New Ideas in the Tradition of Galbraith
New Directions in Modern Economics series
Edited by Blandine Laperche, James K. Galbraith and Dimitri Uzunidis
Chapter 12: Knowledge and Innovation: Power and Counterpower
Andrée Kartchevsky and Muriel Maillefert The idea that people could one day consume less, work less and live more might seem puzzling. And nevertheless … J.K. Galbraith, 1971 1. INTRODUCTION The economic tradition radically opposes the state and the market, the market and organizations, the former regulating and mitigating possible market failures and the latter representing an alternative in the coordination of economic activities. This view, widely accepted by economic theory during the growth years, is not exactly the one held by Galbraith. This author, without denying the virtues or the shortcomings of the market, does not concede Keynesian economic policies the advantages they are traditionally granted. Thus Galbraith’s heterodoxy is opposed to the liberal discourse as well as to the interventionist solutions applied during the 1970s. Likewise, Galbraith, in contrast to Schumpeter, presents organizations as an endogenous element to the economy. According to Galbraith, organizations are the market and make the market, even if alongside an organized world exists a quasi-competitive universe in which small enterprises operate. In this chapter, we will first study how the organization – the technostructure in the heart of big corporations – exercizes its power on the content, the direction and therefore on change in industrial capitalism. This leads to the subordination of markets and the fields of public action to the requirements of influential groups. This context gives scientists specific roles and responsibilities. With Galbraith, in the second part, we will study the sense of innovation and technical change in the capitalism of big enterprises,...
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