Highlander News, UC Riverside, April 26, 1984 (Courtesy of John K. Lee, Fred Lee’s brother). Click on the image to read it in a larger scale.
Association for Institutional Thought Annual Conference in conjunction with Western Social Science Association | April 8 -11, 2015 | Portland, Oregon | website
Panel 1: Systems of Time, Money, and Provisioning: Session in Memory of Frederic S. Lee
Thursday (AFIT/ASE Joint Session), 8:00-9:30
Moderator: Ted P. Schmidt, SUNY Buffalo State
- “Social Provisioning Process and the Development of Heterodox Economics”
Tae-Hee Jo (SUNY Buffalo State) and Zdravka Todorova (Wright State University)
- “Local Food Systems and Economic Development”
Brian Werner (University of Missouri – Kansas City)
- “Time Systems and Their Adoption”
Neal Wilson (University of Missouri Kansas City)
- “A Financial Analysis of Monetary Systems”
Eric Tymoigne (Lewis and Clark College)
Panel 19: Social Provisioning for a Just Society: Session in Memory of Frederic S. Lee
Saturday, 9:45 – 11:15
Organizer: Mitch Green (Franklin & Marshall College)
Moderator: William Dugger (University of Tulsa)
- “Notes towards a Heterodox Theory of Pay”
Ryan A. Dodd (Gettysburg College)
- “Good for the Economy, Bad for People”
BJ Unti (Bellevue College)
- “Rational Irrationality: an Institutional Analysis of the Unsustainable Nature of Capitalism”
Will Fisher (Humboldt State University)
- “The Emergence of Qualitative Change in the Social Provisioning Process”
Mitch Green (Franklin & Marshall College)
2015 Eastern Economic Association Annual Meeting, New York City, February 26-March 1 | EEA website
Three Sessions jointly sponsored by Association for Social Economics, Union for Radical Political Economy, and Association for Evolutionary Economics
Radical and Heterodox Economics I: First of Three Sessions in Memory of Frederic S. Lee
Chair: Robert Scott, Monmouth University
- Telling Better Stories – The Role of Behavior in Lee’s Heterodox Microeconomics
John Moreau, University of Missouri Kansas City
- Smart Person and Human Development: The Missing Ingredient in Behavioral Economics
John F. Tomer, Manhattan College
- Behavioral Indifference Curves
John Komlos, University of Munich
Discussant: Tae-Hee Jo, and among participants
Radical and Heterodox Economics II: Second of Three Sessions in Memory of Frederic S. Lee
Chair: Tae-Hee Jo, SUNY Buffalo State
- Paradigm Switch in Economics
John Komlos, University of Munich
- Women, Race, Workers, and Ecology in Oklahoma: A Radical History and Analysis of Political Economy
Stephanie Cole, University of Missouri-Kansas City
- Some thoughts on the use of economics in the Scottish independence referendum debate
Andrew Cumbers, Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow
Robert McMaster, Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow
- Historical Method and Data in Heterodox Economics
Natalia Bracarense, North Central College
A. Reeves Johnson, Roosevelt University
Discussant: among participants
Radical and Heterodox Economics III: Third of Three Sessions in Memory of Frederic S. Lee
Chair: John Komlos, University of Munich
- Classical Economics, Production, and Time
Michael J. Murray, Bemidji State University
- Notes on Linear Production Models
Scott Carter, University of Tulsa
- Social Provisioning Process and the Development of Heterodox Economics
Tae-Hee Jo, SUNY Buffalo State
Zdravka Todorova, Wright State University
- Modelling Environmental Resources in a Heterodox Production Framework
Christian Spanberger, University of Missouri Kansas City
Discussion among participants
*Click on the image to see in a larger scale.
Symposium in Honour of Fred Lee, SHE Conference at UNSW, 9.12.2014
Frederic S. Lee. “The Role of Micro in Heterodox Economics: A View of a Heterodox Micro Theorist,” Presented at the Association for Heterodox Economics Annual Conference, University of Greenwich, London, UK. July 3, 2014. [click on link to download presentation slides]
Frederic Sterling Lee passed away on October 23, 2014, just one month before his 65th birthday, after a brave battle against cancer. He was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer at the end of February. He, however, never stopped working for his students and for the community of heterodox economists until the end of his life, as he always did over the past 30 years of his academic career. The entire community of heterodox economists across the world is saddened by the passing of Fred Lee.
Fred Lee was born in 1949 in Nyack, NY and grew up in Virginia. His father, Sterling Lee, was a labor lawyer and his mother, Marion Burks Lee, was a politically active person. With this family background he was aware of progressive politics and civil and workers rights even in his early days. He went to Frostburg State College (Maryland, 1968-1972) and obtained a BA degree in history. While doing his undergraduate study, he was interested in philosophy and later in economics because he found that social questions in the 19th century were mainly examined by economists. After two years of working in Saudi Arabia (a supply clerk position with the Corp of Engineers in Riyadh), he returned to the United States and continued his study at Columbia University in New York City. In 1977 Fred Lee met Alfred S. Eichner who later became his “mentor, dissertation advisor, and a friend.” He once noted that the “discovery of Eichner” was “the most important in my academic career.” With Eichner’s encouragement and support, Fred Lee started his PhD study in economics at Rutgers University in 1978, where he was taught by Alfred Eichner, Paul Davidson, Jan Kregel, Nina Shapiro, and Alessandro Roncaglia, among others. After graduating from Rutgers University in 1983, he taught at University of California—Riverside (1981-1984), Roosevelt University (Chicago, 1984-1990), Staffordshire Polytechnic (Stoke-on-Trent, UK, 1990-1991), De Montfort University (Leicester, UK, 1991-2000), and the University of Missouri—Kansas City (2000-2014). [For his early life before 2000, see his short autobiography, “Predestine to Heterodoxy or How I Became a Heterodox Economist” at http://heterodoxnews.com/leefs/cv/predestine]
His contribution to heterodox economics and his influence on younger heterodox economists are enormous and invaluable. First of all, he will be remembered as the heterodox economist who endeavored to develop heterodox microeconomics that would completely replace neoclassical microeconomics. Through his magnum opus, Post Keynesian Price Theory (1998) he shows that the neoclassical price mechanism does not exist in the real world, and that there are alternative-heterodox theory of price and pricing which can be drawn from the work of Gardiner C. Means, Michal Kalecki, and P.W.S Andrews and Oxford Economists’ Research Group. This means that the entire neoclassical microeconomic framework is incoherent and irrelevant and, hence, a new theoretical framework that explains how the capitalist economic system (or the social provisioning process) works needs to be developed. He was working on this grand project toward the end of his life.
He will also be remembered as a tireless organizer and institution builder who established the Association for Heterodox Economics (1999) and the Heterodox Economics Newsletter (2004). He also served a number of heterodox economics organizations and journals, including the editorship of the American Journal of Economics and Sociology (2009-2013). He believed that institution building is as important as theory building insofar as we are concerned with the continuation and reproduction of heterodox economics. Fred Lee’s commitment to heterodox economics is also demonstrated by his book, A History of Heterodox Economics: Challenging the Mainstream in the Twentieth Century (Routledge, 2009). This is the only book ever published that deals with the institutional history of heterodox economics from 1900 to 2006 in the US and UK. More importantly, the objective of the book is to show that not only heterodox economics did/does exist, but also it can continue only if heterodox economists develop alternative theories and build institutions in the face of the dominance of mainstream economics. In fact, it took over ten years for him to complete this book. Once I asked him why he spent so much time to write this history book and then he said: “Because someone had to do it.” I now understand that it is not just someone, but someone who has a clear vision, unflagging energy, and willingness to sacrifice oneself for a better future of heterodox economics.
Lastly, he will be remembered as an inspirational teacher and wonderful mentor who taught students how to do heterodox economics in a pluralistic, realistic, and integrative manner, and who cared about his students from the bottom of his heart. Although he did not have many students who wrote a PhD dissertation under his supervision, there are lots of young heterodox economists who are largely influenced by his work. This is evidenced by all the messages collected after his passing (see here) as well as a forthcoming festschrift, Advancing the Frontiers of Heterodox Economics: Essays in Honor of Frederic S. Lee (Routledge, 2015).
Right after he was told that he got terminal lung cancer, the first thing he told me was: “We need to establish a fund that helps heterodox doctoral students in heterodox doctoral programs.” As many of us remember, this is Fred Lee, the person who always cared about young heterodox economists—that is, the future of heterodox economics.
In closing, I’d like to quote Fred Lee’s last email to heterodox economists (which was sent to various mailing lists on October 2, 2014; he personally told me that this was his “last project”):
The 2015 Solidarity Forever Labor History Calendar is now available. It features Joe Hill. If you do not know who Joe Hill is, I suggest that you do a little bit of work and find out or better yet hum to yourself, “Would you have freedom from wage slavery, …” And if you think you know something about the 1% versus the 99% and do not know who Joe Hill is then I suggest checking out the song “Preacher and the Slave” on the internet or some other strange contraption that did not exist in 1911. In the inside back page you will find a picture of myself with Joe Hill’s ashes—this is about as close as you will get to any real hero of the working class whose life was indeed put on the line—he was executed by the capitalists in 1915.
You either walk the walk or you do not; and my career (along with my colleagues from around the world) has indeed walked the walk to ensure that heterodox programs exist and heterodox economists have jobs. And this has meant significant hardships for students and colleagues (not to mention loss of employment–see “A History of Heterodox Economics”) to critically study the mainstream theory that calls into question the argument that supports the 1%. And it also means that you have to go beyond the critical and develop an alternative that draws upon the different heterodox approaches.
