| Paul M Sweezy in 1942 | MR Online Paul M. Sweezy in 1942. Image Source: Harvard Class Album, 1942.

Final examination given in the class “Economics of Socialism,” taught by Paul Sweezy in 1940

Originally published: Economics in the Rear View Mirror on April 21, 2017 by Irwin Collier (more by Economics in the Rear View Mirror) (Posted May 21, 2017)

During my recent archival visit to Harvard, I was able to copy a magnificent trove of final examinations in economics (up through 1949…there is much more going forward, but I had to move on). Now I begin the curatorial work of pairing some of those examinations to course materials I have posted earlier and where the exam questions were missing.

Today I am adding a transcription of Paul Sweezy’s final examination for his 1939-40, second semester course “Economics of Socialism”. —Irwin Collier




Part I
(Reading Period—One Hour)

  1. Write a critical appraisal of EITHER Pigou’s Socialism versus Capitalism OR Lange’s On the Economic Theory of Socialism.

Part II
(Answer all three—One Hour and a Half)

  1. Explain the Marxian theory of value and surplus value. What is your own opinion of its usefulness?
  2. Discuss briefly each of the following: (a) fetishism of commodities; (b) industrial reserve army; (c) law of the falling tendency of the rate of profit.
  3. “It has been shown time and again that an empire, so far from being a source of riches to the mother country, is a distinct economic liability. In view of this, it is difficult to see how any one can continue to uphold the Marx-Lenin theory of imperialism.” Do you agree? Why or why not?

Part III
(One Half Hour)

  1. Discuss EITHER (a) OR (b)

(a) The meaning and significance of costs in a socialist economy
(b) The distribution of income in a socialist economy

Final. 1940.

Source: Harvard University Archives. Harvard University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Papers Printed for Final Examinations, History, History of Religions, … ,Economics, … , Military Science, Naval Science. June, 1940. (HUC 7000.28) Box 5 of 284.

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