[1/20/20] Leon Walras, Alvin Hansen, Joseph Schumpeter: I will begin by noting three points of criticism of the present tradition. In the first place, the tradition includes no serious effort at analysis of the productive process. Secondly, even when it takes on the trappings of a theory of growth, it remains economic macrostatics. Thirdly, inbuilt into it and into its political application, there is a fundamental ideology of alienation.
First: As opposed to the impoverished abstraction “leets” there is an enriching abstraction which holds together, within a general heuristics of process, the aggregate of rates at which goods and services move, directly or indirectly, into a standard of living, without excluding wheat or cotton, bread and dresses, ships and machine tools, management and innovation.
Second: Wedded to the difficulty of conceiving capital … is the difficulty of conceiving change. Nor can this be surprising if the accusation of macrostatic thinking is valid. … An early villain was Leon Walras. … As Schumpeter notes, “the exact skeleton of Keynes’ system belongs, to use terms proposed by Ragnar Frisch, to macrostatics, not macrodynamics.”
Third: Hansen’s characterization of the shift of interest in the twentieth century takes on a different hue from the perspective of Praxisweltanschauung and of the third stage of meaning. Then one sees it as an abandonment of the search both for a dynamic theory and for democracy.
There is no doubt that the solar system, even macrodynamically speaking, involves an aggregate of bodies. Was, then, the solution of the two-body problem irrelevant? Again, there is no doubt that tidal waves are not sinusoidal. Should we then drop the dynamic question and settle for some equivalent of photography and comparative statics? Or should we not make sense of elementary rhythms, momenta, etc., acknowledging that we are only paving the way for such developments as Fourier analysis? [#71] [McShane, 1980, 104-106, and118-119] (Click here for previous “Single Paragraphs” or “Brief Items”)