Economic Sociology of Capitalist Development
Edited by Yuichi Shionoya and Tamotsu Nishizawa
Chapter 2: The General Pattern of Marshallian Evolution
2. The general pattern of Marshallian evolution1 Tiziano Raﬀaelli 2.1 PARTIAL EQUILIBRIUM ANALYSIS AS A MODEL FOR PIECEMEAL EVOLUTION Marshall is usually considered the champion of static equilibrium analysis; so much so that the point of intersection of the Marshallian cross epitomizes the very notion of static equilibrium, the ﬁnal aim of economic analysis. However, as is widely acknowledged, he was not fully satisﬁed with static economic analysis per se. In his eyes, statics was ‘but a branch of dynamics’ (Marshall, 1920: 366 n.) and the latter itself ought to be replaced by economic biology (ibid.: xiv), the economist’s Mecca, which required economics to be supplemented with sociological, historical and institutional research. Notwithstanding these reservations on their role, the tools he devised helped economics to develop static analysis and, thanks to them, static value theory became its prominent research ﬁeld. This reconstruction relies on the unchallenged and almost obvious static interpretation of partial equilibrium analysis, the theoretical core of Marshall’s economics. Even though there is general recognition that he is concerned with time, as when he resorts to time period analysis, he does not appear to be interested in change itself, but in its termination, in the way change can be disposed of through the action of equilibrating forces. The somewhat mechanical operation of the principle of substitution is the leading force that brings the system into equilibrium. Although the principle does not always lead to straightforward, unambiguous solutions, especially when the time horizon widens, its prevailing aim...
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