David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Critical Review 5 (4):475-495 (1991)
Martin J. Sklar's The Corporate Reconstruction of American Capitalism, a revisionist account of the early antitrust laws in particular and the political economy of the Progressive Era in general, offers a wealth of detailed research and a particularly valuable reinterpretation of the jurisprudence of antitrust law during the period 1890?1911. A neo?Marxist framework of analysis, however, detracts from the work and causes Sklar to misread the valuable evidence he has compiled. By misinterpreting standard economic models of market structure, he incorrectly concludes that the large corporations could ?regulate? the market if the government did not do so. By viewing the political economy as a comprehensively and tightly integrated structure of technologies, property rights, political powers, ideology, and social classes, he fails to give due weight to the diversity of influential interests contending within the political economy, especially within the ?capitalist class,? and shaping its historical transformation.
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