Can neoclassical economics be social economics?
AbstractThis retrospective suggests that it is best not to generalize that there is invariably a dichotomy between neoclassical and social economics, but to address the question in terms of individual economic thinkers. Belief in the virtues of the market and concern about identifying determinate optimal equilibrium solutions to problems does not necessarily preclude systematic criticism of the excesses of competition and recommendation of controls in the interest of the social whole. While Alfred Marshall, the founder of the neoclassical tradition, was typically reticent about offering policy prescriptions, this is not the case for his successor, A.C. Pigou. Analogously, there are contemporary thinkers, in particular Ronald Coase and William Baumol, who are neoclassical in their search for optimal free market solutions with full cognizance of the sometimes adverse effects of the price system. But the same claim cannot be made on behalf of ânew classicals,â for their research program is to construct artificial or ârobotâ economic systems based on postulates of market clearing and self interest. Their quest for technical sophistication conceals an inherent ideological anti-policy bias.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Springer in its journal Forum for Social Economics.
Volume (Year): 26 (1996)
Issue (Month): 1 (09)
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Web page: http://www.springer.com/economics/journal/12143
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