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雅各布·维纳(Jacob Viner)
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雅各布·維納(Jacob Viner)
雅各布·維納(Jacob Viner)又稱為雅各布·瓦伊納

目錄

  • 1 雅各布·維納簡介
  • 2 瓦依納錯誤[1]
  • 3 Jacob Viner
  • 4 參考文獻

雅各布·維納簡介

  雅各布·維納(Jacob Viner,1892年5月3日- 1970年9月12號)是一位經濟學家,並作為現今的芝加哥經濟學派的早期成員之一。瓦伊納出生於1892年在蒙特利爾,魁北克移民父母和羅馬尼亞獲得了 1914年在麥吉爾大學的學士學位。他的博士學位是在哈佛大學獲得,是當時著名經濟理論和國際經濟學權威陶西格(Frank W.Taussig,1859~1940)的學生與朋友。

  他是從1916年在芝加哥大學教授,到1917年和1919年至1946年。在不同時候瓦伊納還任教於斯坦福大學和耶魯大學,並兩次前往國際研究學院在瑞士日內瓦舉行。1946年,他離開普林斯頓大學,他直到1960年退休。

  瓦伊納曾擔任芝加哥大學教授,並擔任著名的《政治經濟學雜誌》主編18年之久。他對成本曲線、壟斷競爭

和寡頭市場上的拗折的需求曲線的研究都是開創性的,在經濟思想史的研究中也造詣頗深。他影響最大的是關於成本理論的研究和成本曲線的圖形表述。這些仍然是今天微觀經濟學中成本理論的重要內容。

瓦依納錯誤[1]

在研究成本理論時,他提出了今天人們都熟悉的包絡曲線概念,即長期平均成本曲線是無數條短期平均成本曲線的包絡曲線。當時瓦伊納認為,在長期中企業總可以通過調整生產規模實現平均成本最低,因此,長期平均成本曲線應該是無數條短期平均成本曲線最低點組成的軌跡。根據這種思路,他要求製圖員畫出一條滿足以下兩個條件的包絡曲線;第一,這條包絡曲線要把無數條短期平均成本曲線包在內;第二,這條包絡曲線要和所有短期平均成本曲線的最低點相切。

據記載瓦伊納的這個製圖員是一個中國人(可惜名字已無法考證),且精通數學。製圖員告訴瓦伊納,這個圖是畫不出來的,因為在數學上任何一條包絡曲線都無法同時滿足這兩個條件。如果要把無數條曲線包在內,這條包絡曲線就不能與這些曲線的最低點相切;如果要使包絡曲線與各條曲線的最低點相切,這條包絡曲線都不能把各條曲線都包在內。這就說,包絡曲線只能滿足瓦伊納要求的兩個條件之一,而不能同時滿足這兩個條件。瓦伊納為此與製圖員發生爭吵。

在此之前,經濟學家普遍認為,既然長期中企業可以調整規模使平均成本最低,長期平均成本曲線就應該是短期平均成本曲線最低點的軌跡。瓦伊納的包絡曲線概念和對包絡曲線兩個必須滿足的條件的總結正是這種思想的概括。但事實上長期平均成本曲線並不能是各短期平均成本曲線最低點的包絡曲線。這種對短期與長期平均成本曲線關係的誤解被稱為“瓦依納錯誤”。是一個不知名的中國製圖員糾正了這個錯誤。

Jacob Viner

  Jacob Viner(May 3, 1892 - September 12, 1970)

  Together with Knight, the Canadian-born Jacob Viner was the leading light of the Chicago School of the inter-war period. His work ranged all over economics, but it is perhaps his work on the history of economic thought and international trade theory that we find his remarkable strengths. Nonetheless, as Robbins characterized him, Viner was "the outstanding all-rounder of his time in our profession" (Robbins, 1970: p.2). 

  Trained by Taussig at Harvard, Viner's very first publication was on methodology (1917), in which he provided a full-fledged defense of the inductive method. His subsequent work was on problems in trade theory (1923, 1924) - a concern which he maintained throughout the rest of his career.

