Demonstrate the rational order of the market: reflections on an impossible project

Vol. 16 No. 2 (1996)

Apr-Jun / 1996
Published April 1, 1996
PDF-Portuguese (Português (Brasil))
PDF-Portuguese (Português (Brasil))

How to Cite

Ganem, Angela. 1996. “Demonstrate the Rational Order of the Market: Reflections on an Impossible Project”. Brazilian Journal of Political Economy 16 (2):274-92.

Demonstrate the rational order of the market: reflections on an impossible project

Angela Ganem
Professora-adjunta do Departamento de Economia da Universidade Federal Fluminense – UFF, Rio de Janeiro/RJ, Brasil.
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 16 No. 2 (1996), Apr-Jun / 1996, Pages 274-292


The Walrasian approach in the neoclassical theory aims to explain a general
and stable equilibrium over time which is determined by the maximizing behaviour of
agents in the marketplace. This paper intends to highlight the main logical shortcomings
inherent to the General Equilibrium Theory, which have important implications at the
research level. In this context, the main issues become: i) at the level of assumptions, the
issue of stability introduces a fundamental indetermination in the model; ii) the well-known
market imperfections in the real world contribute to the impossibility of setting general
principles. The search to address the issues through a more realistic approach generates new
indeterminations and makes it even more difficult to attain the Pareto Optimum. In order
to better understand the logical and methodological impossibilities of this theory, the article suggests referring the research program to the rational constructivist philosophy of modem

JEL Classification: B20; B41.

Keywords: Economic methodology history of economic thought general equilibrium