Through the Heterodox Economics Association Booth at the ASSA 2015, 60 Joe Hill calendars will be provided free to anyone. In return, all that is asked is that you look at the literature in the booth, in particular the scholarship material for graduate students. It is not cheap to go to graduate school; and at times it appears that those who have obtained their PhD have no interest in helping those who would like to get a PhD–in this case, they are certainly not walking the walk nor caring about the community of heterodox economists in which they operate. Do something–give a damn. For more information about the Joe Hill calendar go to http://iwwhlf.org; http://www.joehill100.com. Information about the Frederic S. Lee Heterodox Economics Scholarship Fund can be found at: http://heterodoxnews.com/leefs/fsl-scholarship.
Fred Lee is survived by his wife, Ruth, their daughter, Sally, and two granddaughters. A memorial service for Fred Lee will be held Saturday, November 8th, 1:00pm at the Ethical Society of St. Louis, 9001 Clayton Road, St. Louis, Missouri. His ashes will be scattered at a later date at the Haymarket Martyrs Monument in Chicago, IL. Condolences may be sent via Fred Lee’s website at http://heterodoxnews.com/leefs and memorial contributions can be made to the Frederic S. Lee Heterodox Economics Scholarship Fund which is housed at the Kansas City Community Foundation. Donations can be made at https://gkccfonlinedonations.org/give/leeh00.asp.
SUNY Buffalo State
October 30, 2014
A Memorial Service for Frederic Lee will be held Saturday, November 8th, 1:00pm at the Ethical Society of St. Louis, 9001 Clayton Road, St. Louis, Missouri. His ashes will be scattered at a later date at the Haymarket Martyrs Monument in Chicago, IL.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Frederic S. Lee Heterodox Economics Scholarship Fund which is housed at the Kansas City Community Foundation. Donations can be made at https://
2015 Eastern Economic Association Annual Meeting, New York City, February 26-March 1.
AFEE/ASE/URPE are co-organizing special joint sessions at the 2015 Eastern Economic Association meetings in honor and memory of our friend and colleague Professor Frederic Lee. The meetings will be held in NYC, February 26-March 1, 2015. We invite individual papers and complete sessions for these sessions. Fred Lee’s contributions to heterodox economics was vast, spanning from price theory, heterodox microeconomics, heterodox microfoundations of macroeconomics, history of heterodox economics, production theory, critical realism, and grounded theory.
The deadline for proposal submissions for these special sessions has been extended to November 21, 2014. Please submit your paper or session proposal to Michael J. Murray (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Robert Scott (email@example.com). Please indicate at time of submission that you would like your paper/session to be included in the Fred Lee special sessions.
Dear IAFFE members,
By now many of you may know about the passing of one of the most passionate and prominent heterodox economists Fred Lee. In February 2014 Fred was diagnosed with a non-smoker lung cancer. In May 2014 he retired from the University of Missouri – Kansas City – where he worked tirelessly to advance heterodox economics as a movement, the success of the department, and the development of heterodox economic theory.
Fred has published in Feminist Economics, and in his 2009 book on the History of Heterodox Economics, he writes about sexism in the Economics profession, among other injustices. He has emphasized many times publicly and privately that he drew on feminist economics, on social economics, as well as on institutional economics to develop his most current analysis of social provisioning. He wanted to break divisions between heterodox economic approaches, and he was for intellectual pluralism. As you probably know, among other undertaking and hard work, he was also the founder of the Heterodox Economics Newsletter and the Heterodox Economics Directory – two important pieces of the infrastructure of heterodox economics and community: http://www.heterodoxnews.com
I think Fred’s most important concerns were: 1) building a growing community of heterodox economics; 2) reproducing teachers of heterodox economics; 3) building bridges across heterodox approaches and people; 4) a methodology that breaks the micro-macro split and allows a heterodox vision of agency; 5) a heterodox theory grounded in reality, including dispelling of the “price mechanism” and articulating an empirically supported alternative; and building heterodox micro-foundations; and 6) economics centered on and supportive of people’s lives. His work along these lines is visible in the AFEE program that he put together for the ASSA conference in Boston 2015, while battling cancer.
There is a website created and maintained through the years by Tae-Hee Jo – you can find not only statements in memory of Fred Lee, but also other valuable material about economics: http://heterodoxnews.com/
Here is information about the Frederic S. Lee Heterodox Economics Scholarship Fund that was created by Fred and Ruth Lee: http://heterodoxnews.com/
FSL Heterodox Economics Scholarship | Professor Frederic S. Lee
The purpose of the Fund shall be to provide scholarships for tuition and fees, up to three classes per semester, for doctoral heterodox economics students. Eligibility: The students eligible for a…
Department of Economics
Wright State University
Association for Institutional Thought
SCHOOL OF ORIENTAL AND AFRICAN STUDIES, LONDON DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMICS
Calls for contributions for Professor Frederic S. Lee Heterodox Economics Scholarship Fund in the honour of Professor Frederic S. Lee
- Saturday 22nd November 2014, 9.30am – 5pm
- Reception: 5pm – 7pm
- Khalili Lecture Theatre
Professor Frederic Lee has been an active promoter of heterodox economics movements over the past 30 years with a major institutional contribution towards the development of heterodox economics in United Kingdom. He played a major role in establishing the Association for Heterodox Economics, founded and edited the Heterodox Economics Newsletter, edited the American Journal of Economics and Sociology, has been actively involved in heterodox associations such as AFEE, AFIT, AHE, ASE, EAEPE, HES, ICAPE, URPE, and so on.
This event will celebrate his activities towards establishing a truly heterodox and pluralist community of economists and not least his theoretical contributions towards developing foundations for heterodox economics.
Fred and his wife, Ruth, have recently established the Heterodox Economics Scholarship Fund, which is designed to financially support doctoral heterodox economics students. The Scholarship is open to all doctoral students studying in a heterodox economics program, although currently preference is given to UMKC doctoral students due to the limited amount of funds.
To make a contribution to the Frederic S. Lee Heterodox Economics Scholarship Fund, visit here (minimum donation of £16): https://gkccfonlinedonations.org/give/leeh00.asp
To learn more about the Fund, visit here: http://www.gkccf.org/scholarships/frederic-s-lee-heterodox-economics-scholarship-fund
If you wish to attend the event, please complete the form below by Wednesday 12th of November 2014
9.30am-10.00am Coffee/Tea and arrival
10.00am-11.30am Opening: Professor Chris Brammall (Head of the Economics Department, SOAS), Professor Jan Toporowski (SOAS), Dr Ioana Negru (SOAS), Dr. Jamie Morgan (AHE Coordinator)
10.30am-11.30am Conversations with Geoff Harcourt (via Skype);
11.30am-11.45am Tea/Coffee break
11.45am-1.00pm Andrew Trigg, Bruce Philp and Paul Downward (Tales about AHE and Fred Lee)
1.00pm-2.00 pm Lunch break (lunch is not provided)
2.00pm-2.30pm Alan Freeman: Fred Lee’s contribution to pluralist economics (via Skype)
2.30pm -3.30pm Andrew Mearman, Richard Van den Berg, Bruce Cronin
3.30pm-4.00pm Tea/Coffee break
4.00pm-4.30pm Sheila Dow: Fred Lee as a Critical pluralist (via Skype)
4.30pm-5.00pm Andrew Brown: The Nature of Heterodox Economics
Including messages from Ben Fine, Tae-Hee Jo and Zdravka Todorova, Erik Olsen and Steve Keen
5pm-7pm Speakers: Professor Jan Toporowski, Gary Slater and Bob McMaster
Venue: Main Building, SOAS, Russell Square
Nearest Underground station: Russell Square
Below are messages sent to AFEE, AFIT, ASE, AHE, PKSG, URPE, HES, IAFFE mailing lists, personal responses to John Henry and Tae-Hee Jo, and blog posts. (Last updated November 22, 8:00 pm).
Today we remember the life of a great teacher, scholar, and rabble-rouser – Professor Frederic S. Lee (1949-2014). His life and accomplishments inspire us to strive to live up to the example he set for us.
Each time he stepped into the classroom, Prof. Lee brought a fiery passion to his teaching. In an era of hyper-specialization, he drew on his immense knowledge of heterodox economics to connect with students, no matter what their interest. We knew that Prof. Lee’s door was always open to students. He would happily spend hours helping us develop our research and ourselves. Even when we weren’t always confident in our own theories, Prof. Lee believed in us.
Prof. Lee’s steadfast commitment to intellectual pluralism stood as an inspiration for all who met him. As a scholar, he engaged with a wide range of alternative approaches to economics. He went even further with his commitment to interdisciplinary scholarship. Prof. Lee encouraged students and colleagues alike to learn the traditions and methods of other disciplines in order to create better explanations for how the world really works. Through his own interdisciplinary work, he played a critical role in the establishment of heterodox economics qua theory.
As an organizer, Prof. Lee put his theories into practice by advocating for social justice. Economists around the world remember him for his legacy of building an inclusive community of researchers and activists. He never wanted us to separate ourselves from the real world, becoming cloistered in the ivory towers of academia. To the very end, his dedication to social justice burned like a torch in the night, guiding our path forward. At the 2014 Interdisciplinary Conference, he called on us to fight for justice and solidarity. Although our hearts ache with loss, we will celebrate his life by answering that call.
May he rest in peace.
The Economics Graduate Students of the University of Missouri at Kansas City
- Jon Bekken (IWW). Nov. 6. “Farewell, Fellow Worker Frederic S. Lee (1949-2014).”
- Robert McMaster. November 3. “Professor Frederic Sterling Lee (1949-2014): An Appreciation”
- Heterodox Economics Newsletter. November 3: http://www.heterodoxnews.com/n/htn171.html
- World Economics Association Newsletter. November 3.
