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Additional info for A Future of Capitalism: The Economic Vision of Robert Heilbroner
It is more useful to see capitalism as a social order based on power as Heilbroner's definition of economics implies. The fundamental nature of capitalism may be the acquiescence of power, and the resulting price movements are purely an epiphenomenon (Stanfield 1995, Chapter 1). Heilbroner argues that the social dynamics that underpinned older societies may still exert their force in a modern market system. Concentrating only on the market process may 'throw a veil over other processes- a veil which obscures understandings and recognitions that, were they present, would cause 'economics' as well as market societies to look very different from the way they do (Heilbroner 1988a, 17).
First, as I stated earlier, each man was interested in explaining the social system as a whole. What they designed were not reductionist models. Each was a The Methodology of Worldly Philosophy 41 comprehensive model which today would stray into the related fields of history, sociology and psychology. The worldly philosophers designed systematic, integrated and interrelated models of human provisioning. None of the worldly philosophers were content to provide only a piece of the puzzle; they offered comprehensive solutions.
Heilbroner points out (Heilbroner 1987, 113) that even if one takes the traditional choice theoretic view of economics, one must admit that choices and trade-offs are made in society and not by society. This is a very critical distinction in understanding Heilbroner's method. His criticisms are not randomly aimed at the obvious simplifications and abstractions of the neoclassical model. His criticisms are directed at strategic deficiencies in the infrastructure of the neoclassical method. Therefore, before we proceed further I must more fully define the methodologies and mythologies of the neoclassical model.