By Michael C. Carroll (auth.)
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Extra resources for A Future of Capitalism: The Economic Vision of Robert Heilbroner
Blatant ideology refers to the 'lying on behalf of an idea or an interest' (Heilbroner 1988a, 186). But not all ideology is blatant. What Heilbroner finds interesting is ideology which is of a more subtle form. It silently creeps into our analysis unwittingly. Let me offer an example from Heilbroner's Behind the Veil: Robert E. Lucas, a well-known conservative theorist, makes this reply to the question of whether governments do not try to resolve social injustice: 'That wouldn't be anything like my view.
In Heilbroner's words, 'Once it is recognized that the research object of economics is intrinsically historical in its nature, any attempt to describe its fundamental elements shorn of this historical awareness can only obscure, rather than illuminate, its essential properties' (Heilbroner 1987, 116). One way to illustrate how important social and historical factors are to Heilbroner's critique of traditional theory is to see what he finds wrong with traditional economic education. He questions whether students who are subjected to the study of marginal productivity, elasticities, and monetary theory are actually better off for the experience?
As the economic time horizon expands, the traditional motivational patterns no longer produce orderly behavioural patterns. The neoclassical model breaks down. The changes in the intrasystemic variables are influenced by the system-generated changes in institutional fabric which in tum changes the motivational patterns of the micro-units. (1959) to Visions (1995) they all show considerable sensitivity to Lowe's work. Heilbroner's very definition of the role of economics carries a distinct influence of Lowe.