A Critique of Neoclassical Macroeconomics by John Weeks (auth.)

By John Weeks (auth.)

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Extra resources for A Critique of Neoclassical Macroeconomics

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The basic difficulty- and source of endless confusion - is that in the synthesis model it is not possible to speak of income without simultaneously meaning output, for they are the same thing. Not even in theory can one separate the pure tautology from the theoretic behavioural definition. This limitation becomes even more serious further along in our investigation when we discover that the behavioural definition is consistent only in equilibrium. The result is an equilibrium solution in which the key behavioural relationship, the clearing of the labour market, is indistinguishable from a tautology.

The level of employment is determined by notional demand and supply curves, so a rise in the wage can only be the result of workers reducing their notional supply of labour (holding the notional demand curve constant). This is a powerful political and ideological message: changes in the level of employment are the result of the work-leisure preferences of workers, not of any systemic malfunctions of the system of production and circulation. Such a conclusion is inherent in the one commodity model, and one needs none of the abstract-ideal assumptions governing the labour market to achieve it, nor any mathematical specifications of equilibrium conditions.

When money is introduced this practice will not be justified. The Neoclassical Model with a Supply Side 29 With terms clear, consider the situation in which the commodity wage is momentarily above the equilibrium level, w(o) > w(e). At such a wage the supply exceeds the demand, with employment set by the latter. Were this wage to prevail, y would be determined below y(e), and the interest rate would adjust to equilibrate i and s. In the synthesis model, a situation in which l(s) > l(d) results in a fall in the wage.

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