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Process and Order in Classical and Marginalist Economics

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  • Nuno Ornelas Martins

    () (Centro de Estudos em Gestão e Economia da Universidade Católica Portuguesa)

Abstract

In this article I compare the classical theory of value with the theory of value that emerged after the marginal revolution, taking into account the underlying conceptions of process and order that are implicit in each theory. In classical political economy, the economy is conceived of as a continuous process of reproduction, wherein a surplus is distributed through various social classes. After the classical period, the notion of reproduction is replaced with the notion of equilibrium, while the analysis of society in terms of social classes is replaced by methodological individualism. Value also starts to be seen in terms of marginal utility, rather than cost of production. This transformation brought important changes to the implicit philosophical conceptions of process and order that have underpinned the dominant economic doctrine from the classical period until today, leading to the marginalist belief that market exchange is always the most efficient coordinating mechanism of the economy. The classical perspective, however, contains a broader conception of socio-economic reproduction, which is consistent with different institutional arrangements.

Suggested Citation

  • Nuno Ornelas Martins, 2014. "Process and Order in Classical and Marginalist Economics," Working Papers de Economia (Economics Working Papers) 06, Católica Porto Business School, Universidade Católica Portuguesa.
  • Handle: RePEc:cap:wpaper:062014
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    File URL: http://www.feg.porto.ucp.pt/docentes/repec/WP/062014_Martins_Process_and_Order.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Avi J. Cohen, 2003. "Retrospectives: Whatever Happened to the Cambridge Capital Theory Controversies?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 199-214, Winter.
    2. Avi J. Cohen, 2014. "Veblen Contra Clark and Fisher: Veblen-Robinson-Harcourt lineagesin capital controversies and beyond," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(6), pages 1493-1515.
    3. Harcourt,G. C., 1972. "Some Cambridge Controversies in the Theory of Capital," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521096720.
    4. Fleetwood, Steve, 1996. "Order without Equilibrium: A Critical Realist Interpretation of Hayek's Notion of Spontaneous Order," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(6), pages 729-747, November.
    5. Veblen, Thorstein, 1900. "The Preconceptions of Economic Science III," History of Economic Thought Articles, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, vol. 14.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Process; order; reproduction; exchange; value.;

    JEL classification:

    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology

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