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C.E. Ferguson and the Neoclassical Theory of Capital: A Matter of Faith


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  • Scott Carter


In 1969 the American neoclassical economist C.E. Ferguson wrote that reliance on neoclassical aggregate production and distribution theory is a 'matter of faith' to be sorted out (he says 'answered') by econometricians. Ferguson was criticized on both sides of the debate for invoking this religious metaphor. Using the methodological framework of A.J. Cohen & G.C. Harcourt (2005), Introduction: capital theory controversy: scarcity, production, equilibrium, and time, in: A. Cohen, G.C. Harcourt & C. Bliss (Eds) Capital Theory, 3 Vols. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, this paper argues that faith plays a recurring role in all capital controversies and especially in modern theories of growth that rely wholesale on the aggregate production function. Ferguson's faith proves to be much more insightful than previously recognized.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Review of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 23 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 339-356

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Handle: RePEc:taf:revpoe:v:23:y:2011:i:3:p:339-356

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Cited by:
  1. Ben Fine, 2013. "Economics - Unfit for purpose: The Director's Cut," Working Papers 176, Department of Economics, SOAS, University of London, UK.


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