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Über dieses Buch

An updated revisting of the themes of Robin Marris' classic The Economic Theory of Managerial Capitalism (1964). This was widely recognised as pathbreaking as it was the first attempt by a professional economist to make a formal theory of the behaviour and growth of a large-scale 'managerial' corporation based on a realistic assessment of the sociological and institutional environment. The model determined the long-run growth rates of individual firms on the basis of the financial and market environment on the one hand and the needs, interest and aspirations of both managers and shareholders on the other. Managers in particular were shown to trade desire for growth against fear of takeover. These then novel important features of modern capitalism - mergers, takeovers and executive bonuses and the relationship between the growth of firms and the growth of the economy - have become increasingly topical. The book contains the original introduction along with reworked and updated coverage of the theoretical model, along with completely new chapters both of micro-theory and Marris' substantive response to the debate which the original book created.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

1. The Institutional Framework

Abstract
Two forms of property appear, one above the other, related but not the same. At the bottom is the physical property itself, still immobile, still there, still demanding the service of human beings, managers and operators. Related to this is a set of tokens, passing from hand to hand, liquid to a degree, requiring little or no human attention, which attain an actual value in exchange or market price only in part dependent on the underlying property … A first-rate manager would not increase the values of the properties were they to be sold; but he will increase the value of tokens representing that property. A poor management will have the opposite result. (Berle and Means, 1932)1
Robin Marris

2. Motives and Morals

Abstract
We believe the arguments of Chapter 1 are sufficient to establish that, in the modern system, management has considerable freedom of action. Shareholders may impose minimum constraints on, for example, investment policy, but there is no evidence that general equilibrium of the system requires these minima to become maxima. Most of the relevant markets are imperfect, and in one case, that of the capital market, this is a critical factor in the intracorporate balance of power itself. In some cases, notably those of the markets for manual labour and for products, the resulting problems have been studied intensively by both economists and sociologists, but this work has not been matched by equivalent work in relation to management. Economists have investigated management attitudes to particular problems, such as price determination and, more recently, investment policy, but there exists not one comprehensive or rigorous study of the basic motivational forces determining business decisions in general.
Robin Marris

3. Concepts and Methods

Abstract
Having, as I hope, set our stage, I now attempt to characterize the players. We must also explain the language they are to speak and the meaning of some of their clothes. We have discussed at length the economicoinstitutional environment of the modern corporation and the possible motives of the managers. Both require to be dressed for operationality. We have suggested that managers may derive utility from growth, but what does this in measurable economic terms? And if ‘the firm’ is no longer regarded as a chattel of proprietors, how is it to be regarded?
Robin Marris

4. ‘Demand’

Abstract
We have seen that, in order to sustain growth, a firm must either create new products, enter existing markets it has previously ignored, or merge. The first two methods are called ‘growth by diversification’, and the third, ‘growth by merger’. These, as we have seen, are related, ‘growth by merger’ often representing no more than a means of overcoming dynamic organizational restraints on growth by diversification. In this chapter we are concerned with the dynamics of growth by diversification. We are concerned, that is, with the relationship between the rate of growth of the productive capacity required if there is to be no trend (in either direction) in the level of capacity utilization. In essence, the problem is one of policy; we are asking how certain variables within the control of the firm, such as price policy, diversification policy, research and development expenditure, and selling expenditure, react on the endogenous variables that feature in the conditions for sustainable growth. How do the policy variables affect the growth rate of the quantum of demand for the firm’ s products; and how do they react on such factors as rate of return, which govern the growth rate of the firm’s supply of capital?
Robin Marris

5. Managerial Theories of the Firm

Abstract
In the original book, Chapter 5 was calledSupply’, Chapter 6, ‘Complete Micro Models’, and Chapter 7, ‘Behaviour and Evidence’. The first two of these, taken together, closed the model based on the general assumptions described in the preceding chapters. The third was concerned with empirical testing and also with the question of maximizing versus satisficing behaviour, or what would now be called the debate over bounded rationality.
Robin Marris

6. The Completed Micro Model

Abstract
In order to grow, a firm must have finance. To increase demand for its products and services it must finance the costs of growth as they were described in Chapters 3 and 4. To undertake increased production to meet the increased demands that it has created, it must have new capacity: that is, investment. The original Chapter 5 was therefore titled ‘Supply’, because it was essentially concerned with the supply of finance. The original Chapter 6, which brought ‘Demand’ and ‘Supply’ together — in the sense of balancing the profitable growth of demand with the financable growth of capacity — was called ‘Complete Micro Models’, but the plural was a mistake: there was basically only one model. In this new chapter I set out the bare bones of that model, removing unncessary complexities, but maintaining the basic economic assumptions.
Robin Marris

7. Behaviour and Evidence

Abstract
Here follow, only lightly edited, the first ten pages of the old Chapter 7: ‘Behaviour and Evidence’. The remaining pages, concerned with empirical evidence, have been deleted in favour of the discussion of that topic now found in the new Chapter 5 — ‘Managerial Theories of the Firm’, above. By ‘behaviourismin economics I refer explicitly to the body of ideas founded by Herbert Simon, which are now perhaps more widely termed ‘bounded rationality’. By ‘satisficingI referred to a particular class of models that Herbert Simon suggested in the second half of the 1950s, 1 where, rather than attempting to find an optimum or maximizing solution to a complex problem, the subject undertakes an heuristic search effort only until she or he has found a solution that isgood enough’. The original text, written around 1961, follows. Although I stand by the critique I wrote then, and although I think I was one of the earliest economists to recognize publicly the richness of Simons ideas, I believe now that I also still failed to appreciate the full power of bounded rationality over the whole of economics. The 1978 Nobel electors were more perceptive.
Robin Marris

8. Possible Macro Implications

Abstract
The purpose of the final chapter of the original book was to attempt to make useful suggestions for the reconstruction of then-contemporary post-Keynesian growth economics, based on what would now be called the microfoundations of the theory set out in the preceding chapters. The result, though seemingly clearly written, was complex and is not reproduced here with the suggestion that now-contemporary readers should attempt to trace the detail of its logic. Similarly, modern readers may find the 1950s/1960s theoretical context now has the flavour of the history of thought. No, the purpose of reproducing the chapter in full is to give a broader picture of the environment in which I saw managerial capitalism and also because, as already discussed in the new Introduction, buried in the argument are seeds of the idea of ‘endogenousgrowth.1
Robin Marris

Backmatter

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