ABSTRACT

A historian, inspired by his observations about similar events in the past, might have expected that Walras would have missed the boat, that is, that his work, in an epoch that was able to understand him at last, would have been thrown into the limbo where dwell the works that, inadequately appreciated in their own time, were condemned on technical inadequacies of their apparatus when their real time had come. This was not so, however. The work on consumers' behavior and on production that can be fitted into his system and that, in part, was fitted in by Pareto, instead of preventing him from taking his proper place, produced rather a modernized Walrasian system. This process extends from 1924, when Professor Bowley's Mathematical Groundwork of Economics made Walras' equilibrium system internationally accessible —already modernizing it in many spots-to 1939 when Professor Hicks's Value and Capital, or the first two parts of it, completed the task.3 To some extent this book was particularly successful in unearthing Walrasian problems of which Walras himself had not been aware. And, partly in its wake and partly independently, a rich stream of contributions was released from which I shall merely 'read by name' the works of Lange, Metzler, Mosak, and-only alphabetically last-Samuelson. Much or most of this work pivots around questions of determinateness and around stability conditions and thus constitutes the bulk of the work of our day in the field of fundamental theory or even Grundlagenforschung.