By Neil Hart (auth.)
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Extra info for Alfred Marshall and Modern Economics: Equilibrium Theory and Evolutionary Economics
The counter forces which are continually defeating the forces which make for economic equilibrium are more pervasive and more deeply rooted in the constitution of the modern economic system than we commonly realise . . The apparatus which economists have built up for the analysis of supply and demand in their relations to prices does not seem to be particularly helpful for the purpose of an inquiry into these broader aspects of increasing returns. : 533) Throughout his article Young emphasised the fact that change becomes progressive and propagates itself in a cumulative way.
Rather, as Marshall had perceived, actual economies undergoing change were the subject of forces that were cumulative and irreversible in nature, thereby defeating the assumed equilibrating forces required for equilibrium analysis. The signiﬁcance of Young’s arguments for the difﬁculties associated with Marshall’s long-period analysis are obvious; we are now back to the issues Marshall had partially concealed in Appendix H of the later editions of the Principles. If forces such as cumulative causation are to be associated with the laws of return, and there is no reason to deny this in an evolutionary setting, then how is it possible to interpret movements along supply schedules?
36 In this role, Marshall was particularly concerned to present his subject in a way which emphasised the solidarity of its principles; one that had ﬁnally overcome the ‘battle of methods’ that threatened its existence in the middle of the nineteenth century. Marshall did not set out to create a doctrinal ‘school’; instead, Marshall emphasised what he claimed to be continuity in economic thought. Further, Marshall was willing to compromise his own views on the nature and method of economic analysis in order to facilitate the professionalisation process.
Alfred Marshall and Modern Economics: Equilibrium Theory and Evolutionary Economics by Neil Hart (auth.)