Preface [chapter]

1980 Institutional Economics  
THIS WORK is a survey of economics, done from the perspective of the institutional approach. This approach centers on ongoing process. How did we get this way? What are the influences which guide or control the economy as it evolves from a vaguely known past to an uncertain future in a process where ideas as to what is desirable are continually changing? This institutional view of the primary role of economics differs greatly from a conception, such as that of price theory and general
more » ... m analysis, oriented to demand and supply considerations in a context where it is assumed that the process to be analyzed is that by which the economy tends to a static (or steady-state growth) equilibrium and a welfare maximum and the motives of the participants are conceived to be a reflection of a personal psyche which is definitely given and oriented to monetarygain maximization. The implications of the institutional approach, viewed as an alternative to orthodox economics, are also contrasted with the implications of that better-known alternative: Marxism. There is also discussion of other nonorthodox, non-Marxist possibilitiessuch as underconsumption, the single tax, and Catholic economic doctrine-but justice is not done to such alternatives as "share the wealth," the Townsend Plan, or libertarianism. The argument of part I is to a considerable degree critical of these other approaches to economics, at least to the extent that these are alleged by their proponents to provide a satisfactory general theory around which all economic analysis can be oriented. The possible value of the insights of various of these theories for dealing with certain situations and problems is not denied. But their sponsors frequently try to make these theories carry too
doi:10.7560/770225-002 fatcat:apj6ddjuxvhgdfctjenucctzfm