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A study of the Marxist criticisms of The Cambridge school focusing on the issues of technology and technical change

Avenell, Simon (1983) A study of the Marxist criticisms of The Cambridge school focusing on the issues of technology and technical change. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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The constructive contributions of the Cambridge school to economic theory have been subject to criticisms from Marxist economists. This study is an attempt to identify, clarify and assess these criticisms. It is developed in three stages. First, the various Marxist criticisms of the Cambridge school are identified, discussed and classified. Second, to clarify the foundations of these criticisms and to allow subsequent comparison with work from the Cambridge school, some aspects of the Marxist literature on technology and technical change are examined. Third, the Cambridge school is subjected to scrutiny. Attention is given to both a methodological division within the Cambridge school and work by its members on technology and technical change.

The analysis and assessment made of and the Marxist criticisms in this study are founded on the view that interschool theoretical exchanges can take three distinct forms. One, simple points of difference can be identified. Two, the relevance and realism of the assumptions and basic vision of the structure and operation of the economy of a school can be brought into question. Three, the matters of logical and internal theoretical consistency can be raised. It is argued that the second and third areas of interschool exchange are the more significant. It is also observed that the Marxist criticisms under examination are concentrated in these two areas. However, the similarity of the Marxist and Cambridge school basic positions on the structure and operation of the capitalist economy is not fully appreciated by the Cambridge school's Marxist critics. The possibilities for a productive interschool dialogue have been underestimated. On one hand, the logical exercises carried out by members of the Cambridge school could well be of value to Marxists. On the other, the Marxist view of the history of the social relations of production points to a wide range of issues to which Cambridge school modelling techniques might be fruitfully applied.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Inquiry
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Thompson, Herb
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