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On the Recent Debate on Capital Theory and General Equilibrium



The paper disputes the negative conclusion of prof. Mandler on the thesis by Garegnani, Schefold, Parrinello that intertemporal general equilibrium theory too is undermined by reswitching and reverse capital deepening. The paper argues that Mandler’s conclusion rests upon highly criticisable assumptions that render the equations of intertemporal general equilibrium identical to those of general equilibria without capital goods. The Walrasian treatment of the capital endowment is criticized in Part I on the basis of its insufficient persistence, and of other ‘methodological’ criticisms that are systematically surveyed. In Part II it is shown through a numerical example that Mandler’s claim, that the assumption of a single consumer guarantees uniqueness of intertemporal equilibrium independently of reswitching or reverse capital deepening, rests on the absence of production of capital goods in the last period of the equilibrium; this assumption is thus revealed to be one of the tricks that prevents the existence of capital goods from changing the properties of the equilibrium relative to those of equilibria without capital

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