A Note on Backhouse and Medema: On Walras’ Contribution to the Definition of Economics
AbstractIn this paper, I argue that the insightful and rich collection of various definitions of economics provided by Backhouse and Medema (2009a,b) suffers from a major shortcoming: it misses Walras’ contributions on this topic. Borrowing from the authors’ taxonomy, I will show that Walras’ ‘synthetic method’ provides a particular interpretation that brings together ‘wealth-based,’ ‘scarcity-based,’ and ‘market-exchange based’ definitions of economics. Finally, I will argue that the ‘scarcity-based’ definition of economics originated with the Walrases (the father and son) rather than Robbins (1935). Walras pioneered the notion of scarcity as a subjective agent-based reality existing at an individual level.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 42673.
Date of creation: Apr 2012
Date of revision:
Applied political economy; pure political economy; scarcity; social economics; Walrasian definitions of economics;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
- B13 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Neoclassical through 1925 (Austrian, Marshallian, Walrasian, Stockholm School)
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-12-06 (All new papers)
- NEP-HIS-2012-12-06 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-HPE-2012-12-06 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-POL-2012-12-06 (Positive Political Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Donald A. Walker, 1984. "Is Walras's Theory of General Equilibrium a Normative Scheme?," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 16(3), pages 445-469, Fall.
- Roger E. Backhouse & Steve G. Medema, 2009. "Defining Economics: The Long Road to Acceptance of the Robbins Definition," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 76(s1), pages 805-820, October.
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