4.3 — The Evolution of Modern Microeconomics — Class Content

Meeting Dates

Thursday, November 17, 2022


One of the implications of neoclassical economics is that we have discovered all of the optimal conditions — in production, in consumption, and in exchange — for maximizing the value of resources for society. Markets and a market-based economy have lots of problems but we know the optimal results they can achieve. So, since economists have discovered the optimal conditions for resource allocation, why can’t the government just replace the market to efficiently allocate resources? It will achieve the same results as a market equilibrium, and arguably for the better, since it can avoid the problems with markets!

This claim, coupled with the fact that in the late 1910s a major European power undergoes a revolution where the victors try to establish a socialist society, constitutes the focus of the “socialist calculation debate.” How would a socialist economy and society actually operate? Is it superior to market-based economy and society?


Required Readings

  • Ch.14 “The Development of Modern Microeconomic Theory” in Landreth & Colander

Questions to Help Your Reading


Below, you can find the slides in two formats. Clicking the image will bring you to the html version of the slides in a new tab. The lower button will allow you to download a PDF version of the slides.


You can type h to see a special list of viewing options, and type o for an outline view of all the slides.

I suggest printing the slides beforehand and using them to take additional notes in class (not everything is in the slides)!


Download as PDF


Participation/Discussion Board Posts Due 8 PM Fri Nov 18

This week’s graded discussion is worth 5 points, and can be a combination of discussion in class, and/or posts on the Blackboard Discussion Board by 8 PM this Friday November 18.

Tournament Votes

The first round of the Classical division of the “Most Interesting Economist in History” tournament is live. Please post your votes in the discussion board.