John Bates Clark’s Conception of Capital
AbstractThis paper revisits the economic theory of John Bates Clark, with specific reference to his concept of capital, which seems very little remembered. For Clark, capital is to be distinguished from capital goods and is a resource that is at once immaterial and, in routine circumstances, permanent. Drawing on the original definition of holism in the writings of General the Right Honorable Jan Christiaan Smuts, it is argued that Clark’s conception is holist rather than (as in the case of other concepts of capital and most other economic theory) reductionist. That is, for Clark capital is an emergent property of a market equilibrium in or near equilibrium. This poses questions as to whether the concept can be extended to other economic forms, such as central planning, or indeed can be applicable to a capitalist economy constantly in the process of self-transformative flux.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by LeBow College of Business, Drexel University in its series School of Economics Working Paper Series with number 2013-8.
Length: 13 pages
Date of creation: 01 Dec 2013
Date of revision:
Capital; general equilibrium; holism; reductionism;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- 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-2014-01-10 (All new papers)
- NEP-HIS-2014-01-10 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-HPE-2014-01-10 (History & Philosophy of 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.:
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- Harcourt,G. C., 1972.
"Some Cambridge Controversies in the Theory of Capital,"
Cambridge University Press, number 9780521096720, October.
- Harcourt, G C, 1969. "Some Cambridge Controversies in the Theory of Capital," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 369-405, June.
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