Wendell Gordon presents the philosophy of economic institutionalism clearly and evocatively, in the tradition of the pragmatism of Peirce, James, and Dewey. In Gordon's view, the institutionalism of Veblen and Ayres, the only indigenous American school of economic thought, offered the most hope for understanding and solving the economic problems of the twentieth century.
The institutional approach—long known as the Texas School—looks at social order as ongoing process. The effort to explain how our attitudes have developed and how they are changed is central to this approach. Gordon argues that the dynamics of technical change, the institutionalism of behavior norms, human biology, and the resource endowment of the universe interact to create and change these attitudes.
Gordon thoroughly analyzes both orthodox and Marxist economic approaches with regard to institutional economics. He also examines such other radical approaches as underconsumption and the single tax. There is a discussion of the procedures and problems involved in testing for the validity of institutional theory and the analysis of economic problems in the institutional frame of reference. In addition, inflation, energy, multinationals, property rights, business organization, unemployment, and other issues are considered from an institutional perspective.
Part I. Institutional Theory And Comparative Theory
2. The Institutional Theory of Economic Progress: Technology and Institutions
3. The Value Theory of Institutional Economics
4. Other Concepts of Value
Appendix. The Possibility of Maximization
5. Microeconomics and Decision Making
Appendix. Decision Making and Price Theory
6. Macroeconomics and Decision Making
7. Dynamic Economic Process
8. Marxian and Other “Radical” Theories
Part II. Research Methods
9. Research Methods
Part III. Case Studies And Policy
10. The Institution of Property
11. The Limited-Liability Corporation
12. Government and Business
13. The Multinationals
14. The Energy-Ecology “Crisis” of the 1970s
15. The Monetary System
17. The Job Guarantee
18. The Larger Picture