This article suggests a new argument for the de-homogenization of Walras’ and Pareto’s contributions, showing that even the common analytical instrument used for the mathematical representation of general equilibrium does not have the same status. Both consider mathematics as relevant in economics, but their epistemological interpretation of it is different, and sometimes even contradictory. The paper shows that mathematics are linked to a form of determinism in Walras, whereas they are a tool to promote individual freedom in Pareto. This opposition is then connected to the opposition between mathematics as a language of nature (in Walras) and mathematics as a tool for science (in Pareto).
Abstract Modern analyses present the general equilibrium as an archetype of methodological individualism, enabling the reconciliation of individual interests through the market. This article aims at showing the originality and the specificity of the treatment of this issue by Walras. We first show that Walras considers the individual (oneself) and the society (the others) as … Continue reading The individual and the society in Walras