This book offers a new model for contemporary economic behavior that accounts for changes since neoclassical and Marxian microeconomics were formulated over a century ago. By incorporating real time into the analysis of sales and purchases, the phenomena of product innovation, advertising and distribution, the provision of consumer credit, and, ultimately, the production of a changing workforce all become intrinsic to microeconomic analysis rather than being treated as extraneous to fundamental theory.
Economics in Real Time transforms the analysis of contemporary sales and purchases. In mainstream economics the series of purchases, say, of a personal computer, then of software upgrades, peripherals, on-line services, and even support services are analyzed as discrete, essentially unrelated transactions. However counterintuitive, this approach is theoretically necessary to sustain the free-market narrative, its price and general equilibrium theories, and its efficiency and welfare theorems. Economics in Real Time instead links such related purchases within what is called a "sale/purchase state" occupying the time interval that begins with the initial purchase of the PC and ends only when all of the PC's services have been exchanged to the buyer. Under this analysis, typical contemporary sale/purchase states, as for automobiles, benefit plans, and electronic goods, place the purchaser in continuing, often dependent relationships to multiple sellers, at least some of which were not even overt partners to the initial purchase. Moreover they typically impose a continuing stream of expenditures upon the purchaser, as for automobile upkeep or music CDs, and so forth.
Economics in Real Time analyzes a contemporary economy as shaped in both its narrowly economic and broadly social features by these sale/purchase states. It draws a radically different picture of its terrain, challenging at the most fundamental level both the relevance and the theoretical warrant of the free-market conception.
"...this book is largely a serious (and, in my view, quite balanced) appraisal of neoclassical and Marxian theories, focusing on their treatments of time. It deserves a look on this basis alone."
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