Keynes said that Marshall was ‘too anxious to do good’.1 It is never very easy to say precisely how much good each of us ought to be anxious to do, and one also suspects that it is on balance better to be too anxious to do good than not anxious enough; but the point remains that Marshall was an earnest, conscientious and purposive social philosopher who regarded economic science as never more than the ‘servant’ of that ‘mistress’ which must be ethics.2 As Jacob Viner puts it: ‘There have been few of us who have made conscience be our guide as to subjects of investigation and methods of analysis as steadily and as consistently as did Marshall.’3 Of course Marshall was the master-maker of tools, whose Principles of Economics are to this day, to a greater extent than is true of the insights of any other single theoretician of the past, the foundations of our own. Yet no one understands Marshall who understands only consumer’s surplus and elasticity of demand, diminishing marginal utility and increasing real cost, the normal value and the equilibrium price, or who loses sight even for a moment of what Keynes so accurately diagnosed as ‘the conflict … between an intellect, which was hard, dry, critical, as unsentimental as you could find … [and] emotions and aspirations, generally unspoken, of quite a different type.
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