One of the characteristics of broad exclusion is that the excluded find themselves in isolated groups and thereby too demoralized and powerless to confront the order that excludes. Fred Lee will be remembered for his success at opening communications and initiating cooperation between the disparate economists who were victims of the toxic blend of ideology and scientism that came to rule economics at the end of the millennium. Fred Lee’s success was a beginning of the hope for regeneration, moral and intellectual, of the economics profession that now lives in the hearts and minds of thousands of its members — Edward Fullbrook
- Gilles Raveaud. October 28. Fred Lee est mort (in French). http://alternatives-economiques.fr/blogs/raveaud/2014/10/28/fred-lee-est-mort/
- Alejandro Garay. October 30. In memoriam: Frederic S. Lee (1949-2014), el adiós a un “economista blasfemo” (in Spanish). http://economiadisidente.blogspot.mx/2014/10/in-memoriam-frederic-s-lee-1949-2014-el.html?spref=fb
- Sebastian Thieme’s blog post (in German): Frederic S. Lee (1949-2014), http://economicethics.blogspot.com/2014/10/frederic-s-lee-1949-2014.html
- World Economics Association (German Chapter): http://worldeconomicsassociation.net/germany/2014/10/26/frederic-s-lee-1949-2014/
- OccuWorld. Oct. 26. RIP UMKC’s Professor Fred Lee
“Frederic Lee was a radical “heterodox” economist and a true revolutionary for Social Justice. He passed away on Friday from a rare non-smoking related lung cancer. Frederic Lee was probably the most controversial economist you’ve never heard of. This man is a legend. He will live forever. – CH” http://www.occuworld.org/news/1636516
- Barkley Rosser, Oct. 24. “The Passing of Fred Lee: An(other) Old Wobbly Bites The Dust,” http://econospeak.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-passing-of-fred-lee-another-old.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+espeak+(EconoSpeak)
- Matias Vernengo, Oct. 24. “Frederic S. Lee.” http://nakedkeynesianism.blogspot.com/2014/10/frederic-s-lee.html
- Stephanie Kelton, Oct. 24. “A Moment of Mourning.” http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2014/10/moment-mourning.html
- ASE. Oct. 24. “Fred Lee, RIP.” http://socialeconomicsblog.typepad.com/social-economics-blog/2014/10/fred-lee-rip.html
- David Ruccio. Oct. 24. “Fred Lee, RIP.” http://anticap.wordpress.com/2014/10/24/fred-lee-rip/
- Lars P. Syl. Oct. 25. “Fred Lee.” http://larspsyll.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/fred-lee/
Recently, we were made aware that Frederic S. Lee, a strong voice of economic heterodoxy passed away on October 23. His death came much too early given Fred’s tremendous efforts and enthusiasm in promoting heterodox economics and economic pluralism. He will be deeply missed by the community of heterodox economists. Fred was a supporter of IAFFE’s efforts is so many ways and a tireless supporter of pluralism in economics. He will be deeply missed. — International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE)
Following the recent untimely death from cancer of Professor Fredric S. Lee, the Association for Heterodox Economics would like to recognize his unique contribution to heterodox economics. Not only was Fred instrumental in the establishment of the AHE, he also remained a tireless participant in its otherwise mundane administration and a passionate participant in its academic activity. He was one of those rare individuals whose enthusiasm was inspirational. His generosity of spirit caused him to see the best in others. His intellectual legacy extends across many areas of economics, whilst his institutional legacy extends to all those graduates who had the privilege to experience his teaching and all those postgraduates for whom he was a mentor. Fred’s obituary, written by his colleague Tae-Hee Jo, can be accessed via the Heterodox Economics Newsletter number 171. The Newsletter is another now well-established pillar of the heterodox academic community for which Fred was the prime mover. The vibrancy of that community also forms part of his legacy. The Newsletter contains links to a series of other sites with commentaries and condolences via:
We would also like to encourage you to make a donation to the Frederic S. Lee Heterodox Economics Scholarship Fund:
Fred will be sadly missed.
— The Management Committee on behalf of the Association for Heterodox Economics
It is with great sadness that we inform the EAEPE community that Fred Lee passed away the night between 23 and 24 October 2014. His contribution to EAEPE and to other pluralist and heterodox associations was huge, and his death is a terrible loss for the entire scientific community. — European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy (EAEPE)
It is with great sadness that the French Association of Political Economy has learnt that Fred Lee passed away on October 23rd. Fred was an active organizer of the heterodox community, providing others with invaluable resources while developing original research. He has played an essential role to promote heterodox economics understood as a set of theories clearly distinct from the mainstream. He showed that heterodoxy is not only a pure intellectual matter but also a community of economists with its own institutions based on integrative pluralism. He was not only a pioneer, he was a prominent voice. Here in France we are always eager to receive the Heterodox Economics Newsletter that he initiated (then managed by Tae-Hee Jo and Ted P. Schmidt, and now by Jakob Kapeller) and we are grateful to him for the links he created between heterodox economists all over the world. His generosity and kindness will be greatly missed. — Association Française d’Economie Politique (written by Gilles Raveaud and Bruno Tinel)
This is sad and unexpected news. Quite a few members of the Leicester Secular Society spent time with Fred when he visited in the summer and he attended our evening lecture which was on social housing – by another long-time De Montfort University personality, Tim Brown. Apart from being a member of the Leicester Secular Society, Fred had at one time been its President and I believe held it together in quite difficult times. Now, fortunately, we are going through a period of some flourishing and we are sure Fred would have taken heart from that on his visit. — Leicester Secular Society
Our heart goes out to the students, associates, and family at the passing of Fred Lee, who served as President of AFIT during 2011-2012. Fred was always a tireless defender of the underprivileged and marginalized, and a tireless advocate of heterodox economics. I had the opportunity to spend time with Fred at the AFEE meetings in Philadelphia last January. No one was more passionate about promoting heterodox economics. Fred will be sorely missed. — John Watkins (President, AFIT)
I want to echo Dave Z’s remarks. We were both fortunate to work with Fred over the past year on a number of important AFEE projects, and as Dave commented, Fred was indefatigable and always prepared for our many conversations. He has put together an excellent program for our upcoming meetings in Boston, and we will be certain to make a point of remembering his work on behalf of AFEE and heterodox economics. And his legacy going forward will be a strong one, in the work he produced, in the students he mentored, and in the many projects to promote heterodox economics. To his students and colleagues, my deep sympathy. – Jan Knoedler (Bucknell University and the President of AFEE)
I am truly sorry to hear of Fred’s passing away, he has been integral to the efforts at opening up economics, and a staunch supporter of pluralism in the field. I remember how, at times when many of our male heterodox colleagues imagined feminist economics as simply the ‘application’ of their approach to ‘the woman question,’ Fred was among the earliest from the broader field of heterodox economics to provide it with the respect it deserved as a distinctive and independent intellectual formation, listing it as one of the heterodox economics traditions on Het-econ. His effort to break down barriers was never done by ‘absorbing’ others into some ‘bigger’ extant approach as a form of economics-imperialism, but respectfully, conversationally, and with due regard for genuine exchange across intellectual traditions. I also remember his presence at conferences, and his tireless efforts at institutional building and opening up spaces for conversations across varied dissident traditions. A real loss for all economists, whatever their own approach, who value open intellectual exchange and analytic pluralism in the field. — S. Charusheela (U of Washintong-Bothell)
I had the privilege of knowing Fred since 1980 when we were both just starting out. He had just had a year at Edinburgh University and Gavin Reid, then a young lecturer there and a fellow PWS Andrews enthusiast, sent Fried a copy of one of my first discussion papers, which was about the neglect of Andrews and other real-world focused economists. Fred passed it on to Alfred Eichnet and it led to the edited collection Why Economics is Not Yet a Science. Much more importantly, Fred and I began corresponding about PK price theory and his PhD work, and we eventually ended up edited Andrews’s collected papers as a result of a dozen years of writing to each other (The Economics of Competitive Enterprise, Elgar 1993). It was only after this was finished that I met Fred face to face for the first time, at the Leeds Keynes conference. That period of close interaction with Fred had a big impact on my views about scholarship, one that I try to convey to my students, especially the PhD students: Fred was exemplary in his pursuit of a ‘leave no stone unturned’ approach to thorough scholarship that is all too rare these days. It was simply amazing to see the lengths he would go to try to fill in missing bits of the Andrews/OERG story. With this kind of scholarship, it is not surprising his major books did not come out as quickly as one might otherwise have expected. We should all think of this aspect of Fred’s way of operating whenever we’re tempted to do a rushed job and not follow up leads that might turn out to be unexpectedly important. And of course, we should always remember Fred’s selfless devotion to the cause of doing economics in a socially-concerned way that is grounded in reality, as conveyed in your obituary, and we should try to do likewise, even if that also is not the easy way. With best wishes to you and to Fred;s family, and with fond memories of Fred, — Peter E. Earl (University of Queensland, Australia)
He really did work hard to keep heterodox economic vibrant and collaborative. And he was a really nice guy. I had been meaning to donate the scholarship and your thoughtful note helped me to pull out my wallet and just do it! Walking the walk… — Randy Albelda (UMass Boston)
Thank you for the moving obituary of Fred Lee, a man I knew through our common union, the Industrial Workers of the World. The man is an inspiration and I am saddened by his passing. In solidarity, — Peter Moore (Canada)
Many of us in Canada knew Fred. I had only met him twice, but my impression of him was quite favourable. … his scholarship was exceptional, he was a community-builder and a greater supporter of his (and other) students. — Jordan Brennan (Unifor, Canada)
We have lost a great colleague, a better person and one of the key bases of heterodox economics worldwide. Extremely sad news and very bad times for heterodoxy. — Jorge Garcia Arias (University of Leon, Spain)
It is so sad but I am glad I saw him in July at the AHE conference and heard his talk. — Marlene Kim (UMass Boston)
I met Fred Lee just one time in 2006, but I wrote him several emails for having some suggestions in the Italian debate on research output evaluation in economics. He was always very kind. — Stefano Lucarelli (Università degli studi di Bergamo, Italy)
Fred will be missed, and will remain with us. — Michele Naples (The College of New Jersey)
