Ideology and Time: Criticisms of General Equilibrium

  • Harvey Gram

Abstract

In her first published paper, Joan Robinson stated the following methodological position: ‘a serious subject, in the academic sense, is neither more nor less than its own technique … [gradually developed in] an austere and disinterested search, not ‘for the Truth’, but for a single self-consistent system of ideas’ (1932, pp. 3–4).1 She saw the intellectual activity of providing unreal answers to unreal questions as part and parcel of the laborious task of finding a set of assumptions at once tractable and realistic. This view of economic theory ‘as a sequence of conceptual models that seek to express in simplified form different aspects of an always more complicated reality’ is defended by Tjalling Koopmans, who remarks that ‘most economists when pressed will agree to one formulation or another of such a view of the logical structure of economic knowledge’ (Koopmans, 1957, pp. 142–43). In defense of general equilibrium theory, Frank Hahn takes a similar position, arguing that ‘the Arrow-Debreu machinery gives us the best base camp for sallies into new territory’ (Hahn, 1984, p. 10).2

Keywords

Entropy Income Coherence Defend 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Arrow, K. J. (1977) ‘Toward a Theory of Price Adjustment’, in K. J. Arrow and L. Hurwicz (eds) Studies in Resource Allocation Processes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arrow, K. J and F. H. Hahn (1971) General Competitive Analysis (San Francisco: Holden-Day).Google Scholar
  3. Begg, D. K. H. (1982) The Rational Expectations Revolution in Macroeconomics (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press).Google Scholar
  4. Eatwell, J. and M. Milgate (eds) (1983) Keynes’s Economics and the Theory of Value and Distribution (London: Duckworth).Google Scholar
  5. Garegani, P. (1976) ‘On a Change in the Notion of Equilibrium in Recent Work on Value and Distribution’, in M. Brown, K. Sato and P. Zarembka (eds) Essays in Modern Capital Theory (Amsterdam: North-Holland) also in Eatwell and Milgate (eds) (1983).Google Scholar
  6. Georgescu-Roegen, N. (1971) The Entropy Law and the Economic Process (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Grandmont, J. M. (1982) ‘Temporary General Equilibrium Theory’, in K. J. Arrow and M. D. Intriligator (eds) Handbook of Mathematical Economics, Vol. II (Amsterdam: North-Holland).Google Scholar
  8. Hahn, F. H. (1984) Equilibrium and Macroeconomics (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT).Google Scholar
  9. Koopmans, T. C. (1957) Three Essays on The State of Economic Science (New York: McGraw-Hill).Google Scholar
  10. Leijonhufvud, A. (1983) ‘What was the Matter with IS-LM?’, in J. P. Fitoussi (ed.) Modern Macroeconomic Theory (Oxford: Blackwell).Google Scholar
  11. Radner, R. (1968) ‘Competitive Equilibrium under Uncertainty’, Econometrica, 36 (January): 31–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Radford, R. A. (1946) ‘The Economic Organization of a Prisoner of War Camp’, Economica 12 (November): 189–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Robinson, J. V. (1932) Economics is a Serious Subject (Cambridge: Heifer).Google Scholar
  14. Robinson, J. V. (1933) The Economics of Imperfect Competition (London: Macmillan).Google Scholar
  15. Robinson, J. V. (1951, 1960, 1965, 1973, 1979) Collected Economic Papers, Vols. I-V. ‘Introduction’ to Vols. II and III (1975) (Oxford: Blackwell).Google Scholar
  16. Robinson, J. V. (1956, 1965 and 1969) The Accumulation of Capital (London: Macmillan).Google Scholar
  17. Robinson, J. V. (1962a) Essays in the Theory of Economic Growth (London: Macmillan).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Robinson, J. V. (1962b) Economic Philosophy (London: C. A. Watts).Google Scholar
  19. Robinson, J. V. (1980) What are the Questions? and Other Essays, Further Contributions to Modern Economics (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe).Google Scholar
  20. Robinson, J. V. (1985) ‘The Theory of Normal Prices, and Reconstruction of Economic Theory’, in G. R. Feiwel (ed.) Issues in Contemporary Macroeconomics and Distribution (London: Macmillan).Google Scholar
  21. Samuelson, P. A. (1967) ‘Indeterminancy of Development in a Heterogeneous-Capital Model with Constant Saving Propensity’, in Shell (1967)Google Scholar
  22. Samuelson, P. A. (1975) ‘Steady-State and Transient Relations: A Reply on Res-witching’, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 89 (February): 40–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sen, A. K. (1981) Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation (Oxford: Clarendon Press).Google Scholar
  24. Shell, K. (1967) (ed.) Essays on the Theory of Optimal Economic Growth (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT).Google Scholar
  25. Sraffa, P. (1960) Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities: Prelude to a Critique of Economic Theory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© George R. Feiwel 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harvey Gram

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations