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Economic Theory and Ideology based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
An introduction to economic issues, that is. In "Economic Theory and Ideology", Ben Fine compares Marxist political economics with its main competitors, the economic schools designated as neo-Ricardianism, the school of Sraffa, liberal neoclassical economics, Keynesian neoclassical economics and (Chicago) monetarists. Since this booklet is quite old, from 1980 to be precise, there are some outdated concepts in it. Fine for example still supports monopoly capital theory in this work and also talks about 'explaining the current depression'. But that need not distract too much from the main purpose. Fine discusses a great amount of economic issues where Marxism can be shown to be better than the alternatives, while at the same time taking care to describe those alternatives fairly and to compare them to each other as well. This book's great virtues are mainly its shortness and its first chapters, which introduce the intelligent reader in a simple but effective manner to the Marxist conception of capitalism. The last chapter is a good overview of the labor theory of value, although there are better ones. In between, we find discussions of Keynesianism, inflation theory, capital theory, world markets, credit and so on, and all this in under 150 pages of content - making it a fantastic primer for those already somewhat knowledgable about economics, but not about the Marxist view. It's not a book for everyone, though. Since Fine writes as succinctly as possible, he takes little time to expand upon or give examples for his explanation of concepts, so the learning curve can be steep. This goes in particular for the chapters detailing the Cambridge capital critique and inflation theory, which respectively assume a reasonable competence in mathematics and a familiarity with certain mainstream economic theories. These chapters may not be very useful for the intelligent layman, but the rest of the book certainly is. Therefore I mostly recommend it for people interested in economic theory who want a primer on why Marxist economics is superior to its competitors.