Classics and Moderns in Economics: Essays on Nineteenth and by Peter Groenewegen

By Peter Groenewegen

This moment quantity of essays on 19th and 20th century fiscal idea, enhances the 1st and maintains the excessive criteria of scholarship and educational rigour.

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Second, and more important, Marshall’s attribution to Ricardo of an ‘absolutely inelastic’ demand for produce suggests that Ricardo saw demand as a function of price and not, as Ricardo explicitly does in the chapter referred to, as influenced largely by changes in income (Ricardo 1951–73: I, 162–4). Marshall’s specific identification of classical demand theory with the marginalist view of the subject is a typical interpretative anachronism which does less than justice to Ricardo’s text. Other aspects of Marshall’s evaluation of Ricardo’s rent theory need less extensive treatment.

Evidence is then produced by Marshall to show that Ricardo introduced ‘subjective’ elements into his value theory when he referred to ‘desires’, ‘wants’ and ‘wishes of the people’, by way of introducing his well known interpretation of Ricardo’s chapter on value and riches in terms of marginal and total utility. Only Ricardo’s lack of calculus and ‘the right words in which to say it neatly’, Marshall concluded, prevented him from stating the law of diminishing marginal utility. 11 From the demand side, explicitly acknowledged to have been imperfectly developed by Ricardo, Marshall switches to what he calls the supply or cost of production side (Marshall 1961: I, 814).

However, in Marshall’s Principles, Ricardo seems to receive far greater notice 32 Nineteenth-century moderns than in the earlier works, a matter commented on by reviewers of the first edition of the Principles. This conforms with Marshall’s increasing emphasis on Ricardo’s influence in his personal recollections as he grew older. Marshall’s access to Ricardo’s works should also be noted. From internal evidence it is clear that the edition of Ricardo he basically used was that edited by McCulloch, during Marshall’s lifetime the standard edition of Ricardo’s works (see Marshall 1961: I, 835, n1).

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