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Varieties of Capitalism from the Perspectives of Veblen and Marx

Опубликовано на портале: 19-01-2007
Journal of Economic Issues. 1995.  Vol. 29. No. 2. P. 575-584. 
This article focuses on the varieties of capitalism from the perspectives of the economists Thorstein Veblen and Karl Marx. In contrast to the classical and neoclassical economists, Marx held that ahistorical categories such as "utility," "choice," and "scarcity" cannot capture the essential features of a specific economic system. Accordingly, Marx argues that core analytical categories should be abstract expressions of real and specific social relations. Marx contends that several types of economic system have existed including feudalism, capitalism, and socialism. Capital is not about economic systems in general, nor even socialism, but the capitalist mode of production. Although sympathetic to Marx's analysis of capitalism, Veblen notes that it fails to connect the actor with the specific structure and thereby to explain human motivation and action. Veblen suggests that the class position of an individual as a wage laborer or a capitalist tells us very little about the specific conceptions or habits of thought of the individuals involved.
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