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Additional info for Alfred Marshall and Modern Economics: Equilibrium Theory and Evolutionary Economics

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Dardi 2003: 101) Dardi portrays Marshall’s partial equilibrium as ‘comparing certain states of things with the sinks of a dynamic system’, being representative of the ‘stability area surrounding an ideal stationary state’. In this setting a system can initially be viewed as being in a steady state, and then disturbed by an unexpected event, leading to adaptations (or innovations) to novelty. Through time, the new routines are established, 30 Alfred Marshall and Modern Economics leading to a time-dependent state of normality that would eventually bring about a stationary state in the absence of any other novelty in the system.

The task of defending the ‘Marshallian’ orthodoxy’ of the 1920s from Sraffa’s critique was largely taken up by Marshall’s anointed successor Marshall’s Economic Biology and Equilibrium 33 to the Cambridge Chair, A. C. Pigou, through articles published in the Economic Journal in 1927 and 1928. Pigou’s response was essentially to retreat further into the confines of static analysis, while continuing to emphasise the importance of a restricted class of external economies. In his radical reconstruction of Marshall’s representative firm concept, Pigou (1927: 195) reasoned that the representative firm ‘must be conceived as one for which, under competitive conditions, there is, at each scale of aggregate output, a certain optimum size, trespass beyond which yields no further internal economies’.

And though an inventor, or an organizer, or a financier of genius may seem to have modified the economic structure of a people almost at a stroke; yet that part of his influence, which has not been merely superficial and transitory, is found on inquiry to have done little more than bring to a head a broad constructive movement which had long been in preparation. Those manifestations of nature which occur most frequently, and are so orderly that they can be closely watched and narrowly studied, are the basis of economic as of most other scientific work; while those which are spasmodic, infrequent, and difficult of observation, are commonly reserved for special examination at a later stage: and the motto Natura non facit saltum is especially appropriate to a volume on Economic Foundations.

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