This book deals with one of the most puzzling concepts in economic science, that of economic equilibrium. In modern economics, equilibrium is considered a key assumption, but its role is contested by economists both from within the mainstream and from rival schools of thought.
What explains the contradictory assessments of the equilibrium concept in economics? Do economists belonging to different traditions disagree about the definition of equilibrium or do they adopt different rules for assessing scientific status? In this unique and exhaustive study, Bert Tieben answers these questions by investigating the history of equilibrium economics from 1700 to the present day. He concludes that ideology strongly coloured the development of this branch of theory, helping to explain the vehemence of the debates surrounding the concept. He also argues that scientific progress in economics may indeed be fostered by such opposition and contention, and calls for cross fertilization and stronger cooperation between the different schools of thought.
This resourceful book will appeal to post graduate students and scholars in the history of economic thought and economic methodology. Both neoclassical and heterodox economists, most notably Austrian, post Keynesian and institutional economists, will also find much to interest them.