  This work was concurrent with his masterly 1921 and 1931 articles on price theory - the first began inching towards a theory of imperfect competition, the second providing an analytical and graphical exposition of the theory of the firm (the long-run and short-run cost curves we see in modern principles textbooks). A famous error on the long-run envelope of short-run average cost curves in his 1931 article and anticipation by Harrod did not diminish his claim to fame.

  Jacob Viner was fiercely opposed to the Keynesian Revolution - but not because of its policy prescriptions as indeed, Viner himself had recommended them. As he wrote in several papers (e.g. 1933), he believed the Great Depression was due to deflation in output prices being faster than the collapse in costs. Recovery, he believed, required a restoration of profit margins and thus government-induced inflation - not by monetary expansion, but rather by deficit spending. This would create the necessary price rise,(and, with costs lagging, profits) and the consequent cumulative rise in output to pull the economy out of depression. He was very much a fiscal policy advocate and a believer in policy discretion rather than fixed rules - thus he did not take Milton Friedman

's attempt to paint him as an "early Monetarist" very well.

  Viner's famous 1936 critique of Keynes was not over policy implications but rather a result of theoretical disputes over liquidity preference and what Viner thought was oversimplified theory of effective demand. Viner preferred to famously characterize Keynesian theory as "short-run" analysis while considering Neoclassical theory to be true in the "long-run". It was Viner's scathing 1936 critique that prompted J.M. Keynes to write his famous 1937 QJE article as a response.

  Viner's work on the history of economic thought began with his 1926 essay on Adam Smith and culminated in his magnum opus, Studies in the Theory of International Trade (1937) - to which we owe most of our knowledge of the Bullionist Controversy in 19th Century Britain - and the masterful introduction to the 1965 reprint of Rae's Life of Adam Smith.

  Viner's relations with Knight were cool but respectful. Compared to Knight, Viner was less opposed to quantitative techniques but remained wary of them. A recurring, if pointless, amusement at Chicago was the controversy over cost theory between Knight and Viner - with Knight supporting the Austrian doctrine of opportunity cost and Viner espousing the Marshallian "real cost" theory. This position was, in fact, more than a personal diversion: Viner (1932, 1937), after all, had promoted a "real cost" version of the comparative advantage thesis as opposed to Haberler's "opportunity cost" version or Ohlin's "factor-endowment" version.

  Despite being one of the leaders of the Chicago School, Viner left Chicago for Princeton in 1946 - perhaps to the relief of many Chicago first-year students: Viner's "price theory" course was notorious for the terrifying way in which he conducted the classroom discussion. In later years, when questioned as to whether he thought himself part of the Chicago School, his reply was unequivocal:

  "I am willing to consider the existence of a 'Chicago School' (but not one confined to the economics department and not embracing all of the department) and that this `School' had been in operation, and had won many able disciples, for years before I left Chicago. But at no time was I consciously a member of it, and it is my vague impression that if there was such a school it did not regard me as a member, or at least as a loyal and qualified member" (Letter to Patinkin, Nov. 24, 1969).

  Although he missed the Nobel awards, Viner was awarded the American Economic Association prestigious Francis A. Walker Medal in 1962 - the economics' profession's Nobel equivalent prior to 1969. Viner's exhortation for serious scholarly treatment of economics is best expressed in his famous 1950 address, A Modest Proposal for Some Stress on Scholarship in Graduate Training.

  Viner, Jacob

  Viner, Jacob (1892-1970), third Walker Professor of Economics and International Finance, was one of the ablest economists of his generation, and “in the range and depth of insight and erudition, according to the British economist Lionel C. Robbins, “the outstanding all-rounder of his time in our profession. His primary interests were in international economics, economic theory, and the history of economic thought, but his influence pervaded all areas of economics and spread to the fields of history, philosophy, literature, and religion. President Bowen, who was one of his students, called him “one of the great Renaissance scholars of the world.

