On the Right Side for the Wrong Reason : Friedman on the Marshall-Walras divide
Michel, DE VROEY
The aim of this article is to assess FriedmanÕs claim, put forward in his 1949 article on the Marshallian demand curve, that there is a methodological divide between the Marshallian and Walrasian approaches. FriedmanÕs argument will be critically examined and compared with the views he expressed in other articles written around thesame time. My evaluation will lead to a mixed conclusion. Positively, Friedman must be hailed for having brought the Marshall-Walras divide to the forefront. In a more critical vein, I will suggest, first, that FriedmanÕs argumentation in the 1949 paper is definitely wanting. A better account of the differences between Marshall and Walras is to be found in his 1955 review of JaffŽÕs traslation of WalrasÕs ElŽments dÕŽconomie pure. Second, I will claim that FriedmanÕs real target in his 1949 article was imperfect competition theory ˆ la Chamberlin and Keynesianism ˆ la Lange, which he wrongly associated with Walrasian theory. Third, present-day proponents of the divide will be criticised for having naively echoed FriedmanÕs argumentation instead of having tried to improve it. The paper finishes with an outline of the criteria that should be used for giving te Marshall-Walras divide a stronger grounding.
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