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‘From Political Economy to Economics’ and Beyond

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Abstract Ben Fine and Dimitris Milonakis have done political economy a great service by drawing attention to the insights lost in the twists, turns and reductions in the transition from political economy to economics. These two volumes constitute a solid foundation upon which a new generation can build a political economy for the future. This review presses some of their meta-theoretical arguments a little further than they actually do in an attempt to ‘toughen-up’ the new political economy and make it more able to carry the fight to economics.

1. Archer Margaret Realist Social Theory: The Morphogenetic Approach 1995 Cambridge Cambridge University Press http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511557675
2. Archer Margaret Being Human: The Problem of Agency 2000 Cambridge Cambridge University Press http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511488733
3. Archer Margaret Structure, Agency and the Internal Conversation 2003 Cambridge Cambridge University Press http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139087315
4. Fallon Peter , Verry Donald The Economics of Labour Markets 1988 Oxford Phillip Allen
5. Fine Ben , Milonakis Dimitris From Economics Imperialism to Freakonomics: The Shifting Boundaries between Economics and Other Social Sciences 2009 London Routledge
6. Fleetwood Steve "‘The Inadequacy of Mainstream Theories of Trade Union Behaviour’" Labour 1999 Vol 13 2 445 480 http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9914.00103
7. Fleetwood Steve "‘What Kind of Theory is Marx’s Labour Theoryof Value?: A Critical Realist Inquiry’" Capital & Class 2001 Vol 73 41 77 http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/030981680107300104
8. Fleetwood Steve Brown Andrew , Fleetwood Steve , Roberts John Michael "‘What Kind of Theoryis Marx’s Labour Theoryof Value?: A Critical Realist Inquiry’" Critical Realism and Marxism 2002 London Routledge
9. Hughes John A. , Sharrock Wes W. The Philosophy of Social Research 1997 Third Edition London Longman
10. Jary David , Jary Julia Collins Dictionary of Sociology 1995 New York HarperCollins
11. Kandel Eugene , Lazear Edward P. "‘Peer Pressure and Partnerships’" Journal of Political Economy 1992 Vol 100 4 801 817 http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/261840
12. Katou Anastasia A. , Budhwar Pawan S. "‘Human Resource Management Systems and Organizational Performance: A Test of a Mediating Model in the Greek Manufacturing Context’" International Journal of Human Resource Management 2006 Vol 17 7 1223 1253 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09585190600756525
13. McConnell Campbell R. , Brue Stanley L. , Macpherson David Contemporary Labour Economics 2006 New York McGraw Hill
14. Milonakis Dimitris , Fine Ben From Political Economy to Economics: Method, the Social and the Historical in the Evolution of Economic Theory 2009 London Routledge
15. FN1 1. Cited as Milonakis and Fine 2009.
16. FN2 2. Cited as Fine and Milonakis 2009.
17. FN3 3. I follow Milonakis and Fine and use the term ‘economics’ to refer to mainstream, orthodox, or neoclassical economics only – i.e. not political economy or heterodox economics. I also use the term ‘social science’ to exclude economics.
18. FN4 4. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 2 and passim.
19. FN5 5. The term ‘meta-theory’ encapsulates philosophy of science, ontology, aetiology, epistemology and methodology. Quite often we use the term ‘methodology’ as an umbrella term, when we are not actually discussing method per sebut, say, causality or ontology.
20. FN6 6. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 203.
21. FN7 7. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 30.
22. FN8 8. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 91.
23. FN9 9. Milonakis and Fine 2009, pp. 96–7.
24. FN10 10. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 102.
25. FN11 11. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 107.
26. FN12 12. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 108.
27. FN13 13. Ibid.
28. FN14 14. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 98.
29. FN15 15. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 127.
