Heilbroner brief notes on heilbroner, marx, schumpeter and keynes' points of view on capitalism

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Published on 16 Oct 2011
School
York University
Department
Social Science
Course
SOSC 1000
Professor
HEILBRONER (71-118) ( presentation on November 10th)
1. What are the principal features of a market system?
2. Why do critics claim “a society whose economic activities are ruled by the
market will be an attentive servant of the rich, but a deaf bystander to the
poor”? (pg 86)
3. What are the primary problems Heilbroner sees for capitalism in the
future?
4. Do you believe human beings are creatures of insatiable appetites? (pg76-
77)
5. What linkages can you make between Heilbroner and the current
recession?
Answers:
1. The market system is the principal means of binding and coordinating the
whole. But markets are not the source of capitalism’s energies nor of its
distinctive bifurcation of authority. Markets are the conduits through which
the energies of the system flow, and the mechanism by which the private
realm can organize its tasks without the direct intervention of the public
realm. The market system is visible in the form of corporate manoeuvres or
garish advertising. The market system is highly decentralised. The paradox
of markets is not that they bring order out of a universe of individuals
seeking only to “augment their fortunes”. The first function of a market
system is to allocate labour to those tasks that society wants filled. Indeed,
a market system cannot exist if there are barriers that prevent this self-
motivated channelling of labour power, which is why one cannot have such
a system in a society of slaves, serfs or centrally allocated labour.
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Document Summary

Answers: the market system is the principal means of binding and coordinating the whole. But markets are not the source of capitalism"s energies nor of its distinctive bifurcation of authority. Markets are the conduits through which the energies of the system flow, and the mechanism by which the private realm can organize its tasks without the direct intervention of the public realm. The market system is visible in the form of corporate manoeuvres or garish advertising. The paradox of markets is not that they bring order out of a universe of individuals seeking only to augment their fortunes . The first function of a market system is to allocate labour to those tasks that society wants filled. Indeed, a market system cannot exist if there are barriers that prevent this self- motivated channelling of labour power, which is why one cannot have such a system in a society of slaves, serfs or centrally allocated labour.