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Palgrave Macmillan

Equilibrium and Evolution

Alfred Marshall and the Marshallians

ISBN 9780230302709
Publication Date January 2012
Formats Hardcover Ebook (PDF) Ebook (EPUB) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

Equilibrium and Evolution examines the deep nature of Marshall's economic thought and its implications for future generations of Marshallians. The central thesis of Neil Hart's assessment is that Marshall's failure to reconcile and integrate the forces making for evolution and development with the forces making for transient economic order left the way open for his followers to ignore his claims for the power of evolutionary method. The subsequent development of equilibrium reasoning by his Cambridge followers and others emasculated the deep evolutionary content of Marshall's scheme. This broke the necessary connection between the self organisation and self transformation of markets in capitalist based economic systems, and rendered the stationary state as the appropriate mirror into which to reflect the real world. As the author makes clear this is a deeply distorting mirror, one that Marshall explicitly rejected. The reasons for Marshall's fate are shown to be partly Marshall's character, along with the anti-evolutionary spirit of the early twentieth century. The importance of evolutionary thought for the understanding of modern economies emerges as a key theme of the book.

NEIL HARTSchool of Economics, University of New South Wales, Australia.

Introduction: Competing Assessments of Alfred Marshall
The Development of Marshall's Thought
Marshall's 'Economic Biology'
Marshall's Equilibrium Analysis and the 'Reconciliation Problem'
Sraffa's Critique and 'Marshall's Theory'
Getting Marshall 'Out of the Way'
The Professionalisation of Economics and Marshall's Theory
Increasing Returns and Economic Progress
Epilogue: Marshall, the Marshallians and Modern Economics


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