Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Utilitarianism without Utility: A Missed Opportunity in Alfred Marshall's Theory of Market Choice

Contents:

Author Info

  • Marco Dardi
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    This article argues that Marshall's theory of market choice was originally elaborated within the classic framework of the use value/exchangeable value dichotomy, with reference to a version of utilitarianism that did not assume measurable utility. The key concepts were those of marginal transaction and consumer surplus or rent, both of which were expressed exclusively in terms of money transfers. Later on, Marshall moved toward an explicitly utilitarian framework by emphasizing the marginal utility of money, possibly because he had stumbled on the problem of the determinateness of marginal demand prices. The article shows that, by moving in this direction, Marshall committed himself to a standpoint that undermined the generality of his approach to consumer behavior and obscured his promising ideas concerning interpersonal comparisons of welfare. It is also argued that this move was actually unnecessary, as the early framework could have enabled Marshall to deal with the problem of determinateness in less restrictive terms.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://hope.dukejournals.org/content/40/4/613.full.pdf+html
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Duke University Press in its journal History of Political Economy.

    Volume (Year): 40 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 4 (Winter)
    Pages: 613-632

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:hop:hopeec:v:40:y:2008:i:4:p:613-632

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: Duke University Press 905 W. Main Street, Suite 18B Durham, NC 27701
    Phone: (919) 660-1800
    Fax: (919) 684-8974
    Web page: http://www.dukeupress.edu/Catalog/ViewProduct.php?viewby=journal&productid=45614

    Related research

    Keywords: Alfred Marshall; theory of market choice; utilitarianism;

    References

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hop:hopeec:v:40:y:2008:i:4:p:613-632. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Center for the History of Political Economy Webmaster).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.