Chapter 39: Radical institutionalism
The 1960s produced a number of radical institutionalists who oppose violence, injustice and inequality, and support peaceful reconstruction of basic economic, political and social institutions. They define economics as ‘social provisioning’ and make wants and resources variables in their models instead of given parameters. They replace assumptions of unlimited individual wants and scarce resources with explanations involving endogenous causes of economic change. They replace ‘economic man’ with human beings living in real social economies (Davis, 2003; Dugger, 1989b; George, 2001; Gruchy, 1987; Kapp, 2011; O’Boyle, 1994). Lastly, this line of inquiry returns to fundamentals – to theoretical roots in Veblen and Marx – and proposes transforming, not just reforming, institutions to better serve the exploited and excluded (Stanfield, 1995; Dugger, 1992a, 1992b). The rest of this chapter is in three sections: (1) State of the literature; (2) Main issues and implications; and (3) New directions.
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