Wednesday, January 29, 2014

David Ruccio — Anything but. . . [class]

Better it seems to me to focus our attention on the real sources of inequality in the United States. And that means we have to face the class questions straight on. Anything else is merely a distraction.
Real-World Economics Review Blog
Anything but. . .
David F. Ruccio | Professor of Economics University of Notre Dame Notre Dame


Matt Franko said...

So what is he asserting? Ignore income, but:

Eliminate monster truck rallies?

Outlaw professional wrestling?

Cant sell "Bud Light Lime" anymore?

no more tattoos? mullets?

This is pure out of control elite-ism and snobbery...

Tom Hickey said...

Actually, Ruccio is a Marxian economist. Marxian economists hold that economics is a social and political science, so failing to take sociological and political matters such as class structure and power structure into account vitiates the analysis. I think he is correct since these are key institutional factors. The atomistic model that mainstream economics uses, which ignores the complex web of cultural and institutional relationships in a society, is inadequate to the task of modeling a modern monetary production economy in which distribution is not solely determined by individual preferences in free markets but by social and political as well as economic factors. Removing these conceptually to simplify the model and make it conform to an ideological ideal is to oversimplify it for practical use.

Matt Franko said...


from my vantage point the Marxians are obsessed with this "class" issue... people are different... different likes and tastes... to each his/her own... as long as minimum incomes are adequate for all and there is truly equal opportunities then forget the "class" issue let people make their own decisions on lifestyles, etc... this could easily degrade into an elite snobbery and we could forget about the income issues which we can most easily deal with thru fiscal policy....


Tom Hickey said...

Sociological and psychological research belies that view, Matt. This is hardly new. C. Wright Mills's The Power Elite was published in 1956, for example. Mills was a professor of sociology at Columbia University.

While class, power, cultural and institutions are common fare in sociology, poll sci, and psych, and their study is not controversial, the class and power are taboo subjects in conventional economics, and cultural and institutional effects are minimized by conventional economics in favor of assuming atomism.

These are important factors in economics, especially for distribution when the upper class hods the wealth and power. Decisions that determine institutional arrangements are made at the top and imposed upon the rest.