twentiethcentury. This view held that society could
be designed and shaped according to rational, scientific criteria by
experts and elites, usually with the backing of the state.7 It is the
ideology that underpins an econocracy.
Instead, authority and power must start with the broader citizenry
and be delegated to particular experts on the basis of an explicit
agreement. The public retain oversight and control through a parliament or some other method, have an ongoing critical relationship
with those with delegated authority, and have the real option to
long periods. This narrative tends to portray the 1920s as the watershed moment
when the ‘nineteenth century “producer ethic” –an ethos of restraint, thrift,
and work, arising from conditions of scarcity –was surpassed by a twentiethcentury “consumer ethic” that took abundance for granted and found expression
in lifestyles of release, therapeutic indulgence, and fun’ (Calder, 2013:357).
Working alongside this ‘myth of lost economic virtue’, as mentioned in the
previous section and typified by the work of Galbraith, Tucker and Bell who insist
on a slide from
Open systems and regional innovation: the
resurgence of Route 128 in Massachusetts
Michael H. Best
The Boston area has the highest concentration of colleges and universities,
research institutes and hospitals of any place in the world. The plethora
of graduate research programmes suggested that the industrial future of
Massachusetts was secure in the emerging knowledge economy of the late
However, the research intensity of the region has not insulated the state
from the vicissitudes of the business cycle. For example, after
, narrow style of modelling, economics became a
consolidated formal framework. As the economist Mark Blaug has
put it, economists developed an ‘absolute preference for the form of
an economic argument over its content’.30 Most economists spoke a
common language and used a common set of tools. Those who didn’t
were increasingly pushed to the fringes.
The cleansing of economics departments31
The development of economics in the early twentiethcentury led to a
neoclassical ‘mainstream’ developing, but the situation that students
of economics face now – where they are only
regulation and the non-formal norms of competition occurring in relatively stable, often quite long-term, market formations.
To illustrate this multi-dimensionality, and the process of de-institution and
re-institution of different forms of competition, discussion now turns to the
effects of the changes in the UK food retailing market.
UK supermarkets and changing forms of competition19
During the course of the twentiethcentury, UK multiple retailers have
grown from having roughly ten per cent of the market share of the food
market to over 85 per cent. In a first phase
.8 However, for most, frugality was not
the focus, and indeed only really reoccurred in the early twentiethcentury
when concerns were voiced at the annual meeting in London about the levels
of consumption in modern life (Michaelis, 2008:101). Since then, Quaker thrift
has often been oriented around ethical consumption and responsible ecological
behaviour, and is often these beliefs that the ‘testimony of simplicity’ taps into
today. Coleman and Collins found Quaker members to be familiar with parts
of Quaker Faith and Practice such as ‘Try to live simply. A
member states in accepting
the new Treaty showed that changes to the Treaties were a painful process
that produced significant resistance. The President of the Commission, José
Manuel Barroso, articulating the climate of the first decade of the new century
in November 2004, stressed that he would not seek to change the existing
situation, but to consolidate it, so that the institutional framework would
Reform fatigue prevailed in the Union, contrary to the activism of the last
decade of the twentiethcentury. There were various reasons for this. The
On the complexities and limits
of market organisation
Richard R. Nelson
The close of the twentiethcentury saw a virtual canonisation of markets as
the best, indeed the only really effective, way to govern an economic system.
The market organisation being canonised was simple and pure, along the
lines of the standard textbook model in economics. For-profit firms are
the vehicle of production and provision. Given what suppliers offer, free
choice on the part of customers, who decide on the basis of their own knowledge and preferences where to spend
politics and society after the dead end of the twentiethcentury
when, as we have seen, the idea of the economy came to be seen as
separate from the rest of society.
In a broader sense, ideas from different economic perspectives
pose a deep challenge to the technocrat’s ability to measure, forecast
and fine-tune the economy. Evolutionary economics conceptualises
the economy as a complex system with many interdependent parts
whose behaviour is hard to predict.64 Post-Keynesian economics
Beyond neoclassical economics 85
stresses the ‘radical uncertainty’ of the future
1 For further material on the late twentieth-century business scene, see Wilson,
British Business History, pp. 234–6.
2 See J.F. Wilson (2000), Ferranti. A History. Vol. 1. Building a Family Business,
1882–1975, Carnegie Publishing, pp. 514–22.
3 FBM 10835, 24 Sept 1980.
4 J.F. Wilson (2007), Ferranti. A History. Vol. 2. From Family Firm to Multinatonal,
1975–1987, Crucible Books, pp. 352–3.
5 FBM 9, 26 March 1985.
6 See Vol. 2, pp. 94–106.
7 Ferranti News, June 1982.
8 Vol. 2, Chs 5–7.
9 Vol. 1, pp. 169–71.
10 See Vol. 1, pp. 301–3 and 337, for