General Problems

General Problems

Political Economy

1st Edition - January 1, 1963

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  • Author: Oskar Lange
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483148434

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Political Economy, Volume I: General Problems provides a systematic treatise on political economy. This book discusses the state of economic science and the course of economic development in different parts of the world. Organized into seven chapters, this volume begins with an overview of the social or political economy as the study of social laws governing the production and distribution of the material means of satisfying human needs. This text then examines the basic regularity encountered by political economy in its analysis of the social laws governing human economic activity, which is formed by the dependence of production relations on social productive forces. Other chapters consider the objective character of economic laws. This book discusses as well the concern of economic history in the development of concrete economic progress. The final chapter deals with the differences of opinions and interpretations in the development of science. Economists will find this book useful.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword to the First Polish Edition

    Foreword to the English Translation

    Chapter One. the Subject Matter of Political Economy. Elementary Concepts

    Human needs and means of satisfying them

    Production, labor

    Means of production and means of consumption

    Social nature of production and distribution

    Productive and non-productive labor (services)

    Economic relations

    Production relations and social productive forces

    Distribution relations and production relations

    Note on The Expression “Political Economy” and Related Terms

    Chapter Two. Modes of Production and Social Formations. The Materialist Interpretation of History

    Dependence of production relations on social productive forces

    Ownership of the means of production as basis of production relations

    Modes of production

    Antagonistic and non-antagonistic modes of production

    Law of necessary conformity between production relations and character of productive forces

    Social consciousness

    Concept of social formation. Base and superstructure

    Law of necessary conformity between superstructure and economic base

    Conservative character of social relations and social consciousness

    Dialectical processes in social development

    Social development in antagonistic formations: class struggle and social revolutions

    Classes and social strata

    Historical materialism

    Note On Some Formulations and On The Name of “The Materialist Interpretation of History”

    Chapter Three. Economic Laws

    General concept

    Laws of causation, concomitance and functional relationship

    Objective character of economic laws

    Economic laws and laws of political economy

    Stochastic (statistical) character of economic laws

    Technical and balance laws of production

    Laws of human behavior and laws of interplay of human actions

    Historical scope of economic laws

    Scope of technical and balance laws of production

    Laws specific ta given social formation

    Laws resulting from the influence of superstructure

    Mode of operation of social formation

    Basic economic law of a social formation

    Economic laws and dialectic social processes

    “Economic law of motion” of a social formation

    Spontaneity in operation of economic laws

    Socialism overcomes spontaneity of economic laws

    Economic laws under socialism

    Objective character and spontaneity of economic laws

    Dialectic processes in the socialist formation

    Socialist formation opens new epoch in human history

    Practical significance of knowledge of economic laws

    Chapter Four. The Method of Political Economy

    Political economy as a theoretical discipline

    Economic sciences, their subject matter and relations teach other

    Applied economics, its branches

    Political economy and economies of various social formations

    Political economy of pre-capitalist formations

    Political economy of socialism

    Role of abstraction in political economy

    Economic categories, laws of political economy and economic theories

    Historical basis of abstraction in political economy

    Abstractions in political economy and the concrete nature of economic processes

    Successive concretization of abstractions of political economy

    Marx’s “Capitalas” example of successive concretization

    Econometrics as an instrument in concretization of laws of political economy

    Verification of laws of political economy and economic theories

    Practical identification of economic categories

    Degree of agreement of laws and theories of political economy with the real economic process

    Statistical verification

    Modes of inference in political economy

    Role of deduction in political economy

    Axiomatization and formalization—role of mathematics in political economy

    Premisses in deduction are results of induction

    Reductive inference as instrument of verification

    Economic policy as the practical application of political economy

    Chapter Five. The Principle of Economic Rationality Political Economy and Praxiology

    Economic activity and technique

    Traditional character of economic activity in natural economy

    Separation of gainful activity from household activity in acommodity-money economy. Change in structure of ends of economic activity

    Rationality—the characteristic of gainful activity

    Quantification (measurability and commensurability) of the end and means of gainful activity. Category of profit

