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The Continuing Relevance of Alfred Marshall

  • John Whitaker
Part of the British Association for the Advancement of Science book series

Abstract

It is hardly controversial to suggest that Alfred Marshall, the Cambridge economist who lived from 1842 to 1924, was a leading figure in the development of economics as a discipline.1 His influence came both from his economic ideas and from his roles as professional leader and mentor. His most famous protégés were John Maynard Keynes and Arthur Cecil Pigou, while his masterwork, The Principles of Economics, dominated the subject for decades after the appearance of the first edition (Marshall, 1890). Historians of economics have been intensively engaged in elucidating and assessing, or reassessing, all aspects of Marshall’s thought and professional impact, and this interest will doubtless continue apace; a definitive interpretation, that will stand unchallenged by posterity, is hardly possible in the case of so complex and central a figure as Marshall. In fact, interest in the study of Marshall as a historical figure currently seems to be in the ascendant. But the fact that Marshall’s contribution to the development of economics is a major concern of historians of economics does not imply that it is, or should be, of much interest to economists who profess to have no interest in their subject’s past. I will, indeed, suggest later that economists ought to be interested in the rich body of past economic thought, and probably would be if they took a more realistic view of the nature of their subject.2

Keywords

Marginal Cost Consumer Surplus Economic Reality Government Revenue Marginal Revenue 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© The British Association for the Advancement of Science 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Whitaker

There are no affiliations available

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