  Born in Montreal, Canada, of Rumanian immigrant parents (he later became a naturalized citizen of the United States), he graduated in 1914 from McGill, where Stephen Leacock was one of his teachers, and received his Ph.D. in 1922 from Harvard, where he was a pupil and became a close friend of Professor Frank Taussig.

  He became an instructor at the University of Chicago in 1916 and was promoted to full professor in 1925, at the age of thirty-two. Chicago had a remarkably brilliant group of economists in those years; according to Simeon E. Leland, his first graduate student and later his colleague, “the brightest star in this galaxy was Viner . . . the most industrious and the toughest teacher of the lot.

  Viner's first book was Dumping (1923); when a dowager asked him why anyone would write a book on that subject, his reply was the subtitle: “A Problem in International Trade. His second book, Canada's Balance of International Indebtedness (1924), was his doctoral dissertation; a pioneering work, it set the style for a highly productive series of studies in the working of international financial mechanisms. His Studies in the Theory of International Trade (1937), was, Robbins said “at once the main source of historical knowledge regarding the evolution of thought in this sphere and a work in which some of his main theoretical developments play a pivotal part. During his eighteen years as editor of the Journal of Political Economy, he brought that journal to the peak of its distinction.

  Viner frequently interrupted his academic work to serve as an adviser to the government and as a delegate to many international conferences. During the First World War, he was associated with the United States Tariff Commission and the Shipping Board. In the thirties he was an adviser to the Treasury Department, participating in the original planning of the Social Security Program. He was later a consultant to the State Department and to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

  Viner made several close friends in other countries, among them, Lionel Robbins, who has described their first encounter at Oxford in 1927 and “by the impression he at once made -- the short alert figure with his candid and penetrating eyes, now brimming over with fun, now sober with deep reflection, his quick wit, his delight in argument and the general sense of intellectual vitality that informed even his casual remarks.

  Later Robbins discovered other qualities: Viner's scrupulousness, his candor, his catholic outlook, his “zest for the exchange of ideas and the pursuit of the thought wherever it led him which made any session with him an exciting and strenuous adventure. Robbins said of Viner what Dr. Johnson said of Edmund Burke: “That man calls forth all my powers.

  THE PRINCETON YEARS

  In 1946, after serving for thirty years as a member of the faculty of the University of Chicago, Viner accepted President Dodds's invitation to come to Princeton, where he made a remarkable contribution to the intellectual life of the University for almost twenty-five years.

  His insight and erudition delighted his Princeton colleagues. Time and again, Professor William Baumol recalled, Viner would pose propositions to him “involving complex interrelations arrived at by some inexplicable intuitive process. Occasionally, Baumol would argue with him that his propositions were obviously incorrect, but always it turned out that Viner had been right. “Sometimes it took me days of painstaking calculation to arrive at his result, said Baumol, “but I can remember no case in which the mathematics failed to support his assertion.

  His reputation as a tough teacher continued. Graduate students knew that in doctoral examinations his would be the most difficult questions, Baumol recalled, but what they did not know was that afterward his would be the most generous marks proposed -- and usually adopted. Once a colleague asked Viner how he could possibly propose such a good grade for a student who had failed completely to answer what Viner had asked him. With a playful gleam in his eyes, Viner replied “Surely no one could reasonably have been expected to answer that question.

  A familiar figure in Firestone Library, Viner exercised a lively influence on its other users. “No one, the University Librarian, William S. Dix, said, “could measure the value of his informal teaching as he stood near the catalogue or in the stacks talking with a graduate student or a colleague . . . teaching by example the pleasure and the integrity of sound scholarship. An expert bibliographer and an inveterate reader of booksellers' catalogs, he delighted in discovering obscure but useful books and pamphlets which he acquired and gave to the University library, with meticulous notes on their bibliographical significance.

