CHAPTER VIII
CHARACTERISTICS OF NEO-CLASSICAL WELFARE
ECONOMICS
THE term "Neo-classical" is used here in a literal and pre- Keynesian sense, meaning a new compound of thought which emerged from the mixture between the Classical economic ideas and those of the Marginal Utility school. This mixture, fused with the native common-sense pragmatism, gave the English economic thought between the eighteen-nineties and the nineteen-twenties a distinctive character of its own, different both from the pure Classicism of J. S. Mill and from the pure Marginal Utility approach as typified by Jevons, Walras, Menger and J. B. Clark.
I
As we have seen, from the standpoint of welfare economics, the impact of the marginal revolution on the classical tradition centred around three main issues:
i. While the classical economists used a physical or materialistic concept of wealth, the utility school insisted that wealth should be conceived at the subjective level, as consisting in the satisfaction of consumers' wants.
ii. The classical theory of production was based on the proposition that the wealth of society could be regarded as a determinate technical function of the available resources. Thus it was concerned mainly with raising the physical productivity and with the "Dynamic" laws of changes in population and capital accumulation. On the other hand, the "pure" utility economists of the Continental schools were inclined to reject such an approach as a confusion between the "technical" and the "economic" problem of production. They believed that economics could not usefully concern itself with the changes in the supply of factors and technique since these changes partook of the character of broader social and institutional forces operating outside the framework of the equilibrium process of the market. They proposed, therefore, to accept these as "exogenous changes in data" and to concentrate on the purely formal aspect of the problem of allocating given resources among given alternative uses.

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