Course: ECON 3243 – Comparative Heterodox Theories of Value, Price, Distribution, and Growth

This semester I will be teaching an undergraduate course in the Economics Department at The University of Tulsa called ‘ECON 3243: Comparative Heterodox Theories of Value, Price, Distribution, and Growth’.  We put this course on the books and in our curriculum to provide our majors and other interested students with the theoretical traditions in heterodox economic theory as part of our effort to make the Economics Major at Tulsa broad and deep.

Previously the course used a hodgepodge of books including Pasinetti (1977),  Foley & Michl (1999) and Kurz & Salvadori (1995).  Of course since this is an undergraduate course it was accompanied by many (often handwritten) lecture notes and original powerpoint slide shows. As interesting as these books are, it is not the rigor that works against them in terms of continued use for an undergraduate course but rather the fact they are dated.

Which is why when the new book by Anwar Shaikh (2016) entitled Capitalism came out, well I immediately thought of adopting it for this course.  And after reading and working through portions of it, I have decided to do exactly that.  The course begins August 23 and goes through the fall semester.

Professor Shaikh and his colleagues have created a very thorough website for the book.  It is at www.RealECon.org .  There you can find all sorts of information, including a discount code for an already inexpensive book, chapter-by-chapter video streamed lectures by Anwar, and all of the data.  Also you will find a forum for my course here:

http://realecon.org/threads/prof-carters-course-comparative-heterodox-theories-of-value-price-distribution-and-growth/

I am in the process of writing the syllabus and the plan is to cover at least ten chapters.

Chapter 1 of the book is an introduction that summarizes the content of the subsequent chapters.  Accordingly students are to read and re-read that Introduction and follow it along as we work through the individual chapters,  We plan to keep it simple and do a chapter every week or so. The tentative outline is:

  • Chapter  1 – read throughout semester
  • Chapters 2 though 10
  • Chapter 12 and as far as we can get after that (13, 14, and 15 would be ideal)

Everyone is welcome to keep up with the chapter readings and participate in the discussion.  I will of course not require my students to take part in such a public forum but will encourage them to do so, and certainly will have them follow any posts and discussion threads that may come about.

As part of teaching the course, powerpoint slide shows will be made as well as assignments and exams, all of which will be made available to anyone interested, including professors who may want to send their own students to the site.

Like Professor Shaikh’s new book, we are embarking on new terrain here.  Ideally we can try and get a ‘global dialogue’ for anyone serious about following through the book this semester.

One final disclaimer: all of the material that I post is my own responsibility, although it will be based of course on Shaikh’s book.  No doubt there will be some bugs to work out as we move forward but in all this endeavor is very exciting and it will be interesting to see where it all goes and how it all unfolds.

 

References

  • Foley, D. & Michl, T. (1999). Growth and Distribution. Harvard University Press
  • Kurz, H. & Salvadori, N. (1995). Theory of Production: A Long Period Analysis. Cambridge University Press
  • Pasinetti, L. (1977). Lectures on the Theory of Production. Columbia University Press.
  • Shaikh, A. (2016). Capitalism: Competition, Conflict, Crisis. Oxford University Press.

Welcome to Heretical Sraffa

Welcome to my blog, Heretical Sraffa: Furtive Thoughts on Economics and Economic Theory.  Just a bit about myself.  My name is Scott Carter and I received the PhD in Economics from The New School for Social Research after having studied there in the 1990s and early 2000’s.  My current position is Associate Professor of Economics at The University of Tulsa (TU).  Our department at TU is undergraduate only and we strive to provide majors with deep and broad approach to economic theory. Accordingly in our department neoclassical and mainstream theory is taught alongside ecological, environmental, and heterodox theories. Graduates leave prepared (hopefully) for graduate work and/or work in the public and private sectors.

I am also a member of the Steering Committee for the Union for Radical Political Economics (URPE).  URPE is a great resource for heterodox-leaning economists and has a rich history;  in 2018 we approach 50 years of scholarship, research, pedagogy, and organizing around Radical Political Economics. One of the areas that we have been active in lately is to organize whole sessions of URPE panels at various professional academic conferences: the ASSA (URPE@ASSA; a presence we have had since the late 1960s), the Eastern Economics Association (URPE@EEA which we have organized for a decade, the last program being here) , and now the Southern Economics Association (URPE@SEA which this November enters its second year; note I will get to people the upcoming URPE@SEA program soon).

My research interests concern Marxian political economy and the economic theory of Piero Sraffa; here is a nice intellectual-biographic article on Sraffa written by Alessandro Roncaglia.  Notice I did not say ‘Sraffian’ because these days that connotes its own approach to Sraffa. My approach is different, although not necessarily incompatible, with many of the approaches to Sraffa that abound, including the orthodox Sraffian.  So to be as to as clear as possible that these postings, musings, and analyses of Sraffa and related themes are my own, the moniker ‘Heretical Sraffa’ dons this blog.

My primary research interest concerns the unpublished archival notes of Piero Sraffa.  I am especially interested in the Sraffa’s notes on his book, Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities: Prelude to a Critique of Economic Theory. These notes are archived according to the original Trinity convention as D3/12 and consist of 115 files of mostly handwritten material.  There will be a plethora of such posts on Sraffa’s archival material over the course of this blog.

I addition to this blog there is my account at the twitter handle Scott Carter@HereticalSraffa.