The Case for Simplicity: a Paradigm for the Political Economy of the 21st Century

This constitutes my chapter in The New Value Controversy. It focuses on a reply to Laibman’s article in the same book, and disputes the notion of ‘linear’ forward progress in thought, arguing that in economics, the evolution of the subject is characterised by counterrevolutions in thought, rather than revolutions. As often as not, these take the form of a ‘sanitisation’ of the thinking of those who have made the revolutions, in order to avert the damaging social effects of any diagnoses that make clear the contradictory and transitory nature of the existing system. It is for this reason that the scientific researcher needs to interpret and understand writers from earlier times, whose revolutionary understanding has been ‘Whig Historically’ suppressed by the assumption of linear progress.