30. FN16 16. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 129.
31. FN17 17. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 184.
32. FN18 18. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 193.
33. FN19 19. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 194.
34. FN20 20. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 222.
35. FN21 21. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 257.
36. FN22 22. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 112.
37. FN23 23. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 179.
38. FN24 24. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 281.
39. FN25 25. Fine and Milonakis 2009, p. 125.
40. FN26 26. Fine and Milonakis 2009, p. 162.
41. FN27 27. Fine and Milonakis 2009, p. 83.
42. FN28 28. Fine and Milonakis 2009, p. 85.
43. FN29 29. Fine and Milonakis 2009, p. 86.
44. FN30 30. Fine and Milonakis 2009, p. 96.
45. FN31 31. Fine and Milonakis 2009, p. 107.
46. FN32 32. Ibid.
47. FN33 33. Fine and Milonakis 2009, p. 137.
48. FN34 34. Fine and Milonakis 2009, p. 131.
49. FN35 35. Fine and Milonakis 2009, p. 130.
50. FN36 36. Fine and Milonakis 2009, p. 147.
51. FN37 37. Fine and Milonakis 2009, p. 145.
52. FN38 38. Jary and Jary (eds.) 1995.
53. FN39 39. Hughes and Sharrock 1997, p. 208.
54. FN40 40. Fine and Milonakis 2009, p. 108.
55. FN41 41. Fallon and Verry 1988, p. ix.
56. FN42 42. McConnell, Brue and Macpherson 2006, p. 3.
57. FN43 43. Fleetwood 1999.
58. FN44 44. Katou and Budhwar 2006, p. 1243. Note that the technical ability of Katou and Budhwar is not being criticised here.
59. FN45 45. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 16.
60. FN46 46. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 22.
61. FN47 47. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 35.
62. FN48 48. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 36.
63. FN49 49. Ibid.
64. FN50 50. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 37.
65. FN51 51. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 283.
66. FN52 52. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 86.
67. FN53 53. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 112.
68. FN54 54. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 179.
69. FN55 55. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 199.
70. FN56 56. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 252.
71. FN57 57. Milonakis and Fine 2009, p. 109.
72. FN58 58. Fine and Milonakis 2009, p. 4.
73. FN59 59. It is often thought that Marx’s dialectical method of presentation (which builds upon the method of analysis), as it moves from the abstract to the concrete, is a method of successive approximation. Much clearly depends upon how these concepts are understood and defined. Economists claim to use a method of successive approximation, where assumptions are gradually relaxed and the theory moves, via successive increments, to ever closer approximations to reality. In truth, however, these incremental shifts never become closer approximations to reality – indeed, it is usually the case that more (fictitious) assumptions are added in as the theory gets more complex. I have described this elsewhere as better understood as a method of successive closuresor of successive fictionalisations(Fleetwood 2001, reprinted as Fleetwood 2002). Marx’s method, by contrast, does not rely on unrealistic assumptions at any stage of the process, has no ‘gap’ to close, with successive approximations. Indeed, the move from the abstract to the concrete is not one from irreality to reality: the abstract is realistic.
74. FN60 60. Kandel and Lazear 1992, pp. 803–14.
75. FN61 61. Fine and Milonakis 2009, p. 58.
76. FN62 62. Fine and Milonakis 2009, p. 65.
77. FN63 63. Ibid.
78. FN64 64. Fine and Milonakis 2009, p. 63.
79. FN65 65. Fine and Milonakis 2009, pp. 60–3.
80. FN66 66. Fine and Milonakis 2009, p. 64.
81. FN67 67. Fine and Milonakis 2009, p. 253.
82. FN68 68. Fine and Milonakis 2009, p. 156.
83. FN69 69. Fine and Milonakis 2009, p. 154.
84. FN70 70. If I were to single one such critical realist theorist for special attention, it would have to be Margaret Archer (Archer 1995, 2000, and 2003).
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/content/journals/10.1163/1569206x-12341258
2012-01-01
2015-08-28

Affiliations: 1: University of the West of England steve.fleetwood@uwe.ac.uk

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