Academic, Economist (1903-1983)
Joan Robinson was a lecturer at Cambridge University and the first female honorary fellow of King’s College. She studied economics at Cambridge University under the tutelage of Maurice Dobb, a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain.
Joan Robinson played a key role in the 1960s Cambridge Capital Controversy; a theoretical and mathematical debate between the UK’s Cambridge University and the USA’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The debate revolved around the Neoclassical production function, the role of capital goods and distribution.
As a leading member of ‘the Cambridge School’ of economics, Robinson fervently supported, and attempted to recover the original idea of, Keynes’ ‘General Theory’
Robinson also coined the term ‘monopsony’ in her 1933 book ‘The Economics of Imperfect Competition’. A monopsony has major buying power and is able to affect the market price for the product that it is purchasing; this concept has been applied to many markets, most notably the labour market where employers determine wages.
“The purpose of studying economics is not to acquire a set of ready-made answers to economic questions, but to learn how to avoid being deceived by economists.”
“The misery of being exploited by capitalists is nothing compared to the misery of not being exploited all.”
– Joan Robinson