Print

Print


It is curious. This is Dobb’s comment on the Cambridge school:

 

“The social philosophy underlying it [The Cambridge School of Economics] represents, like that of J.S. Mill, 19th century bourgeois liberalism with a bias toward social reform. Although it has retained in the main the classical laissez faire and emphasized the harmonies of competitive equilibrium and the function of individualist enterprise, it has also laid special stress on the limitations and exceptions to laissez faire. Marshall was the first economist in the Ricardian tradition to pass from specific exception to the harmony of laissez fare to a general stress on its limitations ….”

 

Even Marshall’s supply and demand analyses was much more nuanced and rich than treated even in most history of thought books. For Marshall treated time as the basis for his analyses of supply and demand, claiming that in the very short run, demand determines value (supply is inelastic). In the secular long run, supply or costs of production determine value. And in the intermediate period, both determine value.

 

If only mainstream economists would read Marshall. Even the motif of his Principles comes from Darwin: Natura non facit saltum.

 

All the best,

 

John W

 

 

From: AFEEMAIL Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Hodgson, Geoffrey M
Sent: Wednesday, April 09, 2014 12:47 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Damned Cambridge?

 

Dear Anne, Matt and other AFEE colleagues

 

I guess we have to leave to Fred to explain what he meant. Concerning Marshall, my view is that his approach was much more dynamic than later versions of partial equilibrium analysis suggest. For this reason, many original institutionalists incorporated strong Marshallian elements in their thinking. They also emphasized history, technological change, changing tastes etc.. So too, to an extent, did Marshall.

 

I also agree with Matt F that Marshallian Cambridge, compared with almost every econ dept today, was almost an “interdisciplinary social science utopia”.

 

Best wishes

Geoff

 

 

From: AFEEMAIL Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Mayhew, Anne
Sent: 09 April 2014 19:26
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [AFEEMAIL] Damned Cambridge?

 

Geoff:  I certainly do not have the knowledge that Fred does of economics at Oxford during an earlier time and so can neither support nor deny his comparative statement. That said, however, I think I know enough to say that I do not find his phrase "damn Marshallian/neoclassic economics coming out of Cambridge," an odd one to use on AFEEMAIL.  The unfortunate straight jacket of supply/demand analysis and accompanying neoclassical assumptions about equilibrium (with all of the attendant meanings of that term) make evolutionary/institutional/historical analysis inadequate in the eyes of those wear the jacket (and that means most "properly trained" economists).  I suspect that this is what Fred meant.

--Anne


From: AFEEMAIL Discussion List [[log in to unmask]] on behalf of Hodgson, Geoffrey M [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Wednesday, April 09, 2014 12:40 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [AFEEMAIL] Damned Cambridge?

Dear John

 

Cambridge economists were criticized by Robbins too. Lots of Cambridge economists were social-democratic or socialist.

 

I want to focus on Cambridge. My question is about “damn Marshallian/neoclassical economics coming out of Cambridge”. It has been posted on AFEEmail. What is meant by this?

 

Best wishes

Geoff

 

 

 

 

 

From: AFEEMAIL Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Henry, John
Sent: 09 April 2014 17:19
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [AFEEMAIL] Damned Cambridge?

 

Geoff,

 

The article by Backhouse deals with Robbins’ criticisms of Oxford economists (and others) who were too “soft” on socialism (or, at least their version thereof).

 

John

 

John F. Henry

Department of Economics

University of Missouri-Kansas City

5100 Rockhill Road

Kansas City, MO 64110-2499

 

Email: [log in to unmask]

Office Phone: (816) 235-1309

Department Phone: (816) 235-2405

Fax: (816) 235-2834

 

From: AFEEMAIL Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Hodgson, Geoffrey M
Sent: Wednesday, April 09, 2014 10:40 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Damned Cambridge?

 

Dear John

 

Lionel Robbins was at the LSE, not Cambridge. I have been highly critical of Robbins in my own writing. Robbins’ definition of economics, for example, is very different from Marshall’s.

