Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Futility of Utility: how market dynamics marginalize Adam Smith


Author Info

  • McCauley, Joseph L.


General Equilibrium Theory in econometrics is based on the vague notion of utility. Prices, dynamics, and market equilibria are supposed to be derived from utility. Utility is sometimes treated like a potential, other times like a Lagrangian. Illegal assumptions of integrability of actions and dynamics are usually made. Economists usually assume that price is the gradient of utility in equilibrium, but I observe instead that price as the gradient of utility is an integrability condition for the Hamiltonian dynamics of an optimization problem. I discuss both deterministic and statistical descriptions of the dynamics of excess demand and observe that Adam Smith's stabilizing hand is not to be found either in deterministic or stochastic dynamical models of markets nor in the observed motions of asset prices. Evidence for stability of prices of assets in free markets has not been found.

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:
File Function: original version
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 2163.

as in new window
Date of creation: Nov 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:2163

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Schackstr. 4, D-80539 Munich, Germany
Phone: +49-(0)89-2180-2219
Fax: +49-(0)89-2180-3900
Web page:
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Utility; general equilibrium; nonintegrability; control dynamics; conservation laws; chaos; instability; supply-demand curves; nonequilibrium dynamics;

Find related papers by JEL classification:


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



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


Access and download statistics


When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:2163. 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: (Ekkehart Schlicht).

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.