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The Walras Paradox


  • Roger Koppl

    (Fairleigh Dickinson University)


Some standard interpretations of Leon Walras' political economy are challenged by a study of his philosophical and political ideas. Walras thought that his general-equilibrium theory was both a normative scheme and pure science. This "Walras paradox" is resolved by an understanding of the metaphysical ideas he borrowed from the French "eclectic" philosopher Etienne Vacherot. For Walras, general-equilibrium theory provides the foundations for "scientific socialism," A (non-Marxian) synthesis of liberalism and socialism. This interpretation of general-equilibrium theory shows that common ideas about "neoclassical" economics do not fit Walras.

Suggested Citation

  • Roger Koppl, 1995. "The Walras Paradox," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 43-55, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:21:y:1995:i:1:p:43-55

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. George J. Stigler, 1951. "The Division of Labor is Limited by the Extent of the Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59, pages 185-185.
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    Cited by:

    1. Joseph Wesson, 1998. "The Teleological Impulse: Thorstein Veblen, Existentialism, and the Philosophy of Science," Method and Hist of Econ Thought 9808002, EconWPA.

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    JEL classification:

    • B13 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Neoclassical through 1925 (Austrian, Marshallian, Walrasian, Wicksellian)
    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals


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