was also a tough criticism of the world of finance:
Gunnar Sigurðsson presented his film "May be I should have!". The film, using the context of Island's insolvency, presents the actors of the world of finance as severely immoral. "Your banker is a criminal!" is the message. In the film you learn about a corrupt politico-financial sector, tax heavens, money heaven, etc. Someone ought to say the truth, and Gunnar does it with a lot of sarcastic humour.
Richard Wolff presented his lecture:
"When Capitalism Hits the Fan"
Comment:: The message of Richard Wolff is clear: In a capitalist society economists, of whatever colour, are doomed to failure in their attempts to stabilize the economy unless they overcome the class contradictions of capitalism. With other words, those who produce have to control their companies. Richard puts the finger on the soaring wound of monopoly power and the extrem unequal distribution of wealth, income, political and economic power. He, who speaks fluent German, takes up indeed the trade unionist struggle for "Mitbestimmung" (workers codetermination of the company) and ownership of capital by the workers. As this struggle has been lost in Europe and elsewhere people (workers) suffer. Richard Wolff presents data which underlines that the power of the Soviet Union was the driver for economic prosperity of the Post-War period in the industrialized countries, something he is quiet about. His implied message is: "Don't mention the Soviets, but create them wherever you are!". To unionise is obviously the absolute minimum. And it is because of the week unions that American (and all other) workers suffer. The right to work should be a binding law. Here is the link to his paper.
The Marxists represent a minority amongst heterodox economists and in general our contributions have been mediocre to say the least. The exceptions are of course my own contributions Klaus Hagendorf: A Critique of Gossen's Fundamental Theorem of the Theory of Pleasure and Klaus Hagendorf: Labour values and the theory of the firm.
In the paper on Gossen his Theory of Pleasure is presented as a pre-Marxian materialist study with a first scientific proof of the labour theory of value on a hedonistic basis and supply and demand curves are derived in terms of labour values. Here is the Presentation of Gossen's Theory of Pleasure.
second presentation I concentrate on the correct
definition of labour valuescondemning the Cold War
Definition of Labour Values which
has confused many Marxists and led them even to abandon the labour
theory of value. The error lies in a wrong understanding of the price
of capital services. I show that the correct interpretation of labour
values is proportional to marginal and average cost and so there is
no transformation problem under perfect competition. Once the correct
definition of labour values is adopted the theory of the firm can be
based solely on labour values. Prices are obtained by simply
multiplying labour values with the wage rate.
Here is my paper Klaus Hagendorf: A Critique of the Cold War Definition of Labour Values
Costas Panayotakis presented an ecolo-criticism with his paper: Capitalism’s Bleak Landscapes of Scarcity: A Brief Overview of Globalization, Consumerism and Environmental Degradation. His conclusions are: “A project for economic democracy based on the recognition of the connection between the undemocratic logic of capital and the adverse landscapes of scarcity that people around the world are faced with can address the challenge outlined by Bullard. Indeed, the defining characteristic of economic democracy is a challenge of all the economic, racial, gender and other social inequalities that prevent the economic goals and priorities of society from being democratically determined rather than being dictated by the imperatives of capital accumulation. As it also demonstrates the connections between capital’s undemocratic economic power and the human misery and ecological degradation characterizing capitalism’s landscapes of scarcity, the conception of economic democracy proposed in this work can help bring together the popular movements that capital has always sought to divide.”
Finally we shall concentrate on some contributions which shall be important in developing the analysis of labour values in the context of capitalistic firms and the business cycle theory. When we have found that under perfect competition (or better in a perfect economy) prices are proportional to labour values this does not apply to capitalism as capitalistic firms use their monopoly power to impose prices upon their customers as well as their suppliers. When prices include mark-ups prices are no longer proportional to labour values and loose their ability as efficiency indicators. These mark-ups play a role in Kalecki's and Minsky's business cycle analysis and so the works of Takashi Ohno, Julio Lopez, Dany Lang, Jacques Mazier and Edwin le Héron and the economists of Adek (association pour le développement des études keynésiennes) are of importance to the MIME project.
Susan Schroeder contributed a paper: A Note on the Conception of Competition in Minsky’s Financial Instability Hypothesis.
“This note will attempt to identify some of the recent misinterpretations and clarify their basis. The clarification process, though, yields an interesting twist. The ability of mainstream economists to graft elements of the FIH onto their frameworks can be attributed, in part, to a conception of competition which also underlies the work of Kalecki, which Minsky adopted as the basis for the FIH. This particular conception of competition yields static analyses, defined in terms of levels, shifting – only with difficulty - to growth models defined in terms of rates. The twist is that not only does mainstream have trouble grasping the dynamics of the FIH, the FIH itself may be limited in capturing the key dynamics of a financial crisis.”
From our analysis it is clear that we are able now to base the Kaleckian and Minsky's models on labour values.
Copyright © 2010, Klaus Hagendorf. All Rights Reserved!