Harvard School

Harvard School


a trend in American bourgeois political economy, devoted to the study of the nature of capitalist cycles and to predictions of the state of the economy, through the application of methods of statistical and mathematical analysis. The Harvard school arose after World War I (1914-18) in close association with the Committee of Economic Research, which had been organized in 1917 at Harvard University. The most important representative of the Harvard school was W. C. Mitchell.

The intensification of economic contradictions under the influence of the general crisis of capitalism made the search for ways to eliminate economic crises especially timely and urgent and led to the appearance of the Harvard school. The views of the Harvard school were widely disseminated in Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, and Poland, where institutes were established in the 1920’s for the study of the economic situation, using statistical materials for economic forecasts. The Harvard school put forward the idea of a “crisis-free cycle,” an example of an apologia for capitalism and a denial of objective economic laws. This conception depicts capitalist cycles as an easily accountable and foreseeable alternation of economic surges and declines. The Harvard school considers changes occurring in the monetary system to be the main cause of cyclical fluctuations and therefore considers the regulation of the money market to be sufficient to eliminate recessions.

Since 1917 the committee has published the journal Economic Barometer to evaluate the early indicators of the economic situation and to predict coming economic recessions. However, since the creators of Economic Barometer based themselves on false methodological premises, scientific economic analysis was replaced by arbitrarily selected statistical calculations. These calculations did not take into account the whole plurality of real relationships operating in the process of capitalist reproduction, and therefore the predictions of the Harvard school have repeatedly proved to be failures.

Contemporary bourgeois political economy widely supports the main idea of the Harvard school as to the possibility of eliminating crises, suggesting as the main means for achieving this goal the economic intervention of the state and the formation of “regulated capitalism.”


Mitchell, W. C. Ekonomicheskie tsikly: Problema i ee postanovka. Moscow-Leningrad, 1930. (Translated from English.)
Al’ter, L. B. Burzhuaznaia politicheskaia ekonomiia SShA. Moscow, 1961. Pages 411-20.


Harvard School


in law, one of the main currents in the field of American sociological jurisprudence. The founder of the Harvard school, R. Pound, was dean of the Harvard Law School of Harvard University for many years.

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