[OPE-L:5762] Re: [DAVID] Re: Classical/neoclassical

Fred B. Moseley (fmoseley@mtholyoke.edu)
Thu, 27 Nov 1997 00:30:55 -0500 (EST)

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A brief reply to David's post about Samuelson's coinage of the term
"neoclassical". As I remember it, Samuelson's "neoclassical
sythesis" had to do with the relation between macro and micro: macro
solves the problem of unemployment and then micro solves the problem of
resource allocation (Keynes also said the same thing without the term).
Or did Samuelson's synthesis have to do with reconciling Keynesian and
"classical" macro? In either case, it does not apply specifically to the
micro theory developed at the end of the 19th century, and that it was I
and my student were wondering about.

A surprise is that, according to the New Palgrave entry mentioned by
Claus, the main people besides Veblen to use the term neoclassical theory
to refer to the "marginalist" micro theory were Mitchell, Hobson, Dobb and
Roll - all heterodox economists! Why would they want to gloss over the
differences between classical and neoclassical economics? Maybe because
they were both "bourgeois" theory? In any case, it suggests that the term
"neo-classical" was not purely a ploy by orthodox economists to obscure
the magnificient dynamics of the classical economists.