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Why Quantitative Marxism?

Freeman, Alan (1991): Why Quantitative Marxism?

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Abstract

This paper was presented at a special conference of the Conference of Socialist Economists (CSE, publishers of Capital and Class) in 1987, on the topic of Quantitative Marxism. This eventually gave rise to an edited collection (Dunne 1992) in which this paper was developed (Freeman 1992) into a fully-worked out empirical presentation of a set of national accounts in value terms for the UK economy.

The paper arose from the work of an international group established after the publication of Marx, Ricardo, Sraffa in 1984 to work on poverty in Europe. This led to work on the social wage which resulted in an unpublished chapter on the social wage in Germany, originally intended for Shaikh’s book on this question.

A number of themes in later work appear in it: a pluralist concept of discussion on National Accounts, which later matured into the ‘datapedia’ concept of data organisation on the one hand, and the pluralist approach to economics that first surfaced in my collaborative work with Andrew Kliman as ‘Beyond Talking the Talk’ (Freeman and Kliman 2005). There is an early discussion of circuits of revenue which deals specifically with social reproduction, and a detailed treatment of unproductive labour including interest and merchant’s capital.

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