Essays on Institutional and Evolutionary Themes
Chapter 1: Introduction
From the viewpoint of pure economic theory, Karl Marx can be regarded as a minor post-Ricardian. Paul A. Samuelson, ‘Economists and the History of Ideas’ (1962) All this prattle about biological methods in economics ... of birds and bees, giant trees in the forest, and declining entrepreneurial dynasties … Paul A. Samuelson, ‘The Monopolistic Revolution’ (1967) Many economists would still follow Paul Samuelson and regard Charles Darwin and even Karl Marx as having little relevance for their subject.1 Marxian economics is absent from most undergraduate and postgraduate curricula. Many economists would not describe Marx as an economist anyway, because his analysis does not fit into the narrow mould of economics as the ‘science of choice’. And who would be so daft as to suggest that Darwin, the biologist, has anything to do with economics? We might play with biological metaphors and analogies, but many would agree with Joseph Schumpeter (1954, p. 789) when he argued that economic phenomena ‘would have to be analyzed with reference to economic facts alone and no appeal to biology would be of the slightest use’. However, the exclusion of Marx from economics is unwarranted, even if one is critical of his doctrines. Sciences should not be defined by their methods or assumptions, but by their objects of analysis. Economics should thus be the science of the economy. Marx’s Capital is about the workings of the capitalist economy, and should thus qualify as economics. Figure 1.1 below shows that citations to Marx remain high in core mainstream journals...