New Ideas in the Tradition of Galbraith
Edited by Blandine Laperche, James K. Galbraith and Dimitri Uzunidis
Chapter 10: The Global Restructuring of Capitalism: New Technologies and Intellectual Property
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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