The conventional utility-based approach to microeconomics is now nearly a century old and although frequently criticised, it has yet to be replaced. On the Reappraisal of Microeconomics offers an alternative approach that overcomes most of the objections to orthodox theory, whilst offering some unique additional advantages.
The authors present a new approach to non-equilibrium microeconomics that applies equally to production, trade and consumption, and that is also consistent with the laws of thermodynamics. This new theory is not limited to equilibrium or near-equilibrium conditions. The core of the theory is proof that, for each agent (firm or individual), there exists an unique function of goods and money (denoted Z) that can be interpreted as subjective wealth for an individual or the owners of a firm. Exchanges may occur only when both parties enjoy an increase in subjective wealth as a consequence. On average, this Z-function will increase over time if, and only if, the agent obeys a simple decision rule in all economic transactions: namely to `avoid avoidable losses', or AAL, it being understood that some losses are unavoidable. Dynamic equations describing growth (or decline) can be derived simply by calculating time derivatives of a wealth function, without the need for constrained maximization of an integral of utility (or some surrogate) BM_1_over time. The Z-function also has a number of other interesting properties that can be used for multi-agent and multi-sectoral simulation models to explore a variety of economic situations that cannot be addressed so easily using conventional methods.
This is a stimulating, provocative and highly original book that will appeal to informed academics, researchers and other professionals with an interest in the fundamentals of neoclassical economics and its applications to business, finance, growth and the environment.
Robert U. Ayres, Novartis Professor (Emeritus) of Management and the Environment, INSEAD, France and Institute Scholar, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria and Katalin Martinas, Professor of Physics, Roland Eoetvoes University, (ELTE), Budapest, Hungary
Contents: Introduction 1. Models of Human Behavior 2. Micro-Foundations of Economics 3. Economic Agents, Actions and Wealth 4. The Z-Function 5. Decision-Making Strategies 6. Dynamics 7. From Agent to Aggregation 8. The Drivers of Long-Term Growth: Knowledge, Technological Change and Radical Innovation Appendix A: Money and Credit Appendix B: Balance Equations; Accounting Relationships Appendix C: Explicit Representations of Value and Wealth Functions and Supply-Demand Curves Appendix D: Properties of the Matrix References Index