| 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 by Irwin Collier (April 21, 2017 ) - 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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