Information Bulletin of the Union of National Economic Associations in Japan No. 11 (1991) pp. 32-33.
(Shoichi HASHIMOTO; Scanned and corrected by Aiko IKEO in 1997)
The 54th National Convention of the Society was held at Kanto Gakuin University (Yokohama) on 10 - 11 November. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the foundation of this Society, Hiroshi MIZUTA (Meijo University) was invited to deliver a memorial lecture, entitled "Adam Smith, 200 years on". In this lecture MIZUTA recalled his own long period - more than 40 years - or study of Adam Smith, and emphasized the significance of the bibliographical background.
MIZUTA had also organized an international conference on Adam Smith which was held at Nagoya in April 1990. This was an independent symposium sponsored by this Society and other educational institutes, at which thirteen papers on Smith were presented by foreign representative scholars; the responses came from Japanese discussants belonging to this Society. For this reason the bicentenary of Smith's death in 1990, was not adopted as a common theme for this year's meeting.
However, the year 1990 marks the centennial of Alfred Marshall's "The Principles of Economics ". Marshall (1842 - 1924) was the founder of - the Cambridge School or the Neoclassical School of Economics. This book had been the "bible" of economics at least for English speaking people ever since its publication. To mark this centenary, a number of conferences have already been planned by those interested in economic thought in the main European countries. We cannot confirm that the meeting in the former East Germany was held as planned.
Although the Society did not formally made Marshall's Principle the common theme, five papers on Marshall and his economic thought were read. These were "English empiricism in Marshall's economics: laws in economics" by Kohei KASAI (Nagoya Economics University), "A. Marshall's evolutionary economics with reference to H. Spencer" by Hiroshi ISOKAWA (Kinki University), "Marshall's critique of the tariff reform campaign of 1903" by Yoshio ONODA (Hirosaki University), "On the significance of the logic of life and progress' in Marshall's economics" Akio FUJITA (Kanazawa University) and finally "Studies on Marshall in recent years" by Shoichi HASHIMOTO (Kansai University).
KASAI explained the characteristics of Marshall's conception or economic laws, and insisted that his laws were, because they could be changed by human effort, different from those of the Classical School. Marshall's teleological interpretation linked with his causation theory could be used for a contemporary `ecological economics'.
ISOKAWA argued that Marshall's economics was for two reasons, not unrelated to biology. Firstly Marshall recognized biology as a higher science, and he intended his own work on economics to be useful for people's ordinary life by utilizing biological methods. Secondly he found in the new development of biology practical policies for resolution of the historical and social problems in the middle or nineteenth century. ISOKAWA maintained that Herbert Spencer (1820 - 1903) acted as a pathfinder for Marshall. Both Marshall and Spencer were aware of the challenge which liberalism in England was facing particularly in the poverty of the labouring classes. They were both keen to restore English liberalism as long as individuality could be maintained. Marshall searched for remedies in the evolutionary theory in the biology. Marshall's economics in consequence and a strengthening both people's individuality and public morality that is reconciling self-interest and public welfare.
ONODA maintained that Marshall's economic principles had two aims; to eliminate poverty at home because it could cause degeneration, and on the external side to preserve England's international industrial leadership which was particularly important with severe competition from Germany and America. Britain had a duty to maintain both her free trade principles and industrial leadership. Because of the crisis in the economy after 1873 after which British foreign trade continually declined and the policy or free trade became contentions, Joseph Chamberlain (1836 - 1914) with the support of, historical economists such as Ashley and Foxwell started a campaign, in 1903, to retain the protective tariff on imported corn which had been introduced for one year only. Marshall, with other 13 leading economists, signed the `Anti-Chamberlain Manifesto', which was drafted by Edgeworth and which appeared in "The Times".
FUJITA also divided Marshall's system of economic thought into two elements; price-equilibrium theory and econo-biology theory, arguing that the latter had been overlooked. FUJITA paid attention to the works or Talcott Parsons in this respect. In relation to "progress of life", Marshall introduced a concept or organization as the fourth agent of production anticipating the sound growth or both grade-unions and cooperative- organization.
HASHIMOTO in his paper tackled the monetary and trade cycle controversies engendered. Although Keynes, Schumpeter, Shove and Howey had earlier contributed much in assessing Marshall in the past, new generations born after 1940 like Maloney (England), Kadish (Israel) and Groenewegen (Australia) are now in tile 1990s looking at fresh methods and problems. They have introduced new concepts and challenges in boils social history and the history of science bringing a new dimension into the study of the history of economic thought. These five papers were modest but valuable contributions, especially as they related to the Marginal Revolution which had been relatively weak and neglected field in this Society and must have stimulated many of tile participants.
Besides these five papers and MIZUTA's commemorative lecture, 15 papers were presented in two days before an audience or some 400.
The 55th annual meeting is scheduled to be held at Hirosaki University (Aomori Prefecture) on October 19 to 20, 1991, and the 56th will be at Kyoto Industrial College in autumn 1992.
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