    Calculation and book-keeping in capitalist enterprises

    Maximization of profit—an economic necessity for a capitalist enterprise

    Principle of economic rationality as historical product of capitalist enterprise

    Planning of social economy—realization of social economic rationality

    Basic problems in social economic planning

    The method of social economic balances

    Praxiology—the science of rational activity

    Branches of scientific research belonging to praxiology: operations research and the science of programming

    The principles of programming

    Marginal calculus

    Linear programming

    Methodological links between political economy and praxiology

    Certain laws of political economy are conclusions deduced from praxiological principles of behavior

    Study of economic laws by deduction dependent on the rationality of economic activity

    The need to establish empirically the scope of the methodological knowledge applied in practice

    General appraisal of the significance of praxiology in the rationalization of economic activity

    Appendix: The Mathematical Foundations of Programming

    Chapter Six. The Subjectivist and The Historical Trend In Political Economy

    The Marxist and other trends in political economy. Their relation to classical political economy

    Subject matter of political economy according to the subjectivist conception: analysis of man’s relation to goods on the basis of the economic principle

    The concept of utility according to the subjectivist conception

    The separation of subjectivist economic theory from the problem of social relations

    The subjectivist trend and economic laws

    The transformation of economic laws into praxiological principles of behavior

    The role of exchange in subjectivist economic theory

    Subjectivist trend implies the liquidation of political economy

    Limited and historically conditioned scope of the economic principle

    Is there a striving for the maximization of utility in household activity?

    Factors working against the rationalization of household activity under capitalism

    Final assessment of the subjectivist trend

    Historical trend

    The theoretical character of political economy discarded

    Max Weber’s work in the light of the materialist interpretation of history

    Unhistorical nature of the methodological basis of the theories of Sombart and Max Weber

    Final assessment of the historical trend

    Chapter Seven. The Social Conditioning and The Social Role of Economic Science

    Two factors causing differences of opinion in science: internal dialectic of cognition and social

    Interest, material means and freedom from prejudice — social basis of scientific development

    The struggle of the bourgeoisie and lay intellectuals for the development of the natural sciences<

    Factors impeding natural sciences in the last phase of capitalism

    The origin and development of political economy connected with the capitalist mode of production

    Change in bourgeois attitude after the appearance of class conflict between proletariat and bourgeoisie

    The attitude of the bourgeoisie to political economy in the early period of capitalist development

    Political economy becomes a science of the proletariat

    Division of political economy into Marxist and bourgeois

    Achievements and development of the Marxist trend

    Bourgeoisie tends to liquidate political economy

    Historical trend — an expression of compromise of the German bourgeoisie with feudal elements

    Need for economic knowledge in the management of capitalist economy

    Practical needs of the bourgeoisie under monopoly capitalism

    Development and function of applied economic sciences and auxiliary sciences. Econometrics, social accounting, operations research, programming, cybernetics

    Influence of the Great Depression on bourgeois economic thought

    Keynes’ theory and theories of the business cycle

    Theory of economic growth—historical circumstances of its origin

    Petty bourgeois critique of capitalism

    Critique of monopoly capitalism by ideologists of the petty and middle bourgeoisie

    Professionalization of economic science

    Petty bourgeois and national bourgeois critique of imperialism

    The theory of imperfect competition

    Impossibility of complete liquidation of political economy by the bourgeoisie

    Full development of political economy only possible in connection with the labor movement

    Social conditions and the truth of scientific cognition

    Science and ideology

    Conservative, progressive and reactionary ideologies Compromise ideologies

    Social apperception and the mental horizon of social classes and strata

    Ideologies obscuring and ideologies revealing reality—their importance for scientific cognition

    Progressive ideologies as a stimulus in the development of political economy

    Class conditioning of the development of political economy

    Only the working class is interested in full scientific knowledge of economic laws

    The working-class movements struggle to purge its ideology of all elements obscuring reality

    Union with scientific socialism as the indispensable basis of the further development of economic

    Index of Names

    Subject Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 370
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Pergamon 1963
  • Published: January 1, 1963
  • Imprint: Pergamon
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483148434

About the Author

Oskar Lange

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