Questions to and Answers from Andrej Goldman

John Walker asks: Andrej, You hated the economics you studied in college. Has the field improved since then, in your time?

The old texts still exist, and some people still use them. But there are now also new texts and new people teaching with them. The change has been away from arcane math toward realism, even in the abstract models. Those models now highlight bargaining power mediating exchange rates and in turn the distribution of claims on social product. Robin Hahnel’s work in 2017, trying to pass on to a new generation of economists a radical/revolutionary perspective rooted in Srafa more than in Marx, regarding excahnge rates, got things going.

Another big change has been realizing that economic activity produces not only vehicles and food, and other items and even services, but also changed workers, consumers, and even social relations, and to account for those effects, which are crucial for understanding the logic and impact of economic systems and choices.

Accompanying the above has been understanding that class can arise not only from property relations, but also from the corporate distribution of work tasks in society and then elevating attention to understanding the role of what we call the coordinator class in economics and society.

Finally, the assumption that for allocation there is only market competition or central planning or a combination of them is gone, and participatory planning gets major attention, not least because it is our future.

All this was beginning, however, in your time, so I am not telling you anything you couldn’t perceive yourself, there.