Innovation, Evolution and Economic Change
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Innovation, Evolution and Economic Change

New Ideas in the Tradition of Galbraith

Edited by Blandine Laperche, James K. Galbraith and Dimitri Uzunidis

The book begins with a penetrating analysis of the main features of today’s capitalism and in particular the conflict between shareholders and managers. It moves on to focus on the consequences of globalization in the decision-making processes of large corporations and represents an important step in the development of a theory of fraud and corruption within corporations. In the final part, the authors address and explore the consequences of the domination of influential groups over major social and political decisions, on the blurred boundaries between the public and the private sectors and its consequences in the fields of technological regulation and the evolution of public services. In so doing, the authors question the meaning and power of democracy in today’s society.
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Chapter 10: The Global Restructuring of Capitalism: New Technologies and Intellectual Property

George Liodakis


George Liodakis 1. J.K. GALBRAITH’S CONTRIBUTION AND THE APPROPRIATE THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK The theoretical investigation of the current global restructuring of capitalism and of the relevant role of technology is an urgent task for contemporary political economy. In developing an adequate theoretical framework for such an investigation, it is appropriate to refer to, and draw from, J.K. Galbraith’s work because the issues regarding the role of technology and the industrial restructuring of modern capitalism run through, as a connecting thread, his whole work. There are, certainly, common premises in the work of JKG, but also a significant critical divergence from mainstream economics. Regarding Keynesian economics, more specifically, it should be noted that both Keynes and Galbraith agree that free market capitalism, without state intervention and regulation, tends to instability, and that Galbraith was an important figure in the promotion of Keynesian economics in the USA (see Dietrich 2003). However, Galbraith’s critical work was also pointing to the inadequacies and shortcomings of the Keynesian analysis, particularly in relation to the shifting balance of power from consumers to producers, the growing divergence between producers’ interests and public purpose, the unequal development and distribution of income, the impact on the environment, the antiinflationary impotence of fiscal policy in case of oligopolistic structure, and the lack of economic co-ordination on a national and global scale (JKG 1973: ch. 31, section III). Although Galbraith himself declares that, for better or worse, he is ‘a reformer rather than a revolutionary’ (JKG 1973: Preface, III), he seems to...

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