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Sins of the Sons of Samuelson: Vision, pedagogy, and the zig-zag windings of complex dynamics

  • Colander, David
  • Rothschild, Casey

The standard economics text is centered on a vision of a naturally self-regulated, dynamically stable system with a unique global attractor. This paper discusses how we got there and how recent developments in the study of dynamical systems allow us to go beyond that. It traces the evolution of the teaching of economics from Alfred Marshall, who built his supply-and-demand framework within a complexity vision of the economy. It suggests that that complexity vision was lost as economists formalized the supply-demand framework and extended it to the entire economy. This paper argues that the current textbook presentation of economics should not and cannot serve as the only intellectual frame we provide to our students.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 74 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 277-290

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:74:y:2010:i:3:p:277-290
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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  1. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680, March.
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  11. Wagner, Alfred, 1891. "Marshall's Principles of Economics," History of Economic Thought Articles, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, vol. 5, pages 319-338.
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  19. David Colander, 1995. "Marshallian General Equilibrium Analysis," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 281-293, Summer.
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