I am shocked and very saddened. May he rest in peace. I have met Fred a number of times in the UK and elsewhere during various gatherings organized by the PKSG and AHE. We had also wonderful “heterodox” cooperation and interaction via email. With my deepest sympathy, — Nikolaos Karagiannis (Winston-Salem State University)
I remember Fred (who did not know me at the time) filling me on the Roosevelt Economics Dept. on the steps of a Hotel in New Orleans at an ASSA meeting many years ago, a job I eventually got (thought not that year). He could very critical – did not mince his opinions! (I had this experience with Fred’s comments on some of my ASSA presentations), and my Friends in Oak Park (cc’d above) told me stories when I moved here 20 years ago after Fred had left for England and than Missouri, about his outspoken atheism not always sitting well with fellow Oak Parkers (not them or I – all atheists ourselves) , but a great human being and a tireless organizer for the cause of radical/heterodox economics! It was this unwillingness to “bend” his opinions to convention – a true critical thinker – that led him to the enormous contributions that marked his life. — Ron Baiman (Benedictine University)
My condolences on the passing of our good and distinguished friend. — James K. Galbraith (University of Texas Austin)
It’s very sad to hear that. It would have been nice if we could have told him how much his research has helped us. — Post-Crash Economics Society, University of Manchester, UK
I’m directing this to you as Chair of the fantastic UMKC Econ Department, but why I’m writing I don’t really know. I never met Fred Lee or even corresponded with him, but his work on post-Keynesian price theory, and in particular his expertise on Gardiner Means, has been indispensable for my own work. I’m a graduate student in history at UC-Santa Barbara, studying with the labor historian Nelson Lichtenstein, and am currently at work on a dissertation on inflation in the postwar US, in particular how it served to regulate labor relations and delimited the prospects for social democracy in this country. My current focus is on the durability of an anti-monopoly tradition in Congress after the war, and in particular on John Blair and the Subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopoly. I recently learned Dr. Lee had been working on similar issues, and just last week had begun to compose a message to him on the subject. I was stunned to see this terribly saddening news. I just thought I’d write to provide one datum on Dr. Lee’s far ranging influence. I am in history (though I’d probably be in economics were it not for the dismal state of the field, UMKC excepting), which I think provides evidence enough that his work crossed disciplinary boundaries. From everything I read, it seems like he was a wonderful person, in addition to a great mind. We need more economists like him. — Samir Sonti (UC Santa Barbara)
So sorry to hear about Fred’s passing. He was one of the few really good guys in the profession. And I always admired his “don’t let the idiots win” attitude. — Steve Pressman (Monmouth University)
My deep sympathy to all who knew Prof Lee. I regret that I only knew him via this listserve, yet even so, I got a great sense of his impact and contributions. I wonder if someone could re-send information about how to contribute to the scholarship fund Prof Lee had set up with AFEE. — Carol Scotton (Knox College)
Fred was a colleague of mine at U.C. Riverside for a few years, when we were constantly under attack from a phalanx of hostile and often vicious deans and Monsanto grantees and others for our “Marxism”. That was a wide umbrella that covered almost anyone left of Dick Cheney, plus some deeper Marxists and probably some CIA agents and agents provocateurs. That is probably why Fred hit the road before long. Anyway, Fred had an obsessive work ethic. He came to meetings of the Department but rarely looked up from his sheaf of papers, rarely spoke. I hardly got to know him personally. I never knew of his IWW connection. If I had I would have marked it in his favor, but how could he have known that? Surrounded by spies, in whom could he confide? I thought his obsession with being “heterodox” was not an optimal stance. I’ve generally found it more positive to say “Orthodoxy is my doxy; heterodoxy is the other fellow’s doxy”. And yet in our brief intersections I came to admire his independence and courage and self-sacrifice and conscientiousness. So year’s later, when Larry Moss died and we needed a new Editor for the American Journal of Economics and Sociology, I nominated Fred – and he got the job, much to the disgust of some Austrians who had wanted it. Larry, who had an Austrian tendency in his form of heterodoxy, had left an inventory of accepted mss, which Fred duly edited and published – it must have been hard on him, but he had no fear of hard work. After about 4 years his original contract ran out, and the Board had turned over a bit (as Boards do), and the new Board let him go. He conscientiously completed his duties to the end, and, like Jesus on the cross, “He never said a mumbling word”. I never knew he had health problems, let alone fatal ones. So God bless you, Fred, in the place where you have gone, whether you believed in one or not. We will remember you down here for your courage and good works. — Mason Gaffney (UC Riverside)
I am deeply saddened by this great loss. Fred understood heterodox economics in its broadest sense and his scholarship reflected this judgment. More than anyone else, he established heterodox economics as a subject of historical inquiry. Heterodox economics was for Fred primarily a community, which he nurtured and shaped, through newsletters, networks, conferences and organisations. Fred and I co-wrote a paper on oral history and the history of heterodox economics. The collaboration emerged after years of his unfailing encouragement and generosity, sharing archives, ideas, and patient corrections as I wrote a doctoral thesis on the history of post Keynesian and radical economics. Fred’s research was unfailingly serious, sourced, and thorough, and I learned so much from him. — Tiago Mata
I am very sad to hear of Fred’s passing. I didn’t expect it quite this soon. We have lost a great colleague. — Fred Moseley (Mount Holyoke College)
A great loss for Heterodox Economics! My deep sympathy for his family. — Jairo Parada (Universidad del Norte, Colombia)
I feel very sad to read that Fred is no longer. I met him over 40 years ago and then from time to time at the Post Keynesian Economics Study Group seminars in London. I corresponded with him on several occasions. The last time when he asked me to pass on to him what information I had about the Conference of Socialist Economists in Cambridge some 40+ years ago. He has been instrumental in fostering alternative approaches to economics. We owe him a lot and he will be remembered. — Grazia Ietto Gillies
Despite the short time I spent at UMKC, I remember him well. I’ll always remember him for his kindness to us and for his commitment to fighting the cause of the oppressed. Will definitely remember the Harry Potter movie we watched together and the wonderful Thanksgiving dinner he and his wife made us in 2005. May his legacy live on in his work and the many lives he touched. – Tung-Yi Kho (SOAS)
Fred Lee was more than a “card-carrying member” of the Wobblies. A member of the IWW since 1985, Fred was elected soon afterwards Chair of the General Executive Board at the same time that he was Professor of Economics at Roosevelt University in Chicago. Here are two 1988 interviews Chairman Lee did with the Chicago Reader and L.A. Times, explaining the strange migration and history of Joe Hill’s ashes. (Some of the ashes were mailed to Fred, he told me and other colleagues, at his Roosevelt University address.) — Steve Ziliak (Roosevelt University)
I had planned on writing some brief comments about Fred, but you captured most of what I was going to say. However, I do want to add one other area where I believe Fred made a very nice contribution, which justifies in my mind why he deserved the president slot for AFEE. From a number of talks that Fred gave over the years, I recognized that for him the central raison d’etre of an economy is the provisioning of goods and services for people, and for him that’s the purpose of an economy. By focusing on provisioning it avoids the neoclassical error of confusing all pecuniary activities with human well-being. Though there was more class struggle and Sraffa analysis in Fred’s view then this, I believe he recognized the importance of the institutionalist view of the interaction of technology (knowledge and innovation) and social institutions — the process to provision, which is often impeded by the inherently conservative nature of social and economic institutions, some of which are much more powerful than others. While improving provisioning may be universal, things and institutions change over time and place. This means that Institutional economics relies on observation and measurement of the real world as it changes, instead of being caught up in an ideological bubble. This follows the definition of provisioning by Gruchy, “the study of the part of the evolving social system that is concerned with the provision of scarce material goods and services” (1972, 337). And Veblen’s definition of the economy as “… a process for the provision of the aggregate material means of life” ([1919b] 1990, 285). Veblen’s contrast between the pecuniary and the industrial is central here. Only if production goes through the market process does it have a pecuniary value, and only then does it count. Or to express it in a way Fred would approve, I believe: since prices measure value in exchange they cannot always be relied on to establish value in use, which more closely parallels provisioning. This leads markets to be an imperfect measure of provisioning and must be supplemented by non-market goods through the public or nonprofit sector. Yes, as Barkley mentioned, we had our differences with Fred, but I always found him a passionate man who cared very deeply that economics be there to serve people and not the other way around. I will miss him. — Ric Holt
I am so sorry to hear this. I will always remember Fred for his ‘stubborn heterodoxy’, always bringing in a perspective in discussions that is solid, historically grounded, and to the point. And I will always remember that we shared the Gunnar Myrdal Prize in 2001, 2000 euro each, from which he bought his daughter a violin and I bought myself a double
bass. — Irene van Staveren (International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam)
Really sorry to hear about Fred, though I knew he didn’t have long. — Ronnie Phillips
I have met with Fred Lee in Utah in 2007 at the ICAPE conference, and still remember his compassion for the advancement of heterodox economics. He will not be forgotten for his efforts to promote heterodox economics. May he rest in peace. — Hüseyin Özel
I am so deeply moved by the sad news: how could this be? I didn’t know he was ill. I really can’t say we were very close, but I know he knew who I am, always, no matter where or how much time had passed since the last time we met. At a meeting, a conference, he always had a kind smile and generous words towards our latest research topic. May he rest in peace. — Jose A. Cordero (Universidad de Costa Rica)
I am sad to hear about Fred. However, his life and work will continue to be a great inspiration for the young heterodox scholars and generations to come. To my work in the history of heterodox economics, he will always be a huge influence. — Marco Cavalieri (Brazil)
I join a long line of folks that regret Fred’s passing. I am one of his doctoral students, but unlike some I’ve not had the privilege of finishing with him. He taught me so much and changed the way I think of the economy and society in general. I’ll never be the same. Fred taught me that economics is about social provisioning, and that social provisioning is about people. I’ll never forget that and I’ll never forget him. He’ll always be in my economics. The last thing he told me was that, “You should never hold back, even if it makes them uncomfortable.” I won’t disappoint him. Rest in peace Fred. — Mitch Green (UMKC student)
