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The title of this article is a riff off a publication of G. C. Harcourt’s 1974 piece, ‘The social consequences of inflation’. He wrote this in a period of the global economy that bears some strong similarities to our own contemporary phase when inflation is suddenly back in the global headlines. There is at least one significant difference: at that time, Harcourt highlighted inflation as the outcome of an excess of total demand in real terms over available supplies of goods and services when the potential workforces and existing stocks of capital goods were fully employed. Current inflationary pressures, by contrast, arise from the combination of specific sectoral supply bottlenecks, rising profit margins in oligopolistic global markets for food and fuel and financial speculation in these markets.
This synthetic commentary offers a handful of observations. First, it highlights structural differences between the advanced market/capitalist economy that forms the theoretical scaffolding of Keynesian theory, as against the diverse range of structural and institutional configurations that characterise contemporary developing economies. Second, bearing these distinctions in mind, how far does the notion of “full employment” hold relevance in the context of developing economies? Third, the focus shifts to the central Keynesian policy prescription: reflating economic activity through injecting additional demand into the system, in extremis through pump-priming, digging and filling trenches – would this perform in a poor agrarian economy? Would the multiplier work and deliver in the realities of developing economies? Fourth, the central policy agenda in the South was that of launching industrialisation, leading to a sustained structural transformation of the economy – a la the Kaldorian industrialisation paradigm, which is scarcely visible in the (post-)Keynesianism template. Fifth, it queries the investment function and the role of state investment, and/or of “animal spirits” of capitalist entrepreneurs and agents, whether of domestic or foreign origins. Sixth, there is need to widen the focus, as well argued by Hans Singer, Amiya Bagchi and others, from Keynes-I of The General Theory, to Keynes-II of Bretton Woods, thereby substantially widening the interface with the agenda of development. Finally, there is the inevitable question concerning the nature and role of the state in the contrasting developed-vs-developing-economy, then-and-now scenarios. This discursive commentary is largely a Cambridge dialogue, not inappropriate in a tribute to Geoff Harcourt.
Geoffrey Colin Harcourt’s work on the interface between accountancy and economics is a part of his legacy that is less well-known than his work on the capital controversies. This paper argues that the analytical findings of this research effort are an important and integral part of Harcourt’s overall research programme. In this paper, we review Harcourt’s work on the relation between economics and accounting from the time of his undergraduate thesis to 1969, the date of the publication with Robert Parker of the edited volume Readings in the Concept and Measurement of Income. This paper intends to offer insights on (A) the evolution of Harcourt’s thought during this period and a survey of the significant contributions he made to research in this field during this time and (B) the legacy of his approach and findings. We argue that his ideas in this domain offer important insights in doing post-Keynesian economics in the Harcourt mould. We find that Harcourt’s insights on the issues relating to the accounting rate of profit as used by economists remain relevant to today, as well as his implicit suggestions on how to deal with the complexities of the problems that ensue for the theorist, practical economist, businessman, and policy advisor. Harcourt’s work suggests that we should not aim to replace one monolithic way of seeing things with another, indicating that the useful definition of key concepts and tools is determined by the problem and hence by the policy question one wants to answer.
‘Post-Keynesian’ became an umbrella term for those heterodox economists wanting to move away from the dominant neo-classical paradigm but not comfortable with another umbrella term of ‘political economy’. This review is about the contributions to understanding societal and economic change from an established and internationally recognised group of post-Keynesian economists. Many of the features which differentiate them from other, and sometimes fluid, subsets of post-Keynesian economists derive from their Kaleckian inspiration.
This case study finds that disrespect by international expatriate managers towards local employees triggered long-term industrial unrest in the Indian subsidiary of the global car maker Toyota. Whilst innovative production models and their tools provide economic advantage to the company, the interaction of the application of the lean production model within the context of host country institutions often creates workplace disputation and unrest due to unilateralism and managerial hegemonies that overrides local customs and norms. The power of multinational enterprises to override or ignore institutional resistance and to inflict disrespect towards the local workforce can result in worker resistance, a lack of trust, and ongoing industrial unrest. This case study demonstrates how a lack of respect of local customs and workers grievances had long-lasting consequences in terms of the subsequent conflict and a poor industrial relations climate at the production plant in India.
