A History of Contemporary Political Economy and Postmodernism – download link

Review of Radical Political Economics, Volume 38, No. 4, Fall 2006, 499-518

© 2006 Union for Radical Political Economics
A History of Contemporary Political Economy and Postmodernism
Received March 23, 2004; accepted January 14, 2006

The study of the history of economic theory is entwined with nonneoclassical and especially Marxist political economic analyses, which relate the creation of an autonomous science of economic relations to the establishment of capitalism. Usually, the main agents in this interaction are social groups and especially social classes. Contrarily, neoclassical orthodoxy understands the history of economic theory as mere history of economic thought, a succession of personal contributions with limited relation to socioeconomic conditions. The relation between economy and economic theory is theorized through an asocial perspective, because social classes and politics are excluded and methodological individualism reigns. Recent postmodernist interpretations advance a historicist, relativist, politicist view. The reasons for creating an autonomous science of economic relations are to be found not in socioeconomic rela- tions but mainly in the field of the political. This article criticizes postmodernist interpretations from a Marxist perspective, rejecting them as historically unfounded and analytically infertile.




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