John F. Henry
Working Paper No. 905 | May 2018
The Vested Interests, Limits to Reform, and the Meaning of Liberal DemocracyI subject some aspects of Roosevelt’s “New Deal” to critical analysis, with particular attention to what is termed “liberal democracy.” This analysis demonstrates the limits to reform, given the power of “vested interests” as articulated by Thorstein Veblen.
While progressive economists and others are generally favorably disposed toward the New Deal, a critical perspective casts doubt on the progressive nature of the various programs instituted during the Roosevelt administrations. The main constraint that limited the framing and operation of these programs was that of maintaining liberal democracy. The New Deal was shaped by the institutional forces then dominant in the United States, including the segregationist system of the South. In the end, vested interests dictated what transpired, but what did transpire required a modification of the understanding of liberal democracy.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 255 | October 1998
This paper argues that economists require a particular concept of time to develop theory with greater explanatory power in describing and analyzing the sort of economy in which we are primarily interested--the monetary economy usually termed capitalism. Economists of various persuasions have recognized the importance of a concept of time, but we argue that a very specific concept is required. We propose a concept of time that is consistent with the perception and experience of time in a monetary or capitalist economy. This concept of time is determined by the debt cycle, and the length of this cycle is determined by the interest rate. Thus, while our proposed time measure is certainly historical and sequential in nature (months, years), it is not simply clock time: the length of economic time is fluid and is regulated by the interest rate, a variable of significance in dictating a host of socially important effects.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):