This study investigates the impact of the massive and unexpected influx of Syrian refugees on the job vacancy rates (JVRs) and job-finding rates (JFRs) in Turkey between 2009–2015 and 2009–2018. We employed the instrumental variable approach to address potential endogeneity issues. While we found no significant causal impact of the Syrian refugees on JVR, they decreased JFR between 2009 and 2018. A reduction in JFR indicates that the Beveridge Curve shifted inwards, thereby raising matching efficiency and facilitating an improvement in labour market conditions. Furthermore, our research indicated differences in coefficients and significance in JVR and JFR across occupations, as well as different effects in these areas between the short and long term. However, the results demonstrate that the rapid and unexpected influx of Syrian refugees alleviated JVR and JFR in most of the occupation groups.
Financial literacy is a dangerous illusion. The article builds on existing critiques, notably the work of Lauren Willis, to show that the discourse of financial literacy education raises fundamental epistemological issues about the nature of financial markets and financial behaviour. The difficulties of achieving financial literacy are ill conceived simply as the outcomes of market imperfections. Instead, structural inequalities, financial reform, and the nature of financial assets preclude consumers from achieving adequate levels of financial competence and the claim that they can do so diverts attention from the causes of unequal economic outcomes.
This paper focuses on the state of precarious work in Spain: Are all those who work as self-employed persons and interns truly operating under those descriptions, or are many of them employees so precariously engaged that they have no labour contracts? If so, how has this come to pass? Why is it increasingly happening? This paper raises some answers based on the Marxist approach. We link employment instability to increased exploitation of the Spanish labour force. This trend is a reaction by capital to low rates of profit and the implementation of particular governmental economic policies implemented to meet the demands of the European Union. Due to the precariousness of work, prospects for achieving a stable and autonomous life for a large cohort of Spain’s working youth are seriously threatened.
This article adopts a labour process theory approach to analysing distinct circuits of labour control in platform video game work in China, a novel manifestation of the platform economy rooted in the special formation of Chinese gaming infrastructure as well as in precarious labour regimes. Platform game work encompasses a broad range of online video game services such as live game streaming, paid boosting, and game companion, matching customers’ demands to workers who provide entertainment or assist play. Platform game work has drawn an estimated seven million young workers into precarious employment during the past decade. The article outlines three interwoven features defining the fragmented control of platform game work: the crucial function of extra-platform intermediaries in regulating labour processes; the deployment of relationship labour in order matching and community management; and the mutual reinforcement of platform diversity and fast-moving platform architecture. These three features co-create a decentralised yet resilient structure organised by a network of platform and non-platform, human and machine agencies. Positioning platform game work in the broad spectrum of gig work, the article illuminates new modes of labour control and workers’ embedded agency, adding to the nascent literature on diverse labour regimes and subjectivities in the platform economy.
This article encourages critical discussion about the economic and social consequences of the war in Ukraine. This war has global effects in various dimensions of social life: energy policy, the environmental dimension, the economic sphere, and also the political atmosphere. In each of these dimensions, it poses a threat to sustainable development and the interests of the labour class in Europe. It attempts to change the balance of power in global geopolitics and also proves to be a useful cover for attempts to change the model of relations between employees and the state and business in many European countries. Due to the conflict in Ukraine and the ensuing calls for increased efforts to ‘ensure security’, Europe has turned towards a war economy in which the interests of the arms industry are more important than the interests of the working classes. The war in Ukraine has proved to be an excellent justification for governments to lower social standards and get rid of the remnants of the welfare state. From this perspective, the atmosphere of the New Cold War becomes a challenge for the labour movement, the global left and all progressive social circles.
The life and work of Pasinetti is overviewed by the founding scholar of computable economics, who observed this Italian economist’s formative years at Cambridge University. Folding in tributes from three further scholars, the obituary identifies Pasinetti’s contribution to capital theory, his view of the macro foundations of microeconomics, his focus on production rather than exchange, and his separation of theoretical and institutional economic analysis.