The political economy of Gunnar Myrdal : an institutional basis for the transformation problem /
James Angresano.
Cheltenham, UK ; Lyme, NH : Edward Elgar, c1997.
xiii, 197 p. ; 25 cm.
More Details
Cheltenham, UK ; Lyme, NH : Edward Elgar, c1997.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. 181-194) and index.
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Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1998-05-01:
Educated first as a lawyer and later as a neoclassical economist, Gunnar Myrdal ended his life an icon of institutionalism. This work chronicles Myrdal's transition from an influential economic theorist in the Stockholm school during the 1920s to a practicing political economist actively shaping Swedish economic policy during the 1930s. Following his study of race relations in the US (An American Dilemma, 1944), Myrdal was transformed ultimately into a social scientist whose methodology ranged far beyond the boundaries of traditional economics. Unfortunately, this fascinating intellectual odyssey is entwined with a less engaging critique of current economic policies in Eastern Europe. The free market shock therapy prescribed by conventional neoclassical economics is condemned for its narrow ideological focus, which downplays the inequitable hardships inflicted in pursuit of laissez faire. In the tradition of Myrdal's institutional approach, the author advocates a broader focus incorporating social and political factors into the effort to transform former East bloc economies. Put in this broader perspective, current Eastern European economic policy is found wanting when compared with China's less market-oriented attempt at economic transformation. The high point of the book is reserved for the appendix: two interviews with Gunnar Myrdal in which Myrdal's intellect sparkles through unfiltered. Upper-division undergraduate through faculty. R. S. Hewett Drake University
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Choice, May 1998
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Main Description
The book certainly does provide the reader with a very useful investigation of Myrdal s intellectual metamorphosis from his early training as a neoclassical economist to that of a broadly-defined institutionalist economist . . . Angresano s book is a welcome addition to the growing body of literature assessing Myrdal s contributions to economics. While a review of his life and work can be found in other books and journal articles, the attempt to link with present-day issues regarding the restructuring of the CEE countries is fascinating and, indeed, quite original. The author deserves praise for having attempted this amalgamation of the historical analysis of Myrdal s ideas with a discussion of the relevance of his approach today. Mario Seccareccia, Review of Social Economy This book is a very useful addition to the literature on economic thought in the 20th century. . . . very useful and interesting, and provides delightful reading. Gilles Dostaler, The Economic Journal This book provides an evaluation of the intellectual development of Gunnar Myrdal, emphasizing his methodology, his beliefs about economics and the role of economists in modern society. It explains how Gunnar Myrdal became an institutional economist and how this perspective influenced his contribution to economic development and attempts to close the gap between rich and poor countries. The main argument of the book is that economists, despite being trained in the orthodox neoclassical tradition, can develop an alternative conception that is more relevant and appropriate for analysis and policy making in developing and transition economies. Much of the discussion focuses on the evolution of Gunnar Myrdal s intellectual development and his contributions to transformation issues in an historical context. Specific issues discussed include political and social problems and transformation policy for Central and Eastern Europe. The Political Economy of Gunnar Myrdal will be welcomed by academics and students researching in the fields of the history of economic thought, comparative economics and economic development.
Table of Contents
List of Tables
Transformation Policy: Searching for a Useful Perspectivep. 1
Gunnar Myrdal I: 1915-33, The Years of 'High Theory'p. 32
Gunnar Myrdal II: 1929-38, Political and Social Economistp. 48
Gunnar Myrdal III: 1938-87, Emergence as an Institutional Economistp. 67
Myrdalian Contributions to Transformation Issuesp. 97
Two Interviews With Gunnar Myrdalp. 146
Notesp. 168
Referencesp. 181
Indexp. 195
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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