First published in 1990, this is an analysis of the history of western economics from Petty to Supply-Side, through the prism of the controversies over productive labour and its product. It treats the early economists’ "productive-unproductive" dichotomies as shorthands for many other sets of distinctions relevant for boundaries, value and welfare. Central to the debates is the question of whether the economy is said to generate a ‘surplus’. Economists and politicians with views on these matters include the Physiocrats, Smith and Ricardo, Marx and his Soviet and western admirers, the marginalists, Keynes, Polanyi, Becker, and Reagan. The book maps the shifting emphases that economists and social thinkers have placed on markets and ‘mode’ of production generally. This reissue will be useful to students of economic thought, welfare theory and policy, growth economics and economic systems.
Table of Contents
Preface by Samuel Hollander; Acknowledgements; 1. Introduction: Productive labor and its product; Part I: Rise and Decline of the Classical-Marxian Surplus and Transfer Theory 2. Early views of production, surplus-generation, and transfer 3. Division of labor and unproductive labor in a system of natural liberty: Adam Smith’s dilemma 4. Immaterial production from Garnier to Mill 5. Mode and matter in Marx: the factory paradigm and the scope of the base; Part II: In a New Mode 6. Materiality and non-productivity under mixed socialism in the USSR; Part III: Revisions and Extensions 7. Old Left and New Right on government as parasite 8. Drawing the boundary: the main variants 9. Necessity without materiality, materiality without fallacy 10. Results, not inputs; Notes on notes, terms and translations; Bibliography; Index