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Extra resources for Alfred Marshall and Modern Economics: Equilibrium Theory and Evolutionary Economics

Sample text

However, Schumpeter’s paper was not referred to in the symposium itself, and the crux of Young’s critique of static equilibrium analysis was largely neglected. The Marshallian Marshall’s Economic Biology and Equilibrium 39 approach was to eradicate from their analysis those elements of Marshall’s economics that stood in the way of constructing a theory of value that was amenable to the tools of static equilibrium analysis. Value theory, the domain of pure theory, had therefore become completely divorced from explanations of industry organisation and economic transformation.

Internal economies were generated through increased subdivision of labour, increased specialisation of the managerial function and as a result of creative innovations in the organisational and mechanical aspects of production. External economies arose from the use of specialised skill and machinery depending on the aggregate volume of production in the neighbourhood, and also on the growth of knowledge and the progress of the arts which depend on the aggregate volume of production in the whole civilised world (Principles: 265–6).

If accepted, Marshall’s life cycle theory of firm analogy implied that a position of long-period equilibrium for an industry coincided with a situation in which individual firms are at disequilibrium. In Marshall’s terminology, some businesses will be rising and others falling (Principles: 378). Therefore, the notion of the ‘marginal’ or ‘equilibrium’ firm could not have any operational role in the derivation of long-period normal supply conditions. It is in this context that Marshall introduced the concept of the representative firm: But our representative firm must be one which has had a fairly long life, and fair success, which is managed with normal ability, and which has normal access to the economies, external and internal, which belong to that aggregate volume of production; account being taken of the class of goods produced, the conditions of marketing them and the economic environment generally.

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