I share the grief of those who have already posted about Fred’s death. I wish to note that despite his illness, Fred worked tirelessly in helping to ensure that AFEE, and especially the JEI, continue to be strong. In Fact, Jan Knoedler, Eric Hake, and I received an e-mail from Fred just a week ago in which he asked us to keep him engaged in the work we have been doing with various publishers on the future of the JEI. Irrepressible and irreplaceable in the world of heterodox economics, Fred’s legacy will always endure. — David Zalewski (Providence College)
Some untimely deaths are indeed. I have known Frederic Lee since the URPE-ASSA meetings of1984 (Dallas), where we were both presenting a paper in the same session. We, again, where in the same session at the URPE-ASSA in 2013 (San Diego); I saw him for the very last time in the 2014 URPE-ASSA in Philadelphia and I did not know. Please convey my condolences to his family, friends, and students. — Cyrus Bina (University of Minnesota Morris)
I was very impressed with Fred, in the short time I had to interact with him, and very moved by the conference [AHE 2014 Conference at Greenwich] you [Jo] and his other students put on for him. His legacy and spirit will live on for a very long time, I’m sure. — Ashton Phillips (George Washington University)
Very sorry to hear this……..very sorry. Sad news. I thought Fred was a good guy and outstanding scholar. He definitely will be missed. — Thomas Lambert (Northern Kentucky University)
I am very sorry to hear the loss of Professor Lee. My deepest sympathies go out to you [Jo] and his family. May God give you and his family the comfort and peace that you seek and may the soul of Professor Lee rest in peace. My condolences. Tuna Baskoy (Ryerson University, Canada)
That’s sad, what a big loss. — Mary King (Portland State University)
Fred was a tremendous force for good economics. I’m sorry he suffered at the end. He will be greatly missed. — Robin Hahnel (American University and Portland State University)
It is so sad to lose Fred, a tireless champion of the left and heterodox economics. I first met Fred at a Post Keynesian conference in the early 80s when we were both graduate students? Fred working with Al Eichner at Rutgers and me working with Ed Nell and others at the New School. We maintained our friendship over 3 decades and supported one another during times when the frustration of dealing with mainstream economics and even difficult heterodox personalities became overwhelming. He will be sorely missed. — Steve Pressman (Monmouth University)
I, like many, receive this news with sadness. We have observed Fred’s tireless commitment to the advancement of economic knowledge and education. His accomplishments have been many and noteworthy. Good bye, Fred Lee. — Daniel Underwood (Peninsula College)
Wow. I am ever so sorry to hear this. Fred was an exceptionally well read economist & colleague. He was also a tireless organizer & institution builder. Our conversations invariably pushed me to think harder and/or more clearly. We were all richer for having known him. RIP Fred. — Robert Prasch (Middlebury College)
Even greater than Fred’s commitment to the advancement of knowledge was his unwavering commitment and concern for all of us, his students. Never was there any one who demanded more but did everything within his power to help each of achieve our full potential. — Doug Meador (University of Saint Francis)
This is very sad news indeed! My thoughts are with Fred’s family and also with his colleagues and students. — David Dequech (University of Campinas, Brazil)
My goodness. I had no idea. My thoughts are with his family and in recognising his huge contribution to all our work. We all owe him a huge and overwhelming debt of gratitude for his wonderful and innovative work. — Miriam Kennet (The Green Economics Institute, UK)
Very sad! Still remember our discussions confronting Marxism and Post-Keynesianism. A great loss. — Fabien Tarrit (Université de Reims Champagne Ardenne)
I echo others’ sentiments in greatly appreciating all that Fred Lee did for heterodox economics over many years. — Richard Wolff
It is very, very sad to hear that Fred is no longer with us. It was only 3 weeks ago that I invited him to join again the Scientific Advisory Board of the 2nd World Keynes Conference which I am planning with a few Turkish colleagues to hold in 2015 that I learned about Fred suffering from lung cancer but I had no idea that it was that serious. The heterodox community lost one of its most hard working, most challenging, most innovative and most helpful members. Deeply sorrow. — Arne Heise (Hamburg University)
This is shocking news. Fred was such a tireless worker towards the development of heterodox thinking. Please pass my condolences to his family. — Tidings P. Ndhlovu (MMU Business School)
Extremely sad news. The greatest paladin of our just quest is no more. — Luís Francisco Carvalho (ISCTE – University Institute of Lisbon)
I just learned of the passing of Fred Lee. I’m deeply, deeply sorry. With all of you having been very close to him as colleague, teacher and friend, please accept my heartfelt sympathies. I am happy at least that I was able to see him last month in Kansas City (indeed that was the third time since last January that we saw each other) and I shall always retain some very good memories of having crossed path with him over the last few decades beginning with when he was still a graduate student of Al Eichner at Rutgers. I am truly very sad and, although I shall not be able to come to the funeral service, please give my sincere condolences to all his loved ones that he left behind. Yours sincerely, — Mario Seccareccia (University of Ottawa, Canada)
It is with profound sorrow that I just found that Professor Lee passed away last night. I was now working on the paper for the book [Fred Lee Festschrift] and just received an e-mail from the PKSG list informing that. It is an enormous loss for the academic world. Let us hope that his extremely important research be continued. — Nuno Martins (University of the Azores, Portugal)
Fred Lee was our distinguished guest at the 2006 HETSA conference held in Ballarat, Australia. He later stayed at my house in Carlton where he took a great interest in my cat! Jackson. The Australian HET community salute him. Kind regards. — Alex Millmow (Federation Business School and President of the History of Economic Thought Society of Australia)
A great economist and a better person. — Guillermo Cavazos
I am very sorry to hear of the death of Fred Lee, a distinguished economist. — Giancarlo de Vivo (Università di Napoli “Federico II”, Italy)
Very sad news, though (of course) not unexpected. … — John King (La Trobe University, Australia)
I was very sorry to hear about Fred. — Michael V. White (Monash University)
Thank you for informing the AFEEMAIL community about the sad news of Fred’s passing. Eric, Dave and I had received a very concerning note three weeks ago, so this news is not entirely a surprise. Sad all the same. We will make certain to honor him at the upcoming AFEE meetings.Keep us posted on any information you receive. — Jan Knoedler (Bucknell University and the President of AFEE)
It is with sadness that I write to inform you of the passing of one of our long-standing faculty members, Fred Lee. Fred was an internationally recognized scholar who was incredibly devoted to his students and his department. He was active in the life of the College and will be greatly missed. My thoughts go out to the faculty of Economics and Fred’s family. I have been told a memorial is planned in St. Louis and will provide more information as it becomes available. Sincerely, — Wayne Vaught (Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, UMKC)
I want to thank you for all that you[Free Lee] have done for me. I know that things would likely have gone very differently for me without your assistance. You are a friend, a colleague, and a fellow worker, and I am grateful for these things. Your dedication to improving the lives of working people is an inspiration. Concern for the well-being of poor and working people is uncommon among academics, but through your work and actions you have shown that you are unwilling to compromise your commitment to social justice, your personal convictions, or, ultimately, your integrity. This is an example that we should all do our best to emulate. Your impact on students, colleagues and our discipline will be measured for decades to come. I hope you and your family find some comfort in the difficult days ahead. But I want you to know that my commitment to the ideals we share is undiminished, and your example motivates me every day. I will mourn, but then I will organize. In solidarity, — Erik Olsen (UMKC, before Fred’s passing)
Fred was much liked and respected in this country, inside and outside of Stoke. I was lucky enough to see him for a few minutes last summer when he was visiting Paul Downward, across the street from whom I live. I have fond memories of all our visiting scholars, including Fred, your good self and Susan (M’Gowan?). Recently started my 15th year of retirement – much to my surprise. Still see Jean Mangan and Steve Hurd on walks, and Jamie Roper, Ian Jackson and John Wyld at beer festivals. John has recently retired, as has Jean although she has some PhDs to see through to completion. — Alistair Dawson
Thanks for letting the AFEE list know of this terrible news. I’m deeply saddened. — Robert McMaster (University of Glasgow)
This is so sad. Fred was a great scholar, mentor and friend. — Paul Downward (Loughborough University, UK)
We are all going to miss him. However, I know that you two were close and so I’m thinking of you [John Henry]. Peace. — Reynold Nesiba (Augustana College)
Thank you for spreading the word about Fred. He was an original ? there is no one with his righteous anger, his energy in defending inconvenient ideas, his enthusiasm in explaining mark-up models. Please add my condolences to what must already be a mountain of expressed feelings of loss and sadness. I will try, as everyone who knew him must, to carry on the fight for something approximating a better world and a truer economic compass to steer it by. Warmest regards, — Gary Dymski (Leeds University)
I first met Fred at Warren Samuels’ house when I was a grad student, and we spent an hour arguing about whether there was any usefulness in the idea of a demand curve. That was my first clue that there were not many things in the world which Fred and I would see eye-to-eye! We had many wonderful disagreements over the years, and I would always greet him with a shout of “How’s my favorite radical doing?!” But Fred was an incredibly generous scholar. I met him when Warren and I were working up our article and book on Gardiner Means, and Fred graciously put all of the voluminous means material that he had acquired (and most of which he had not yet himself used) at our disposal. I will miss him, but it is good to know that his suffering has come to an end. Best wishes, — Steve Medema (Universit of Denver)
I am so sorry to hear your sad news about Fred. Fred was such a wonderful person. With deepest sympathy. Yours sincerely, — Spencer Pack (Connecticut College)
Fred was a force for heterodoxy and had a deep moral view of the world. He did good work and was a role model. It will be strange not to have his presence. I feel sorry for Ruth. It is not easy to be left behind after so many years. — John Davis (Marquette University)
It is with great sadness that I inform the community of heterodox economists that Fred Lee passed away on October 23 after a brave battle against lung cancer. Given his deterioration over the last week, this was something of a welcome relief. The tentative date for his memorial service is November 8, but an announcement as to the details will be forthcoming.
