Seemingly different, but actually quite related five interesting reads:
Seemingly different, but actually quite related five interesting reads:
David Ricardo (1772 – 1823) was a prominent classical economist who gave systematized form to the rising discipline of economics, rightly termed then as political economy. The opening paragraph of his book On The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (1817) contributes to this endeavour and it also bears insights neglected by his professional successors:
“The produce of the earth—all that is derived from its surface by the united application of labour, machinery, and capital, is divided among three classes of the community; namely, the proprietor of the land, the owner of the stock or capital necessary for its cultivation, and the labourers by whose industry it is cultivated.
But in different stages of society, the proportions of the whole produce of the earth which will be allotted to each of these classes, under the names of rent, profit, and wages, will be essentially different; depending mainly on the actual fertility of the soil, on the accumulation of capital and population, and on the skill, ingenuity, and instruments employed in agriculture.
To determine the laws which regulate this distribution, is the principal problem in Political Economy.”
Especially interesting in this excerpt is Ricardo’s observation of four phenomena the understanding of which mostly vanished from current mainstream economics: the imminent class division (also spotted by Adam Smith), the difference between ‘finance capital’ and ‘real capital’ (firstly analyzed in 1910 by Rudolf Hilferding), the interdependence of economies and natural ecosystems, and the existence of various and changing socio-economic structures.
One could rightly say that these oversights are the key problem of mainstream economics.
An open access to the book: Ricardo, David. 1817. On The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation // See also: Friedrich Engels’ definition of Political Economy
Rittberger, Berthold and Jeremy Richardson. 2017. “What happens when we do not defend academic freedom.” Journal of European Public Policy (Published online: 18 April) DOI: 10.1080/13501763.2017.1316946
Share this post, and see also: What is academic freedom? // Public engagement is a moral obligation of social scientists
Dear ES/PE community member, see below an abundant list of great and interesting academic opportunities: 11 calls for papers for conferences and workshops, 7 calls for participation in summer schools for students and junior scholars, 5 post-doctoral and visiting positions, 2 job openings, and 2 doctoral fellowships in various topics in economic sociology and political economy, with April 20 – May 8 deadlines. Most of the conferences and summer schools are fully or partly funded. Share this post with your colleagues and students. Good luck!
Calls for Papers:
Post-doc and visiting positions:
Why has Germany become a country of tenants with a housing policy directed at private and public rental construction? On the other hand, why has the United States turned into a homeownership country? In an interesting article, Sebastian Kohl (University of Uppsala) tackles these questions, looking at the continuing impact of institutional legacies in determining the different trajectories of housing policies and patterns in the US and Germany and scrutinizing their origins and developments.
“Comparative welfare and production regime literature has so far neglected the considerable cross-country differences in the sphere of housing. The United States became a country of homeowners living in cities of single-family houses in the twentieth century. Its housing policy was focused on supporting private mortgage indebtedness with only residual public housing. Germany, on the contrary, remained a tenant-dominated country with cities of multi-unit buildings. Its housing policy has been focused on construction subsidies to non-profit housing associations and incentives for savings earmarked for financing housing. The article claims that these differences are the outcome of different housing institutions that had already emerged in the nineteenth century. Germany developed non-profit housing associations and financed housing through mortgage banks, both privileging the construction of rental apartments. In the United States, savings and loan associations favored mortgages for owner-occupied, single-family house construction. When governments intervened during housing crises in the 1920/1930s, they aimed their subsidies at these existing institutions. Thus, US housing policy became finance-biased in favor of savings and loan associations, while Germany supported the housing cooperatives.”
The article makes an important contributions by bringing the realm of housing into the field of comparative political economy by using explanatory approaches from historic institutionalism and connecting them to the crucial topic of varieties of financial systems.
Kohl, Sebastian. 2015. “The Power of Institutional Legacies: How Nineteenth Century Housing Associations Shaped Twentieth Century Housing Regime Differences between Germany and the United States.” European Journal of Sociology / Archives Européennes de Sociologie 56 (2): 271 – 306.
My experiences at Asian floating markets have included constant conversations between me and merchants, and thereafter between me and myself, such as: “How much is it?” — “How much do you want to give me?”, he replies. “How much was it worth?”, I was then wondering while sailing down the Mekong river, “Is it worth returning?” Think about this — these questions are essentially different. So, what are the relations between framing the value of something and determining its price?
Let us zoom out. Why do we entrust the market economy and economics with a task of (e)valuation of goods, deeds, benefits and costs? Studying economic history and critically reviewing accounting, business and economic writings and practices repeatedly demonstrate us how problematic and doubtful this approach could be. On the other hand, sociologists and anthropologists have been occupied mainly with understanding values such as those with a cultural or religious basis.
The insightful book Making Things Valuable (Oxford University Press, 2015), edited by Martin Kornberger, Lise Justesen, Anders Koed Madsen, and Jan Mouritsen, poses and tackles a core question: What if value is neither an intrinsic quality of an object, nor a reflection of a subjects preferences but rather something that is organized and brought into existence through mechanisms, technologies and practices of valuation?
The theoretical inspiration of this very interesting volume is interdisciplinary; it brings together scholars from economic sociology, organization studies, science and technology studies, and accounting with the aim of scrutinizing through which practices and processes things are made valuable. The argument arises from this book is that valuing should be understood as a plural activity where pricing things is just one way of signifying value. It supports a processual view of valuation that suggests moving the analytical gaze from things towards the network of elements and the evaluative infrastructure that makes them valuable. Socio-economic reality is constituted through different orders of worth that are grounded in the way people praise and prize things. The book’s chapters address the question of valuation theoretically and through empirical analyses of diverse objects of valuations, such as insurances, gold, university ranking lists, sport games, wind power, big data, and more.
Adding to the important work done within economic sociology during recent decades, this recommended volume contributes to, and stimulates, rethinking the common perception of (monetary) value and reexamining the dominant perspective of economistic valuation.
Now, back to my personal deliberation while I was amazed by the beauty and the misery of the markets in the Mekong Delta: “To have or not to have”, that was the question. The answer is that various goals and features embodied in valuation, this is not just about pricing or calculation.
“Money is not a “mere voucher for unspecified utilities”, which could be altered at will without any fundamental effect on the character of the price system as a struggle of man against man. “Money” is, rather, primarily a weapon in this struggle, and prices are expressions of the struggle; they are instruments of calculation only as estimated quantifications of relative chances in this struggle of interests.” (Max Weber)
Weber, Max. 1978. Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology. University of California Press. (p. 108)
Dear the ES/PE community members, see below an abundant list of great and interesting academic opportunities: 7 calls for papers for conferences, 6 job openings, 5 calls for summer schools for PhD students and junior scholars, 2 post-doctoral positions and 2 doctoral fellowships in various topics in economic sociology and political economy, with March 31–April 20 deadlines. Share this list with your colleagues and students. Good luck!
Calls for papers: