In building their profession around carefully selected interpretations of the work of Adam Smith, Alfred Marshall and others, mainstream economists have embraced such concepts as “the invisible hand”, “equilibrium”, “consumer rationality”, “the marginal productivity theory”, “the inevitability of diminishing returns”, and the fiction of “pure competition”. In contrast, “the evolutionary economics” of Thorstein Veblen and Clarence Ayres challenges all of these concepts as unproven and capable of telling us little or nothing about the actual operation of the economy.
Using the evolutionary framework, Human Progress Amid Resistance to Change argues that all cultures since prehistory have faced two opposing forces: technology, including human knowledge, and institutions rooted in ceremonialism. The former is dynamic, forward looking, accepting of change, cumulative (one discovery builds on another), and the major cause of human progress. The latter is static and consists of all customs, traditions, superstitions, rituals, ceremonies, taboos, and past binding religious beliefs that resist change. The book illustrates in detail how these competing forces have interacted throughout the history of the human race and how mainstream economics fails to grasp the significance of their combined effects.
|Author||Joseph E. Pluta|
“Human Progress….” is the best history of economic ideas since Robert Heilbroner’s “Worldly Philosophers”. This book is more thorough and more up to date. Best of all, it is beautifully written! Pluta is an accomplished scholar who writes for the general audience.
A thoroughly enjoyable and easy read. For anyone who would like a brief account of where different economic ideas originated, this book is a must! If you think Economics is boring, you’ll change your mind after reading this author. A beautiful piece of work!