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Über dieses Buch

Growth, Employment, Inequality, and the Environment deals with the fundamental economic problems of our time: employment, inequality, the environment, and quality of life.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Scientific Knowledge Rules, Facts, and Standard Theories Refutation

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Popperian Epistemology in Economics: The Alpha-Beta Method

Why has the progress of scientific knowledge in economics proceeded at a pace that is slower than that of the natural sciences? A possible reason is the limitation of data, in quantity and quality; in addition, the instruments of measurement for the social phenomena are relatively imperfect. The other reason seems to rest upon the role of methodology in the construction of scientific knowledge in economics. Compared to physics, economics seeks to explain the functioning of the social world, which is a much more complex world than the physical world; one may then propose the principle that understanding more complex worlds, such as the social world, is more demanding on methodology than understanding the physical world.

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Chapter 2. The Capitalist System: Empirical Regularities

This book seeks to explain the economic process in the capitalist system, and therefore we need to know what are the facts to be explained. This chapter presents a set of empirical regularities about production and distribution in capitalist countries, which has been taken from the international literature.

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Chapter 3. Standard and Classical Economics

Several theories that seek to explain production and distribution in the capitalist society coexist in economics. Neoclassical, Keynesian, and classical theories constitute the most important ones. Are these theories able to explain the eight empirical regularities of capitalism presented in chapter 2? This chapter presents, first, the foundations of these theories, then follows short-run models and their empirical predictions, which are finally confronted against the relevant empirical regularities.

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The Short Run: Production, Employment, and Distribution

Frontmatter

Chapter 4. The Epsilon Society

Any economic theory that attempts to explain production and distribution in the First World countries must construct an abstract society in which two outcomes of the economic process are necessary. First, the labor market must always operate with unemployment. Second, there must be interplay between real and monetary variables. These constitute notable empirical regularities of the First World countries (Facts 1 and 4, as listed in chapter 2). This chapter presents a new abstract society—called epsilon society—with the intention of meeting those challenges.

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Chapter 5. The Omega Society

In Third World countries, workers who are out of wage employment are mostly engaged in self-employment. They produce goods and services in small units of production that are located in rural areas (in small farms), and in urban areas (in small shops, some of them on the streets). The income they make in these small units is, in general, lower than the average wage rate being paid in the labor market for similar skills, that is, self-employment implies underemployment. This is Fact 2 listed in chapter 2.

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Chapter 6. The Sigma Society

In epsilon and omega societies, individuals are homogeneous in every respect, except in their endowments of economic assets. Political entitlements are equally distributed between individuals; hence, these societies are socially homogeneous. Now consider a capitalist society in which political entitlements are unequally distributed leading to first-class and second-class citizens. This chapter will present an abstract heterogeneous capitalist society, called sigma society. This theory aims at explaining production and distribution in the Third World countries that have strong colonial legacy.

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Chapter 7. Inequality and Social Disorder

According to the epsilon, omega, and sigma models presented so far, production and distribution in capitalist societies are endogenously determined. Income inequality is thus an outcome of the economic process. An implicit assumption of these models was that the degree of inequality was always socially tolerable. Therefore, once static general equilibrium was reached, production and distribution could be repeated period after period under the same rules of the economic game, that is, the general equilibrium implied social order.

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Backmatter

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