Marshall and Schumpeter on Evolution

Marshall and Schumpeter on Evolution

Economic Sociology of Capitalist Development

Edited by Yuichi Shionoya and Tamotsu Nishizawa

This unique and original work contends that, despite the differences between Marshallian and Schumpeterian thinking, they both present formidable challenges to a broad type of social science beyond economics, particularly under the influence of the German historical school. In a departure from the received view on the nature of the works of Marshall and Schumpeter, the contributors explore their themes in terms of an evolutionary vision and method of evolution; social science and evolution; conceptions of evolution; and evolution and capitalism.

Chapter 3: Schumpeter on Marshall: A Reconsideration

Roger E. Backhouse

Subjects: economics and finance, economic psychology, evolutionary economics, history of economic thought

Extract

* Roger E. Backhouse 3.1 INTRODUCTION This chapter examines Schumpeter’s attitude to the work of Alfred Marshall, an economist with whose ideas he engaged throughout his career, from his first book, Das Wesen und der Hauptinhalt der theoretischen Nationalökonomie (1908) to his posthumously published History of Economic Analysis (1954a). Although he was at times critical of Marshall, and did not heap on him the exaggerated praise he reserved for Antoine Cournot and Léon Walras, he nonetheless considered him one of the four greatest economists ever. The details of his attitude towards Marshall are of interest because Marshall’s way of doing economics was not Schumpeter’s, and because, late in Schumpeter’s life, his attitude towards Marshall became entangled, so it will be argued, with his attitude towards other members of the Cambridge school. Schumpeter’s attitude towards Marshall has received comparatively little attention. There are brief remarks made in the context of much broader studies (for example, Shionoya, 1997). Awan (1986) has compared their views of evolution, but this is comparatively narrow and fails to explore Schumpeter’s attitude towards the Marshallian system as a whole. Feiwel (1986) briefly explores Schumpeter’s view of Marshall alongside his views of Walras and subsequent developments in economic theory. The one general study is Duval (2002). This takes as its starting point the historiographic perspective of the History of Economic Analysis and concludes that had Schumpeter adopted a relativist historiography, he might have been able to see more clearly where and how Marshall went beyond Walras...

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