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History versus equilibrium? on the possibility and realist basis of a general critique of traditional equilibrium analysis


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  • Dany Lang
  • Mark Setterfield


This paper responds to Backhouse's (2004) claims that there is no antagonism between history and equilibrium and no case to be made in principle against equilibrium analysis. We first show that Backhouse's partial defense of equilibrium analysis has already been encompassed by heterodox theory. We then identify a "traditional equilibrium approach" to economic analysis and provide a general critique of this approach based on its perceived infidelity to the properties of social reality. Finally, we argue that this exercise exemplifies Lawson's (2005a) thesis that heterodox skepticism of equilibrium analysis is motivated by ontic concerns—that is, concerns with the intrinsic properties of the social material that is being theorized by economists.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by M.E. Sharpe, Inc. in its journal Journal of Post Keynesian Economics.

Volume (Year): 29 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (January)
Pages: 191-209

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Handle: RePEc:mes:postke:v:29:y:2007:i:2:p:191-209

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Keywords: equilibrium; historical time; homeostasis; path dependence; time reversibility;


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Cited by:
  1. Mark Hayes, 2011. "The State of Short-Term Expectation," Working Papers PKWP1107, Post Keynesian Economics Study Group (PKSG).
  2. Kai D. Schmid, 2010. "Medium-run macrodynamics and the consensus view of stabilization policy," Diskussionspapiere aus dem Institut für Volkswirtschaftslehre der Universität Hohenheim 322/2010, Department of Economics, University of Hohenheim, Germany.


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