Fred Lee will be remembered for his tireless effort to develop heterodox economic theories, to build institutions and communities, and to liberate students from the illusions created by defunct economists.
You can watch his last presentation at the Post Keynesian Conference on September 27, 2014, here:
You can watch his last lecture at the UMKC on April 24, 2014, here.
Should you have a story you want to share with others, please send an email to Tae-Hee Jo, firstname.lastname@example.org or “leave a reply.”
May he rest in peace.
The 2015 Solidarity Forever Labor History Calendar is now available. It features Joe Hill. If you do not know who Joe Hill is, I suggest that you do a little bit of work and find out or better yet hum to yourself, “Would you have freedom from wage slavery,…”. And if you think you know something about the 1% versus the 99% and do not know who Joe Hill is then I suggest checking out the song “Preacher and the Slave” on the internet or some other strange contraption that did not exist in 1911. In the inside backpage you will find a picture of myself with Joe Hill’s ashes–this is about as close as you will get to any real hero of the working class whose life was indeed put on the line–he was executed by the capitalists in 1915. You either walk the walk or you do not; and my career (along with my colleagues from around the world) have indeed walked the walk to ensure that heterodox program exist and heterodox economists have jobs. And this has meant significant hardships for students and colleagues (not to mention loss of employment–see “A History of Heterodox Economics”) to critically study the mainstream theory that calls into question the arguments that supports the 1%. And it also means that you have to go beyond the critical and develop an alternative that draws upon the different heterodox approaches.
Through the Heterodox Economics Association Booth at the ASSA, 60 Joe Hill calendars will be provided free to anyone. In return, all that is asked is that you look at the literature in the booth, in particular the scholarship material for graduate students. It is not cheap to go to graduate school; and at times it appears that those who have have obtained their PhD have no interest in helping those who would like to get a PhD–in this case, they are certainly not walking the walk nor caring about the heterodox community of economists in which they operate. Do something–give a damn. For more information about the Joe Hill calendar go to http://iwwhlf.org; www.joehill100.com. Information about the Frederic S. Lee Scholarship Fund can be found at:http://heterodoxnews.com/
On heterodox microeconomics and how he became a heterodox economist. Post Keynesian Conference at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, September 27, 2014.
Fred Lee’s comments on the social provisioning process, the relationship between micro and macro, and price stability. Post Keynesian Conference, September 27, 2014
This video was delivered at the Post Keynesian Conference (in a session in honor of Fred Lee), September 27, 2014.
Introduction to Microeconomics
Livingston College, Rutgers University
1979-80 Academic Year
A. Problems to Be Considered
B. Economy as a Whole
A. Nature and Form of the Manufacturing Firm
B. The Base of Pricing: How Firms Reckon their Income
C. Technical Costs of Production
D. Managerial Costs of Production
E. Gross Profit Margin
F. Costs Relevant for Pricing and Price Setting
G. Alternative Approach to Pricing: The Supply and Demand Approach
H. Problems and Readings
B. Industry — Defined and Discussed
C. Market — Defined and Discussed
D. Pricing Within a Market and Industry
E. General Input-Output Framework
F. Alternative to Market Pricing: The Supply and Demand Approach
G. Problems and Readings
A. Introduction to a Simplified Form of the General Input-Output Framework
B. From Market Prices to Cost of Production Prices
C. Cost of Production Prices and Changes in the Components of the Pricing Equation
D. Cost of Production Prices and Distribution
This is the list of the books and articles I read between 1974-79/80. These are the kinds of books/articles that any young gung-ho Post Keynesian/heterodox economist would be reading. From June 1971 to Dec. 2013 I have read 12,674 items.
In Saudi Arabia October 1973-August 1975
- The General Theory, by J. M. Keynes
- Theories of Value and Distribution since Adam Smith, by M. Dobb
- Monopoly Capital, by P. Baran and P. Sweezy
- Microeconomic Theory, by C. E. Ferguson
- The New Industrial State, by J. K. Galbraith
- Economic Essays on Value, Competition and Utility, by V. K. Dmitriev
- Oligopoly and Technical Progress by P. Sylos-Labini
At Columbia University, September 1976 – May 1977
- Essays in the Theory of Economic Fluctuations, by M. Kalecki
- The Pricing of Manufacturers, by R. H. Barback
- “Price Theory and Business Behaviour”, by R. L. Hall and C. J. Hitch
- Theory of Economic Dynamics, by M. Kalecki
- “Pricing in the Trade Cycle,” by Nordhaus and Godley
- “The Price Policy of Firms, the Level of Employment and Distribution of Income in the Short-run,” by D. J. Harris
- “A Theory of the Determination of the Mark-up Under Oligopoly,” A. S. Eichner
- A Theory of Profits, by A. Wood
- Structural Change and Economic Growth, by P. Leon
- “An Essay on Post-Keynesian Theory: A New Paradigm in Economics”, by A. S. Eichner and J. A. Kregel
- Industrial Prices and Their Relative Inflexibility, by G. C. Means
- The Megacorp and Oligopoly, by A. S. Eichner
- Rate of Profit, Distribution, and Growth, by J. A. Kregel
- Linear Algebra, by S. Lipschutz
- “The Irrelevance of Returns to Scale in Sraffa’s Analysis”, by J. Eatwell
- “Competition and the Evolution of the Capitalist Mode of Production”, by J. A. Clifton
At the University of Edinburgh, September 1977-June 1978
- “This Age of Leontief…and Who? An Interpretation,’ by A. L. Levine
- Money and the Real World, by P. Davidson
- A Treatise on Money, by J. M. Keynes
- “A Distributed Lag Investment Function”, by R. Eisner
- Structural Change in the American Economy, by A. P. Carter
- The Structure of American Economy, by W. W. Leontief
- Manufacturing Business, by P. W. S. Andrews
- The Reconstruction of Political Economy: An Introduction to Post-Keynesian Economics, by J. A. Kregel
- Studies in Company Finance, by B. Tew and R. F. Henderson
At Rutgers University, August 1978 – 1981/83
- Lectures on the Theory of Production, by L. L. Pasinetti
- Sraffa and the Theory of Prices, by A. Roncaglia
- The Behavior of Industrial Prices, by Stigler and Kindhal
- Statistical Cost Analysis, by J. Johnston
- Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities, by P. Sraffa
- “Sraffa’s Theory of Prices and the Post-Keynesian Theory of Price Change and Inflation,” by J. A. Kregel
- “The Irrelevance of Equilibrium Economics”, by N. Kaldor
- Studies in Pricing by P. W. S. Andrews and E. Brunner
Following materials are from Frederic Lee’s personal collection.
- Alfred S. Eichner, Curriculum Vita, January 1988.
- “Alfred S. Eichner Obituary,” New York Times, Feb. 13, 1988.
- Eichner, A. S. 1968. “Business and the Market Mechanism,” in The Business of America, edited by Ivar Berg, pp. 167-200. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World
- Eichner, A. S. 1968. “Public Policy for Growth,” in Manpower Strategy for the Metropolis, edited by Eli Ginzberg and The Conservation of Human Resources Staff, Columbia University, pp. 262-291. New York and London: Columbia University Press.
- Eichner, A. S. 1970. State Development Agencies and Employment Expansion. Policy Papers in Human Resources and Industrial Relations 18. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
- Eichner, A. S. 1971. “Monopoly, the Emergency of Oligopoly and the Case of Sugar Refining: A Reply,” Journal of Law and Economics, 14 (October): 521-527.
- Eichner, A. S. 1973. “A Theory of the Determination of the Mark-up under Oligopoly,” Economic Journal, 83 (December): 1184-1200.
- Eichner, A. S. 1973. “Human Resources Planning,” in New York is Very Much Alive: A Manpower View, edited by Eli Gizberg and The Conservation of Human Resources Staff, Columbia University, pp. 247-309. New York: McGraw-Hill.
- Eichner, A. S. 1974. “Determination of the Mark-up under Oligopoly: A Comment,” Economic Journal, 84 (December): 967-980.
- Eichner, A. S. 1975. “The Megacorp as a Social Innovation and Business History,” Business and Economic History: Proceedings of Business History Conference, vol. 4: 46-66.
- Eichner, A. S. 1975. “A Theory of the Determination of the Mark-up under Oligopoly: A Further Reply,” Economic Journal, 85 (March): 149-150. (also DeLorme and Rubin’s comment, pp. 148-149).
- Eichner, A. S. 1977. “The Geometry of Macroeconomic Balance,” Australian Economic Papers, 16 (28): 53-71.
- Swann, D. 1977. Review of The Megacorp and Oligopoly by Alfred S. Eichner, Economic Journal, 87 (June): 362-364.
