1st Edition

Transaction Economics of John R. Commons Toward Reasonable Capitalism

By Shingo Takahashi Copyright 2025
    190 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Takahashi reconstructs the key blocks of one of the founders of the Institutional school, John R. Commons’ theories of the evolution of capitalism and of institutional change by taking the concept of transaction as a central point of departure.

    Commons’ theories continue to influence modern economics and in this book, Takahashi scrutinizes his construction of transaction and its features and offers a reinterpretation of Commons’ institutional economics and transaction economics. He then explores how Commons’ analysis of going concerns (e.g. firms) has broader and deeper applications that extends to monetary policy, labour policy, and the business cycle. Takahashi examines how Commons and Veblen’s dynamic theories share cumulative causation. He closes by positing that Commons’ transaction economics seeks “reasonable capitalism” through a virtuous cycle of reasonable value and generation of good business ethics.

    This book will be attractive to researchers of institutional economics, political economy, heterodox economics, as well as the history of economic thought, law and ethics.





    PART Ⅰ   Institution

    1.     Theory of transactions: the base of transaction economics of John R. Commons


    2.     Theory of going concern: organization and institution


    PART Ⅱ   Basis of cumulative causation: markets and business organizations

    3.     Pricing theory: pricing by scarcity, abundance, and stabilization

    4.     Business cycle theory: expectations and cumulative causation


    PART Ⅲ   Stabilization policy: role of the state

    5.     Futurity and monetary policy: money and credit management

    6.     Labor theory and labor policy: labor problems and social security


    PART Ⅳ   Reasonable capitalism

    7.     Theory of reasonable value: rationing transactions and institutional adjustment


    8.     Commons’ transaction economics and new institutional economics: markets, organizations, and state


    9.     The potential of Commons’ transaction economics: cumulative legal causation towards reasonable capitalism




    Shingo Takahashi is a professor at the Tokyo College of Transport Studies in Japan. He has taught economics and the history of economic thought and has studied the institutional economics of John R. Commons for more than twenty years.