[OPE-L:5758] Re: neo-classical economics

Fred B. Moseley (fmoseley@mtholyoke.edu)
Wed, 26 Nov 1997 11:17:48 -0500 (EST)

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Thanks a lot to Claus and David and others for their very interesting and
helpful responses to my query about the origins of the terms neo-classical
economics. It is a surprise to learn the Veblen is the originator of the
term! Apparently on the grounds that both classical and neo-classicals
emphasized "hedonistic psychology". I am going to take another look at
Veblen on this. I have never understood his (and Mitchell's) emphasis on
the hedonistic psychology in classical economics. Maybe Smith a little
bit and of course Bentham, but I have never seen this as central to
classical economics. There are no utility functions in classical
economics and no essential psychology of any kind, as I understand it.
Anybody have any thoughts on this?

I have also learned that the author of the New Palgrave piece mentioned by
Claus - Tony Aspromourgos - has an article on this subject in the
Cambridge Journal (1986, no. 3), which should be interesting.

I have also learned that apparently Garegnani and his followers prefer the
term "marginalists" to distinguish them more clearly from the classicals.

Thanks again. I can't wait for my Thought class next week!


On Mon, 24 Nov 1997, Claus Germer wrote:

> Date: Mon, 24 Nov 1997 16:35:56 -0200
> From: Claus Germer <cmgermer@SOCIAIS.UFPR.BR>
> To: Ope-l List members <ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu>
> Subject[OPE-L:5758] : Re: neo-classical economics
> According to The New Palgrave Dict. of Ec. the term was first used by
> Veblen, in 1900, in an article in the Quarterly J.of Econ, 14, p. 240-69,
> 'to characterize Marsahll and the M. economics'. However, Veblen did not
> have in mind the existence of 'any similarity in theoretical structure'
> between M. and classical theories. He was just referring to 'a continuity
> with classical economics on the alleged basis of a common utilitarian
> approach and the common assumption of a hedonistic psychology'.
> Regards, Claus.