 

My question is about “damn Marshallian/neoclassical economics coming out of Cambridge”.

 

Best wishes

Geoff

 

 

From: AFEEMAIL Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Henry, John
Sent: 09 April 2014 15:17
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [AFEEMAIL] Damned Cambridge?

 

Geoff,

 

I can’t speak for Fred, but until he does speak for himself, you might take a look at Roger Backhouse’s paper critiquing Lionel Robbins’ Essay on the Nature and Significance…  See the attached for a snippet from the article (and apologies for the formatting).

 

John

 

 

 

John F. Henry

Department of Economics

University of Missouri-Kansas City

5100 Rockhill Road

Kansas City, MO 64110-2499

 

Email: [log in to unmask]

Office Phone: (816) 235-1309

Department Phone: (816) 235-2405

Fax: (816) 235-2834

 

From: AFEEMAIL Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Hodgson, Geoffrey M
Sent: Wednesday, April 09, 2014 2:36 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Damned Cambridge?

 

Dear Fred and other AFEE colleagues

 

Fred is to be commended for his thoughtful attempt to find a good home for his archives. I also admire his previous research work on the Oxford group.

 

But I found his claim that “Oxford economics … was much more socially oriented than the damn Marshallian/neoclassical economics coming out of Cambridge” to be questionable. It would be useful if Fred could outline his reasons for such a “damning” and extreme verdict.

 

Best wishes

Geoff

 

 

 

From: AFEEMAIL Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Lee, Frederic
Sent: 09 April 2014 01:48
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [AFEEMAIL] trade association and Oxford socialism

 

Dear Colleagues,

 

I am in the middle of disposing material that I have accumulated over the past decades.  At the moment, I have two collections which I need to dispose of:

 

1.  One concerns the GUNPOWDER TRADE ASSOCIATION:  A STUDY IN THE GOVERNANCE OF THE UNITED STATES POWDER MARKETS 1865 – 1902.  I had intended to write a book, but got distracted by working on the history of heterodox economics (which I did publish).  I had thought that I could pursue this during retirement, but that is not possible.  What I have is two boxes of archive material collected from the DuPont archives and elsewhere.  I am willing to ship the two boxes to any place in the US—it is too expensive to ship the material outside the US.  I also have various computer files that I can send as well.

 

2.  A second concerns material for a book on SIDNEY BALL, SOCIALISM, AND OXFORD POLITICAL ECONOMY, 1890s-1920s.  The material can fit into a small box; it consists of material I collected at Oxford while working on my book “Oxford Economics and Oxford Economists”.  Ball and his colleagues were Christian socialists and they were trying to develop a band of Oxford economics that was much more socially oriented than the damn Marshallian/neoclassical economics coming out of Cambridge.  Of course they lost, but the story is still quite interesting for anybody interested in something more than boring traditional history of economics/economic thought.  I am willing to ship the material any place in the US.  I also have some computer files to complement the material.

 

Contributions to the cost of shipping are appreciated.

 

I have additional material which I need to dispose of:  archive material of John Gambs, Allan Gruchy, John M. Blair, and some others.  I’ll announce the offerings over the next week or so.

 

Fred Lee

 

Professor Frederic S. Lee

AFEE President-Elect

Department of Economics

University of Missouri-Kansas City

5100 Rockhill Road

Kansas City, Missouri  64110

USA

E-mail:  [log in to unmask]

Tel: 816-235-2543

Personal Homepage:  http://heterodoxnews.com/leefs/

Heterodox Economics Foundation: http://www.heterodox-economics.org

Heterodox Economics Newsletter:  http://www.heterodoxnews.com

Heterodox Microeconomics Research Network: http://heterodox-economics.org/micro

Association for Evolutionary Economics: http://www.afee.net/

Association for Heterodox Economics: http://www.hetecon.net

Association of Institutional Thought:  http://www.associationforinstitutionalthought.org/