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Alfred Marshall's Puzzles. Between Economics as a Positive Science and Economic Chivalry

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  • Joanna Dzionek-Kozlowska

    (University of Lodz)

Abstract

Alfred Marshall’s approach to economics hides a paradox. On one hand, the ‘father’ of neoclassical economics strongly favoured conducting economics as a positive science. However, the fact that Marshall was such a consistent and determined advocate of this ideal of economic research is puzzling for at least two reasons. Firstly, even a quick glance at his publications allows to notice that his texts are sated with moral teachings. What is more, in referring to the problems of economic policy he not only took into account ethical aspects, but also frequently gave pre-eminence to ethical arguments over conclusions stemming from research grounded solely on the theory of economics. The paper aims to explain the paradox and argues that the complexity of Marshall’s approach arises from his attempts to combine two approaches pointed by Amartya Sen of binding economics and ethics over the centuries: ‘the ethics-related tradition’ with ‘the engineering approach’.

Suggested Citation

  • Joanna Dzionek-Kozlowska, 2015. "Alfred Marshall's Puzzles. Between Economics as a Positive Science and Economic Chivalry," Lodz Economics Working Papers 5/2015, University of Lodz, Faculty of Economics and Sociology.
  • Handle: RePEc:ann:wpaper:5/2015
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    File URL: http://dspace.uni.lodz.pl:8080/xmlui/handle/11089/11759
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Talcott Parsons, 1931. "Wants and Activities in Marshall," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(1), pages 101-140.
    2. Rita McWilliams-Tullberg, 1975. "Marshall's “Tendency to Socialism”," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 7(1), pages 75-111, Spring.
    3. Theodore Levitt, 1976. "Alfred Marshall: Victorian Relevance for Modern Economics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 90(3), pages 425-443.
    4. John K. Whitaker, 1977. "Some Neglected Aspects of Alfred Marshall's Economic and Social Thought," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 161-197, Summer.
    5. Swaney, James A, 1983. "Rival and Missing Interpretations of Market Society: A Comment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 1489-1493, December.
    6. Hirschman, Albert O, 1982. "Rival Interpretations of Market Society: Civilizing, Destructive, or Feeble?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 1463-1484, December.
    7. Peter Groenewegen, 1995. "A SOARING EAGLE: Alfred Marshall 1842–1924," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 193.
    8. Talcott Parsons, 1932. "Economics and Sociology: Marshall in Relation to the Thought of his Time," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(2), pages 316-347.
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    Cited by:

    1. Joan-Severo Chumbita, 2020. "Alfred Marshall, autor del siglo XX: desempleo involuntario, monopolio, amortización acelerada, competencia por nuevos productos e intervención estatal orientada a alcanzar el producto máximo," Ensayos de Economía 019130, Universidad Nacional de Colombia Sede Medellín.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Alfred Marshall; positive economics; normative economics; ethics and economics; economic chivalry;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility

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