Category Archives: Tributes

Joseph Halevi: The Contemporary Relevance of Fred Lee’s Heterodox Political Economy

The Fred Lee Memorial Lecture at the SHE Conference, December 5-6, 2016, at the University of New South Wales. Sydney, Australia

The Lecture was aimed at highlighting the importance of Lee’s work and commitment to US Labor. It argued that the latter aspect is strictly connected to Lee’s research in the exploration of the nature and causes of US corporate power. The Lecture also pointed at the role Lee gave to class and ideological struggle at the level of academia and of teaching institutions. In this respect his book on the History of Heterodox Economics (Routledge 2009) is exemplary as it shows how tough the clashes have been in the United States since the last decades of the 19th century. The Lecture then discussed Lee’s contributions to economic analysis and history of economic thought. The Lecture stressed and elaborated upon the importance that Lee assigned to Gardiner Means and to the notion of administered prices. Lee’s work produced his fundamental volume Post Keynesian Price Theory (Cambridge University Press 1998), where the main approaches to non marginalist pricing are dissected. These are the Administered Prices approach, the Oxford-Andrews Approach, the markup Kaleckian Approach and the Sylos Labini Approach. By referring approvingly to a recent paper by Tae-Hee Jo (Journal of Economic Issues, no.2, 2016), the Lecture argues that there is no conventional price mechanism. The Lecture ends by validating Lee’s prediction made in the mid 1990s concerning the impossibility to reproduce end expand heterodox economic ideas within the academia because of the total and sectarian control exercised by mainstream economists.

[The video of the lecture will be available in early 2017.]

Frederic S. Lee and His Fight for the Future of Heterodox Economics

Jo, Tae-Hee (2016): “Frederic S. Lee and His Fight for the Future of Heterodox Economics.” PSL Quarterly Review, Vol. 69, No. 278 (September), pp. 267-278. [Download]

Abstract

Frederic S. Lee (1949-2014) was a dedicated captain of the heterodox economics movement over the past thirty years. In his unfaltering fight for the future of heterodox economics, Lee contributed to both the development of heterodox microeconomic theory and the establishment of a global community of heterodox economists. This short tribute delineates Lee’s unique and important contribution that should be remembered and renewed in order to reproduce heterodox economics.

What if there are no conventional price mechanisms?

Tae-Hee Jo. 2016. “What if there are no conventional price mechanisms?” Journal of Economic Issues, 50 (2): 327-344. AFEE Presidential address on behalf of Professor Frederic S. Lee. [ link to the article ]

Abstract

Inspired by Frederic (“Fred”) S. Lee’s theoretical contribution to institutional-heterodox economics, I make the case that the neoclassical price mechanism is not only flawed, but also irrelevant for the study of actual coordination mechanisms, hence the price mechanism — as a theory as well as a way of thinking — should be discarded. While this position was addressed by early institutionalists, starting with Thorstein Veblen, later institutionalists have not completely rejected the price mechanism. The sympathy for the price mechanism has prevented institutionalists (and other heterodox economists) from fully developing an alternative theoretical framework concerning how actual economic activities are organized. I, therefore, provide an institutionalist-heterodox framework of the provisioning process focusing on business enterprise activities. This framework shows how institutional economics becomes more refined and useful when it is married to other traditions in heterodox economics, in particular, Marxian, social, and post-Keynesian economics. Such an integrative approach is what Fred Lee showed through his work toward producing a better theory and policy for the underlying population.

Marc Lavoie: “Frederic Lee and Post-Keynesian Pricing Theory”

Marc Lavoie. 2016 (forthcoming). “Frederic Lee and Post-Keynesian Pricing Theory,” Review of Political Economy. Published online on April 8, 2016.DOI:10.1080/09538259.2016.1149375.

Linkhttp://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09538259.2016.1149375

Abstract: Frederic Lee has been a major contributor to post-Keynesian economics, mainly to its theory of pricing. This article summarizes his objections to the neoclassical view of the firm and pricing, as well as his view that changes in quantities, rather than in prices, provide the important information to firms. It also outlines Lee’s views on competition, and examines the three pricing doctrines Lee carefully analyzed—markup pricing (associated with Kalecki), normal-cost pricing or full-cost pricing (associated with Andrews), and target-return or administered pricing (associated with Means). The article then discusses the relationship between Lee and three strands of post-Keynesianism: Kaleckian, Sraffian and Eichnerian pricing theories. It explains why Lee objected to some features of each of these. The article concludes by discussing why, towards the end of his life, Lee felt (mistakenly) that his ideas had been dismissed by heterodox economists.

Tributes in Memory of Frederic S. Lee

Tributes in Memory of Frederic S. Lee, edited by Tae-Hee Jo, February 2015. [click on the link to download a pdf file]

This is a collection of tributes read at the Memorial Service on November 8, 2014 (Chapter 1), obituaries written by his family and colleagues (Chapter 2), and messages sent in after his passing (Chapter 3). Tributes appear in the Festschrift for Fred Lee, and various events, such as conference sessions in honor or memory of Fred Lee, are also included in Chapter 3.

“They say, we die twice—once when the last breath leaves our body and once when the last person we know says our name.”