- Marris, R. 1977. Review of The Megacorp and Oligopoly by Alfred S. Eichner, Journal of Economic Literature, 15 (4): 1340-1343.
- Eichner, A. S. 1978. Review of Studies in Pricing by P. W. S. Andrews and Elizabeth Brunner, Journal of Economic Literature, 16 (4): 1436-1438.
- Eichner, A. S. 1979. “‘An Anthropogenic’ Approach to the Labor Market,” Eastern Economic Journal, 5 (3): 349-366.
- Eichner, A. S. 1979. “New Approach on Inflation,” New York Times, July 25.
- Eichner, A. S. 1979. “Stagflation: the Worst of Two Worlds,” New York Times, May 27.
- Eichner, A. S. 1980. “The Post-Keynesian Interpretation of Stagflation: Changing Theory to fit the Reality,” U.S. Congress, Joint Economic Committee, Stagflation: The Causes, Effects and Solutions, Special Study on Economic Change, December. Pp. 38-66.
- Forman, L. and A. S. Eichner. 1980. “A Post-Keynesian Short-Period Model: Some Preliminary Econometric Results,” Center for Economic and Anthropogenic Research, SUNY-Purchase, Working Paper No. 4, May.
- Eichner, A. S. 1981. “Expectations in Economics,” U.S. Congress, Joint Economic Committee, Expectations and the Economy, Government Printing Office, December. Pp. 113-118.
- Eichner, A. S. 1982. “The Micro Foundations of the Corporate Economy,” Center for Economic and Anthropogenic Research, Working Paper No. 11. December.
- Eichner, A. S. 1985. “The lack of progress in economics,” Nature 313 (Feb): 427-428; and P. Dasgupta and F. Hahn. 1983. “To the defense of economics,” Nature 317 (October): 589-590.
- Eichner, A. S. 1986. Letter to Nature (on 1985 article)
- Eichner, A. S. 1986. “The lack of progress in economics: Rejoinder.”
- Eichner, A. S. 1987. Instructor’s Manual for Macrodynamics of Advanced Market Economies. Unpublished.
- Eichner A. S. nd. “Monopolistic Practices and Competition.”
- Eichner, A. S. and E. M. Ochoa. 1988. “The Structure of Industrial Prices,” paper presented at the ASSA annual meetings, New York City, December 28.
- Tributes in the Memory of Alfred S. Eichner, edited by Frederic S. Lee, 1991 [Aaron Warne, Eli Ginzberg, Richard Bartel, Myron Sharpe, Frederic S. Lee, Len Forman, Miles Groves, Toshio Ogata, William Milberg, Paul Davidson, Philip Arestis, Roy Rotheim, and Jan Kregel]
Frederic S. Lee. “The Role of Micro in Heterodox Economics: A View of a Heterodox Micro Theorist,” Presented at the Association for Heterodox Economics Annual Conference, University of Greenwich, London, UK. July 3, 2014. [click on link to download presentation slides]
Thank you all for purchasing books and journals. 962 books have been sold. The book and journal sale is now closed (June 13, 2014).
The purpose of the Fund shall be to provide scholarships for tuition and fees, up to three classes per semester, for doctoral heterodox economics students.
The students eligible for assistance must be enrolled in a doctoral heterodox economics program and demonstrate financial need.
Preference will be given to students enrolled in the UMKC heterodox doctoral economics program. In addition, preference will be given (in order of preference) to:
- Students who have no scholarship support at all and need the support to continue in their heterodox doctoral program; and
- Students who have only partial scholarship support and need additional support to continue in their heterodox doctoral program.
Scholarships will be awarded prior to the fall and spring semesters on an annual basis. The Fund will not provide scholarship aid for dissertation credit hours or for credit hours that are not directly relevant for the completion of the doctoral program’s course work.
Scholarships are not renewable; however, previous recipients may reapply.
Varies. Tuition and fees for up to three classes per semester.
June 1 and November 1. [Apply Here]
Call for Contributions
Your contribution to honor the work of Frederic Lee and to support the education of doctoral students is appreciated. Contribute to the Fund here.
Studies in the Origins and Development of Growth Theory, 1925 – 1950
D. L. Clark
University of Sydney
An extremely important dissertation that starts with Quesnay and Marx, deals with Leontief, Dmitriev, and Bortkiewicz, goes on to Austrian capital theory, Fritz Burchardt, and the Kiel School, and ends with Hobson, Ayres, and Adolph Lowe. This dissertation was extremely novel at the time it was written and remains so today since most heterodox economists have no idea who Burchardt, Lowe, and the Kiel School were. (FSL)
[Unfortunately the microfilm copy of the dissertation is not very good, so it will take some straining to read the dissertation.]
Table of Contents
(a) On Historical Studies in Development
(b) On Growth Theory
(c) Aims and Scope of the Thesis
(a) The Tableau Economique of Francois Quesnay
(b) Dynamic Aspects of the Tableau Economique
(c) The Reproduction Models of Karl Marx
(d) The Tableau Economique and the Reproduction Models
(a) The Tableau Economique and Leontief’s Tableau
(b) Marx and Leontief
(c) Leontief and the Soviet Experiments with Input-Output Tables in the 1902s
(d) From Physiocracy to Walrasian General Equilibrium Theory: The Influence of A. N. Isnard
(e) Leontief and the Kiel School
(a) Some Limitations of Input-Output Analysis
(b) An Outline of the Transformation Problem
(c) Solutions to the Transformation Problem: the Contributions of V. K. Dmitriev and L. von Bortkiewicz
(d) An Essential Digression: the ‘Classical’ Growth Model of J. von Neumann
(e) The Impact and Continuing Significance of the Transformation Problem
(a) The Austrian Theory of Capital: Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk’s Theory of Capital
(b) Knut Wicksell’s Revision of Böhm-Bawerk’s Theory of Capital
(c) The 1930s Controversies: F. A. Burchardt’s Critique of Austrian Capital Theory
(d) The Demise of the Kiel Tradition
(a) Thorstein Veblen
(b) J. A. Hobson
(c) C. E. Ayres and B. S. Keirstead
(d) S. Merlin
(e) Adolph Lowe
(a) Soviet Dynamics of the 1920s: The Feldman Model
(b) A Polish Marxist: Michal Kalecki
(c) Japanese Experiments with the Reproduction Models
(d) A Related Swedish Model: G. Cassel’s Model of a Regularly Expanding Economy
- Theories of Distribution from Ricardo to Sraffa
- Nuti’s comments on Dobb’s “Some Reflections on the Sraffa System and the Critique of the so-called Neo-Classical Theory of Value and Distribution”
- Correspondence: Pasinetti, Steedman
- Sweezy Correspondence
- Pasinetti Correspondence [14/1/1974][4/3/1974]
- Draft of Paragraph
- Recent Trends in Economic Theory in Britain and America
- Nuti’s “The Transformation of Labour Values into Production Prices and the Marxian Theory of Exploitation
- Lecture on Marxism and the Crisis in Economics
- Some Notes
- A Critical Review of Recent Tendencies in Bourgeois Economic Thought
- Lecture on ‘Some Recent Topics of Discussion in Bourgeois Economic Theory’
- The Seminars on Marxism and a Letter to Sraffa
- A Note on the Discussion
- The ‘Crisis’ in Economic Theory: some random comments on the debate
Note: The above material from the Dobb Papers were used in my book: F. Lee, A History of Heterodox Economics: Challenging the mainstream in the twentieth century, Routledge, 2009. You might want to read the relevant chapters so to gain an understanding of the historical context of the above material.
A Graduate Course in Advanced Heterodox Economics, UMKC. April 24, 2014
UMKC Economist Dr. Fred Lee talks with Stephanie about the micro/maco distinction, Post-Keynesian price theory, the problems with neoclassical economics and his ideas about how to move the discipline in a more useful direction. (April 18, 2014)
Click here to Check out this episode!
[Note: This post is an excerpt from an email to the AFEE mailing list, April 10, 2014]
The period of time that my damning statement refers to is circa 1890 to 1926/27. Second it deals with a set of Oxford dons and tutors who were involved in teaching economics/political economy to Lit. Hum and History students mostly as an elective (except for those going into the civil service and then they had to study J. S. Mill). Teaching actual economics students per se did not start until 1904 with the introduction of the Diploma in Economics; and then in 1920 with the introduction of the Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) undergraduate honors degree. It was these dons and tutors who pushed for economics at Oxford, not Edgeworth the Drummond Professor of Political Economy. These dons were mostly educated in Lit. Hum. (the classics) but under the influence of the philosopher T. H. Green and Toynbee, they become interested in the social question and hence economics. Given their background, they brought to economics a historical perspective much more in line with the historical school at the time and a concern with the social question (many of them were involved in the Christian socialist movement); and the economic theory they used in their lectures was a simple supply and demand approach—more like J. S. Mill than Marshall’s Principles. They were not interested in Marxism/syndicalism of the time or in Marxian economic theory. In any case, their view of Marshall’s approach to economics was that it in many ways really avoiding the social questions they were interested in and how to address them. They saw Marshall’s contribution in economics as overly dry, theoretical, apt to direct students to study economics in the absence of the burning social questions, and make students apolitical. Examples of this social-economic engagement that they promoted at Oxford which apparently hds no counter-part at Cambridge are the following:
Help established Ruskin College and got Ruskin students admitted to the Diploma of Economics where they were taught reasonable economics as opposed to Marxian economics which they were apt to get some of at Ruskin.
Were involved in the Workers Education Association, in the establishment of the Barnett House for social studies at Oxford (that is for the study of the major social issues of the time), and in the living wage movement in the 1920s.
Finally they established The Economic Review, the first economics journal in the UK before Marshall and the Economic Journal.
