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 4: On the Relation between Economics and Sociology: Marshall and Schumpeter

Richard Arena

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


* Richard Arena This contribution is devoted to the relationship between economics and sociology in the respective works of Alfred Marshall and Joseph Schumpeter. Differences are unavoidable between these authors if we consider their different periods of life and their specific ways of connecting both disciplines. Marshall began to write papers and books in the period of birth and early development of sociology, while Schumpeter could attend and even participate in its period of maturity. However, in spite of these differences, we try to show that Marshall and Schumpeter shared a common conception of the role of economic theory within the realm of social science. To put it in a few words, they both considered that economic analysis (in its Schumpeterian sense) could not be reduced to pure economic theory as it is often argued in the post-Walrasian tradition (in contradiction, however, to the works of Léon Walras himself) but had to combine this theory and history with the intermediary help of what Schumpeter called ‘economic sociology’ and Marshall called a ‘reasoned history of man’. Our chapter comprises two sections. The first focuses on the nature of the complementarity that Marshall and Schumpeter pointed out between economic theory and sociology. The second shows how both authors incorporated the investigation of organization forms and economic institutions within economic analysis, and why their approaches may provide some ideas and tools for the modern economist who is not satisfied with axiomatic approaches. 65 66 Social science and evolution...

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