How to give up ‘wrestling with time’: The case of horizontal innovation models

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


There was a period of time in Korea in which Ian’s Marx after Sraffa (Steedman, 1977) was categorically forbidden along with all other books that carried the name of Marx. I, a non-English-speaking fledgling student at the end of the 1970s, pronounced his name ‘eye-an’ when I, cautiously and somewhat pompously, showed a xeroxed copy of it to a small group of wannabe economists. A guy in the group, who was to become a hard-line marginalist economist, corrected me immediately in an embarrassing way. Time has passed since then. I have now grown, hopefully, capable of correcting that guy (his economics, not his pronunciation), and it is Ian, more than anyone else, who has undoubtedly helped me grow like this. I thought, when I first saw Sraffa’s book, that the title was poetic. Ian made the aspiring inchoate, who in the early 1980s was eager to learn Sraffa’s and Sraffian economics, appreciate the full - economic and logical as well as poetic - significance of the book. Ian advised his Ph.D. student struggling with his thesis: ‘You’ve got to work out an n-sector case first and then move on to present a simpler or the simplest case to which the properties of the n-sector case carry over’; he is still trying to follow this advice. Ian, without a word, patted the self-conscious youngster on the shoulder when he found him going through a personal and academic crisis; it was a quiet gesture which, however, gave the recipient unbelievable encouragement; the recipient’s gratitude was inexpressible (and unexpressed) at that time. Ian, about twenty years later, showed his former student what a model teacher would be like when he discussed with him every line of his lecture notes before delivering a series of invited lectures to a group of Korean students, checking whether the students would already know this stuff and might be perplexed if presented with that stuff. Those times did exist and time can never be denied in reality. The same should be true of the economy and economic theory. Ian investigated implications of time required in consumption (Steedman, 2001). He, with Martin Currie, also explored some eminent economists’ ‘wrestling with time’ and, therefore, with capital and production (Currie and Steedman, 1990). His voice was scarcely heard by mainstream economists. Some even seem to have chosen to give up the economist’s struggle with time entirely, trying to get it round by a sleight of hand, ingenious but logically flawed. One such example is horizontal innovation models.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEconomic Theory and Economic Thought
Subtitle of host publicationEssays in Honour of Ian Steedman
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781135183004
ISBN (Print)9780415465113
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jan 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2010 John Vint, J. Stanley Metcalfe, Heinz D. Kurz, Neri Salvadori and Paul A. Samuelson.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • General Business,Management and Accounting


Dive into the research topics of 'How to give up ‘wrestling with time’: The case of horizontal innovation models'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this