Coming from a Christian socialist perspective and interest in dealing with major social-economic issues of the day, they conceived of economics in a different manner than what was promoted by Marshall and was certainly coming out of Cambridge after Marshall retired. So their antipathy towards Marshall, Marshallian economics, and Cambridge has a real basis. Of course in the end Cambridge won and this opposition to Marshall/Cambridge way of doing economics was lost. This was in part due to the fact that the introduction of PPE and its growth in numbers required the hiring of young economists school in Marshall’s Principles who thought these dons which help create PPE (that is their jobs) were worse than useless as economists. And as soon as they has significant numbers and these old dons retired or died, they took over the economics component and fully implement neoclassical economics (this story is told in Young and Lee’s book onOxford Economics). The assumption that Marshall was universally liked and what came out of Cambridge was superior to anything else that existed anyplace else in the UK, like Oxford, is a whig understanding of history. If one knows the history, even if incompletely, then it will be realized that my statement is not extreme; rather it is unpopular because it questions the superiority and the right way of doing economics represented by Cambridge. It should be noted that the time period being dealt with is 1890-1926/27. It is not the 1930s—so one needs to get the time period correct before talking about Cambridge social-democratic or socialist. In any case, to fruitfully engage in this discussion, the following material is useful; I have also attached some relevant material*:
- Ball, Oona Howard. 1923. Sidney Ball: Memories and Impressions of ‘An Ideal Don’. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
- Craik, William W. 1964. The Central Labour College 1909 ‑ 29. London: Lawrence & Wishart.
- Jones, Peter d’A. 1968. The Christian Socialist Revival, 1877 ‑ 1914. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
- Kadish, Alon. 1982. The Oxford Economists in the Late Nineteenth Century. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Kadish, Alon. 1989. Historians, Economists, and Economic History. London: Routledge.
- Kadish, A. 1989, Historians, Economists and Economic History
- Kadish, A. 1986. Apostle Arnold: the Life and Death of Arnold Toynbee, 19852-1883
- Koot, Gerard M. 1988. English Historical Economics, 1870 ‑ 1926: The Rise of Economic History and Neomercantilism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Oxford and Working‑class Education. 1909. Oxford: University Press.
- Young, W. and Lee, F. S., Oxford Economics and Oxford Economists
- Lee, F. S. 2009. A History of Heterodox Economics. London: Routledge.
Under Documents on my homepage: http://heterodoxnews.com/leefs
- Oxford Economics and Oxford Economists, 1922-1971
There is also another thread in this discussion concerning the reasonableness of Marshall’s economics as represented in his Principles of Economics. As far as economists in the UK (except for those deviants in Oxford) and the US were concerned in the period 1900 to 1920s, the Principles was economics; and they meant by this the supply and demand engine Marshall developed in the book. Of course some people did not like that engine and preferred his more descriptive analysis of how industry and enterprises worked—and there are insights in these discussions. However, these people emerged in the 1920s and after and were considered minor Marshallians, such as D. H. MacGregor. And of course, this recognition of this side of Marshall did not really occur until the 1980s. This is an important note, because the non-neoclassical side to Marshall was recognized by P. W. S. Andrews (through his association with MacGregor) in the 1940s [see The Economics of P. W. S. Andrews: A Collection (edited with Peter E. Earl), Oxford Economics and Oxford Economists, my Post Keynesian Price Theory, and “David H. MacGregor and Industrial Economics at Oxford, 1920 – 1945.” In Marshall and Marshallians on Industrial Economics, edited by T. Raffaelli, T. Nishizawa, and S. Cook], the question is why is not Andrews recognized like Marshall. Andrews certainly spent more time observing enterprises and what they do, not to mention how cartels worked, and even presented testimony on resale price maintenance for books (which was successful)—Andrews had a far superior understanding of industry than Marshall or any other economist circa 1950/55. The reason for his exclusion is that Andrews recognized that Marshall supply and demand engine was faulty to the core and refused to use it. It is because he rejected Marshall’s theoretical engine that he is ignored, since those who like the evolutionary Marshall and the enriched Marshall supply and demand stories do not reject the engine.
So this brings us back to that engine which Marshall developed in his Principles. One point to note is that it was this engine that was taught to students in their economic theory courses; all the descriptive material was taught in other courses. A second point to note is that I actually teach the Principles to my graduate students each year. I go through the first 5 books—I just do not have time to get to book 6 (which we know is rather theoretically incoherent). I am probably the only person who actually teaches Marshall in the US and even the UK on a yearly basis. So UMKC graduate/doctoral students are quite familiar with Marshall, which must be unique among all doctoral programs—my lecture notes on Marshall can be found at http://heterodoxnews.com/
1. economics only deals with relatively scarce things.
2. to escape heterogeneous agents (consumers, enterprises) the average consumer/representative consumer is assumed and so is the representative firm—gee it looks like the representative agent approach found in mainstream economics
3. Concavity is assume, asserted, or even worked at: downward sloping demand curves, upward sloping supply curves (especially in the long period), the use of diminishing returns—see the attachment of a poem on concavity
4. wants are restricted to natural wants; and the law of diminishing marginal utility is a natural feature of the individual
5. production is linear as opposed to circular—it starts with limited non-produced inputs that is relative scarcity; and then there is the congealed efforts and sacrifice to represent inputs/production/output in the long period
6. incoherent long period market supply curve; incoherent short period analysis of markets, especially when the representative firm sets a price that is off the supply curve when the price is below minimum average total costs.
7. and finally Book 6 is incoherent (which has been known almost from the time it was written.
So this raises the real question of whether there is anything in Principles? After all the supply and demand engine is very neoclassical and also very theoretically incoherent—and this fact cannot be escaped. So somehow thinking that teaching Marshall in the period 1890-1920s-1930s was something great because it would be more interdisciplinary simply do not get it. The theory was incoherent and it was designed to support the status quo; and it was explicitly used to attack, reject, and inoculate students against Marxism (see my book on the History of Heterodox Economics)—students who wanted something different (that is Marxism) were treated badly just like students today who want something different. If you think that teaching in the period 1890-1920s-1930s was really great, I suggest that you actually look at what was taught and what a lecturer had to teach (they were highly controlled), and whether you could deviate (which you could not)—do not think that the past was rosy; my investigations such that this aspect of economics has not changed in the last 125 years. Do you teach something that is theoretically incoherent so that you can be more interdisciplinary? I teach Principles to give my students an idea of neoclassical microeconomic theory developed in the 20th century; and as long as this understanding is necessary to be a good economist, I will continue to teach it. However, I do not teach it to give students a good theoretical understanding of how the economy works—it does not; and nor do I teach it to be interdisciplinary. If you believe that Marshall’s supply and demand engine provides some good theoretical insights of how the economy works, then become a neoclassical economist. On the other hand, you can, like Andrews, completely drop Marshall’s supply and demand engine and try to build an alternation heterodox microeconomic theory. This is very hard to do; and you will be attacked (like Andrews) by the mainstream because you question their core set of beliefs/theory. Of course you will not be a respectable economist.
- Introduction: Oxford Political Economy, 1880-1900, in From Oxford Political Economy To Oxford Economics, 1900-1939
- Sydney Ball
- Notes for a Book on Sidney Ball, Socialism, and Oxford Political Economy
- Concavity: The Pivotal Point (or) The Mathematical Economist’s Anthem, by S. Subramanian
NEOCLASSICAL MICROECONOMICS FROM A HETERODOX PERSPECTIVE
Frederic S. Lee
Department of Economics
University of Missouri-Kansas City
Dates Developed: 1981-3, 2001-14
For many years (1981-3, 2001-14) I have developed a critical presentation of neoclassical (or mainstream) economics for my graduate students. I had intended to convert my lecture notes into a book, but health problem got in the way. So I am unable to complete the task. Therefore, I am making my notes/drafts of chapters available to anyone to either complete the task or at least use the notes for their own teaching and research. I have written an article about the course which can be found at this link. The problem sets, mathematical notes, and assessment (tests) can be found linked on the course outline on my homepage (http://heterodoxnews.com/leefs) under courses-Economics 5502: http://heterodoxnews.com/leefs/courses/econ-5502/.
The lecture notes/chapters have changed over time, but the core has remained the same (see below). You will find that some Parts are relatively complete and others are not; also some parts are better developed and others are not. This is why I have not published the lectures—much work needs to be done. The lectures are calculus based in part because higher level mathematics provide no additional understanding of the theory and because the mathematics background of my students was only calculus. Moreover, the lectures are both historically oriented (that is trying to provide an historical understanding of the development of neoclassical microeconomics since 1900); and critical in that neoclassical microeconomics is shown not to be a theoretically sound body of arguments—but precisely the opposite (I and Steve Keen published an article summarizing many of the criticisms—see the link). Finally, the lectures try to provide an overall view of what neoclassical microeconomics is theoretically about. That is, neoclassical microeconomics deals with the economy as a whole in a disaggregate fashion and tries to explain how the economy works through the price mechanism. Whether one agrees with the theory or not is beside the point; neoclassical microeconomics attempts to provide a coherent theory of how the economy as a whole works. This is why any attacks on the theoretical coherence and empirical support of neoclassical microeconomics is vigorously attacked: such as the administered price/administered wage controversy, the cost controversy, and the marginalist/full-cost/normal cost pricing controversy (and of course there are others such as the capital controversy). These controversies directly attacked the theoretical coherence of the price mechanism though the use of empirical evidence. These controversies represent the most significant attack on neoclassical microeconomics (hence neoclassical economics as a whole); and the controversies are not yet over. The lecture notes deal with these controversies in the ultimate chapter which is not yet written and this is to be brought together to deliver a final pronouncement of neoclassical microeconomics. Somebody will now have to write that chapter.
Find out more here.