Pareto's legacy in modern economics. The case of psychology

Luigino Bruni
2010 Revue européenne des sciences sociales  
The text is a facsimile of the print edition. © Librairie Droz Revue européenne des sciences sociales, Tome XLVIII, 2010, N°146, pp. 93-111 Luigino BRUNI PARETO'S LEGACY IN MODERN ECONOMICS THE CASE OF PSYCHOLOGY without having to resort to important measuring and not even to the existence of utility (Pareto, 1984, pp. 290-291) 1 . With these goals he achieved only a part of his project, the part he considered the easiest. In the 30's Hicks, Allen, Samuelson and others rediscovered Pareto's
more » ... overed Pareto's theory of choice. In a atmosphere of behaviourism, operationalism and neopositivism, Pareto was presented as the founder of a new economic science, based on facts, free from unobservable metaphysical categories such as pleasure and utility. Although this is a very well-known story, it is not the whole story. In fact, in this reading of Pareto the image that emerges is that of an uncertain, confused and almost schizophrenic author. He was regarded as a talented precursor, who, however, created a hybrid, something halfway between the old and the new. Hicks sums this up succinctly: even after Pareto had established his great proposition, he continued to use concepts derived from the earlier set of ideas. The reason was, perhaps, that he did not take the trouble to rework his earlier conclusions in the light of a proposition, which he only reached at a rather late stage of his work in economics. However that may be, he missed an opportunity (Hicks 1939 (Hicks [1946 .
doi:10.4000/ress.759 fatcat:fqy4b6ajxjcdzh7aa7gettzinq