No One Makes You Shop at Wal-Mart
Source Max Sawicky
Date 08/05/29/11:37

I'm practically done with this book (by Tom Slee,
who also has a web site, not exactly a blog --

I started it after despairing of getting through Sam Bowles'
Microeconomics as subway reading. For Bowles you need --
I need -- to be sitting at my desk with a yellow pad and some
sharp pencils. But the themes are substantially the same.
Curiously Slee never cites Bowles, though he does acknowledge
debts to a host of others. For someone doing an avant-garde
micro course, Slee's book would be of great value.

In both cases what neo-classicals call market failure is
ubiquitous. There is strategic interaction that results in
multiple and inferior equilibria, externalites with prohibitive
costs of bargaining, decreasing costs, etc.

The Bowles approach like 'new behavioral economics' strikes
me as still deeply wedded to n-c methodology. We still have utility
functions, and optimization, albeit with interaction, externality,
and limited information. Since I have a weakness for n-c micro
the elaborations seem relevant as well, though not necessarily
the only valid approach.

Seems to me that the radical criticism of n-c micro dwells on
its failure as behavioral prediction. But the idealized models
are also taken as a framework for optimized plans by a
benevolent authority. It's true that those results are then
taken to be reachable via competitive markets (sic), but that's
a separate -- laughable -- matter.

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