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By Gerd Hardack, Dieter Karras, Ben Fine

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Finally, it seems important to notice that even in the case of an economic system where there is no uncertainty Professor Knight considers that there would be co-ordinators, though they would perform only routine function. He immediately adds that they would be "without responsibility of any sort," which raises the question by whom are they paid and why? It seems that nowhere does Professor Knight give a reason why the price mechanism should be superseded. " It has sometimes been assumed that a firm is limited in size under perfect competition if its cost curve slopes upward,43 while under imperfect competition, it is limited in size because it will not pay to produce more than the output at which marginal cost is equal to marginal revenue.

This principle is of quite general application. s A collection of phYSical things can always be treated as if they were divisible into units of a single commodity so long as their relative prices can be assumed to be unchanged, in the particular problem in hand. So long as the prices of other consumption goods are assumed to be given, they can be lumped together into one commodity 'money' or 'purchasing power in general'. Similarly, in other applications, if changes in relative wages are to be neglected, it is quite legitimate to assume all labour homogeneous.

Even if it is an inferior good, so that the income effect is negative, the demand curve will still behave in an orthodox manner so long as the proportion of income spent upon the commodity is small, so that the income effect is small. Even if neither of these conditions is satisfied, so that the commodity is an inferior good which plays an important part in the budgets of its consumers, it still does not necessarily follow that a fall in price will diminish the amount demanded. For even a large negative income effect may be outweighed by a large substitution effect.

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A Short History of Socialist Economic Thought by Gerd Hardack, Dieter Karras, Ben Fine


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