Do the prices paid for the goods and services people need or the money received for work they do correspond to their real value? Most individuals, after a moment of consideration, would probably answer no. If so, why not? Don t the economic laws of supply and demand govern the prices paid for goods and services in the competitive market?
Fred Haber has looked at this fundamental question and found distortions in the way market economies actually function. He finds the distortions are caused by the influence of power and notes that the most powerful entities in an economy not only have the capability to set and enforce price, but can influence the distribution of their products as well. Just as significantly, the author finds that great amounts of capital are being diverted to speculative ends in real estate, on stock exchanges, in foreign currency. When this happens, less capital is available for productive activities and the creation of meaningful work opportunities. Where free competition used to restrict the exercise of power in the market, the global economy has given rise to consolidations to massive forces whose power now determines ultimate success.
To prove his case, Haber examines the theories of a number of prominent economists and compares these theories with economic reality. The author has invested his work with the kind of rigorous scholarship demanded of an academic study. There is a reason behind this approach.
2. The Market Economy
3. The Formation of Price
Price Formation and the Optimum Allocation of Resources
Price Formation Becomes Price Determination
4. Power or Economic Law
Power in the Economy
The Measurement of Monopoly Power
5. Competition and Other Confrontations
The Competitive Struggle
The Confrontation Between Producer and Wage Earner
A New Formulation of the Law of Value
The Neoclassical View on Distribution
The Confrontation Between Producer and Supplier
The Confrontation Between Producer and Financier
6. The Dynamics of The Market Economy
David Hume Adam Smith Thomas R. Malthus David Ricardo Karl Marx Alfred Marshall J.A. Schumpeter Mark Blaug
7. Economic Growth and The Perspectives of The Market Economy
The Perspectives of Economic Growth and Its Limits
8. The Process of Concentration in The Economy
9. The Evolution of The Rate of Profit
10. Liberalization and Globalization
Summary and Conclusion
About the Author(s)
Haber is not a professional economist; he is a retired managing director with extensive experience in the world of industry. Born in Vienna, he emigrated to Palestine just before World War II and then served in the British Royal Navy. In 1950, he returned to Vienna where he studied economics and management at the University of World Trade, earning the equivalent of both bachelor s and master s degrees. From the late 1950s to the early 1960s, Haber worked in Switzerland as a management consultant before becoming director of a Zurich-based printer specializing in packaging materials. By 1978, Haber was engaged as the general manager of a large printing house in Vevey and continued in this capacity until his retirement in 1991.
His experience suggested that the real world was quite different from the world created by economic theory. After studying a number of prominent economists writing on the market economy and pricing, Haber found convincing evidence that the prices we pay for the goods and services we need are the result of powerful companies imposing supply and manipulating demand. He concludes that this condition results in excessive profits for them, making them grow ever bigger and more powerful. Haber makes proposals to fight this trend by concrete measures. In learning about these matters in this book, readers will be better prepared to face the realities of the 21st Century.