Marshall's Economics of Progress

Brian J. Loasby (University of Stirling)

Journal of Economic Studies

ISSN: 0144-3585

Publication date: 1 May 1986


Style and Purpose “It's all in Marshall”. There is more truth in that once‐familiar claim than there would be in a similar claim about any other economist; yet as Samuelson (1967, p. 25) rightly observed, what is in Marshall cannot be revealed by the reading of Marshall alone. What one sees is very largely a reflection of one's own viewpoint; often it is only after thinking about a specific issue that one realises that Marshall had thought about it too, and had set down his ideas in his usual unemphatic way, as if they were already common property. His manner is very different from that of Hicks, who always explains what he is doing and why; neither in the Principles (1961) nor in Industry and Trade (1919) does Marshall attempt to distinguish his own contributions, though frequently acknowledging those of others; and his clear views on how economists should proceed, though not suppressed, are not allowed to mark out a distinctively Marshallian programme. As a consequence, though he gained a great reputation, his ideas have had very little influence.


Loasby, B.J. (1986), "Marshall's Economics of Progress", Journal of Economic Studies, Vol. 13 No. 5, pp. 16-26.

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Copyright © 1986, MCB UP Limited

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