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Mr Marx and the neoclassics


  • Freeman, Alan


This article, presented to the Annual Conference of the History of Economics Society, Vancouver July 1996, gives a historical analysis of the origins of the general equilibrium or comparative static approach and demonstrates that economic thought as a whole is divided, in each of its schools of thought, between the equilibrium paradigm and its alternative, the temporal paradigm. This applies across the board with, for example, the divergence between Post-Keynesian or Kaleckian economics, between Austrian economics and Walrasian general equilibrium, and in many other contexts. The article demonstrates the difference between the equilibrium and temporal approach using a demonstration of ‘adjustment’ effects in a simple corn-cycle model. It goes on to analyse the reasons why, in the history of thought, adjustment or dynamic effects have been considered as ignorable when in fact they are not. It suggests that the traditional division of the succession of ideas in economic thought – physiocracy, the classics, Marx, marginalism – needs to be reviewed in this light, and argues for a reconsideration of the contribution of Marx to economics, placing him as the first and in many ways the most consistent in a suppressed non-equilibrium tradition in economic thought. It suggests that in this light, Marx has more in common with Austrian and Post-Keynesian thinking than with Ricardo and Smith, among whose ranks he is normally and commonly grouped.

Suggested Citation

  • Freeman, Alan, 1996. "Mr Marx and the neoclassics," MPRA Paper 1291, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:1291

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alan Freeman & Guglielmo Carchedi (ed.), 1996. "Marx and Non-equilibrium Economics," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 737.
    2. Samuel Hollander, 1981. "Marxian Economics as ‘General Equilibrium’ Theory," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 13(1), pages 121-155, Spring.
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    More about this item


    Marx; Marxist Economics; Non-equilibrium; Okishio; Price; Profit; Temporal; Temporalism; Transformation; TSSI; Value; Value Theory; Keynes; Austrian Economics;

    JEL classification:

    • B00 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - General - - - History of Economic Thought, Methodology, and Heterodox Approaches
    • B53 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Austrian
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • B24 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Socialist; Marxist; Scraffian
    • B16 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Quantitative and Mathematical
    • B14 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Socialist; Marxist
    • B12 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Classical (includes Adam Smith)
    • B50 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - General


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