Dynamism, Rivalry, and the Surplus Economy: Two Essays on the Nature of Capitalism

ISBN : 9780199334766

Janos Kornai
208 Pages
163 x 237 mm
Pub date
Dec 2013
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In Dynamism, Rivalry, and the Surplus Economy, Janos Kornai examines capitalism as an economic system and in comparison to socialism. Kornai explains his view of capitalism as an economy of surplus-a chronic excess of supply of goods and labor. This environment breeds rivalry among producers, which in turn encourages innovation. Socialism, on the other hand, is defined by a shortage of goods and labor and excess of demand. Whereas socialism is slothful and imitative, capitalism is dynamic and progressive. The two essays of this book will explore these differing ideologies on macro and micro levels, ending with definitive explanations of how the systems work and how they develop.


List of Tables
List of Figures
First Essay: Innovation and Dynamism
1 Introduction
2 Capitalism, Socialism, and Technical Progress
2.1 Revolutionary new products
2.2 Following the pioneers, the diffusion of innovation
2.3 Innovative entrepreneurship under capitalism
2.4 The impossibility of innovative entrepreneurship under socialism
2.5 Political factors and technical progress
2.6 First summary: systems and technical progress
3 Transformation and the Acceleration of Technical Progress
3.1 New innovator entrepreneurs
3.2 The acceleration of follow-up and diffusion
3.3 Creative destruction
4 Reflection of Historical Reality in People's Minds
4.1 The basic phenomenon: lack of understanding
4.2 The responsibility of the economic profession
4.3 The responsibility of politicians
4.4 Interconnectivity and democracy
5 Concluding Remarks
Second Essay: Shortage Economy - Surplus Economy
1 Introduction
1.1 Impressions
1.2 A first approach to clarification of concepts
1.3 The place the approach taken in the essay occupies in economic discourse
1.4 An advance look at the bounds of the subject-matter and its structure
2 The Market for Goods and Services: The Mechanism for the Reproduction of Surplus
2.1 An example from economic history: the US telephone system
2.2 Supply-related processes
2.3 Demand-related processes
2.4 The pricing process
3 The Market for Products and Services: The Conceptual Apparatus and
Measurement Methods
3.1 " easily handled cases
3.2 The first difficulty: continual mutual adjustment of supply and demand
3.3 The second difficulty: parallel occurrences of excess supply and
excess demand
3.4 Diversion: observing the obstacles to and micro constraints on production
3.5 The third difficulty: distinguishing " from " stocks
3.6 The fourth difficulty: unjustified aggregation
3.7 Pragmatic suggestions for measurement and a conceptual apparatus
3.8 Formation of synthetic indicators or "
4 The Labor Market: The Mechanism for the Reproduction of Surplus
4.1 Conceptual clarification and measurement
4.2 The shock to the labor market caused by the change of system
4.3 " unemployment
4.4 Structural unemployment
4.5 Mismatched adjustment, frictional unemployment, and demand
4.6 The efficiency wage
5 A Summary of the Positive Description and Causal Analysis
5.1 The workability of the concept of "
5.2 Asymmetry
5.3 A summary account of the two demand-supply regimes
5.4 The generation of a surplus economy by the capitalist system: the causal chain
5.5 Genetic propensities
6 The Effect and Assessment of the Surplus Economy
6.1 A view of the effects and the value judgments
6.2 Innovation
6.3 The sovereignty and manipulation of the consumer
6.4 Productivity and coordination
6.5 Adaptation
6.6 Distribution of income and wealth
6.7 " and " values
6.8 The direction of corruption
6.9 The advantages and drawbacks of capitalist competition, through the example
of the automotive industry
6.10 A stand in favor of capitalism and the surplus economy
6.11 The scope for a theoretical synthesis and its constraints
6.12 The demand for mathematical models with explanatory force
7 Departures from the General Scheme
7.1 Fluctuations of the business cycle
7.2 The war economy
7.3 Historic changes and lasting tendencies in modern capitalism
8 A Personal Postscript

About the author: 

Professor of Economics Emeritus, Harvard University and Corvinus University of Budapest. www.kornai-janos.hu

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