  He also contributed his tough-mindedness and his infectious humor to the affairs of the University Press as a member of its editorial board and as a trustee. Under his influence standards and procedures were established for the publication of scholarly books that have helped set the Press's guidelines ever since. Remarking on Viner's influence, Herbert S. Bailey, Jr., Director of the Press, spoke of the “witty seriousness that was characteristic of everything he did. “He rarely told a joke, Bailey recalled, “but conversations with him were filled with laughter. . . . Even on the most serious occasions when he was righteously aroused by some scholar's carelessness or infidelity, a flash of wit could suddenly turn everything to smiles -- though the carelessness or infidelity was not excused.

  HIS MODEST PROPOSAL

  Viner's wit as well as his humanistic approach to learning are illustrated in an address delivered at Brown University in 1950, titled “A Modest Proposal for Some Stress on Scholarship in Graduate Training. His “modest proposal was that graduate schools should assume more responsibility than they ordinarily do for scholarship as distinct from research.

  Although he admitted that graduate students could not become "finished scholars as well as finished economists" in the short time available to them, he pointed out that graduate study is followed by another stage in education “lasting to the end of one's life. He suggested, therefore, that doctoral degrees should be granted, and accepted, somewhat in the spirit in which the University of Avignon handled the case of a capable but negligent candidate in 1650; “after some hesitation it conferred the doctoral degree sub spe future studi in the hope of future study.”

  He did not plead on behalf of scholarship that it would save the world (“although this had conceivably happened in the past and might happen again) or that it would bring material rewards to the scholar or that it was an invariably exciting activity. All that he would plead, at least on this occasion, he said, was that once the taste for it has been aroused.

  “it gives a sense of largeness even to one's small quests, and a sense of fullness even to the small answers to problems large or small which it yields, a sense which can never in any other way be attained, for which no other source of human gratification can, to the addict, be a satisfying substitute, which gains instead of loses in quality and quantity and in pleasure-yielding capacity by being shared with others -- and which, unlike golf, improves with age.

  Viner's ground-breaking study, The Customs Union Issue, appeared in 1950, his essays, International Economics in 1951, and his lectures at the National University of Brazil, in 1952. In 1957, on his sixty-fifth birthday, his students and friends brought out a selection of his writings, titled The Long View and the Short.

  In 1960 Viner nominally retired, but despite his reply to an old friend who asked what he was doing now -- “basking amid the laurels of my students -- he continued to spend most of his time in Firestone Library, “pursuing with concentrated intensity at once the detail of how the subject of his study actually happened and what its significance was in the broad evolution of thought and affairs.

  In 1962 he was awarded the Francis A. Walker Medal, presented by the American Economic Association once every five years to an economist who has made a contribution of the highest distinction to economics. In presenting this award, Fritz Machlup, Viner's successor as Walker Professor, said that in all the fields to which Viner had contributed, he would be remembered as “a deflator of pretentious nonsense as well as an original creator. What all of his colleagues might learn from him, Machlup added, was “intellectual honesty and fearlessness, with “a willingness to stand firm on the unpopular side of any issue, theoretical or practical, whether that side be `radical' or `conservative,' `newfangled' or `old fashioned.

  During his retirement he spent a year at Harvard as Taussig Research Professor, wrote a monograph on monetary control and another on Adam Smith, and gave the Wayne Memorial Lectures of the American Philosophical Society on “The Role of Providence in the Social Order.

  Viner was a permanent member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and an honorary fellow of the London School of Economics. President of the American Economic Association in 1939, he was also a fellow or member of a number of honorary academies in the United States as well as in Great Britain, Sweden, and Italy. He received honorary degrees from thirteen American and foreign universities including Princeton.

  “A deep love of justice and liberty and a profound sense of compassion were for Viner “the underlying justifications for thought and public action, Lionel Robbins wrote in his final tribute:

  “Jack was not a believer in any orthodox creed. But he believed passionately in the liberal values: equality before the law, the maximum freedom for the individual compatible with similar privileges for his fellows, sympathy and help for the unfortunate. Nothing stirred him to anger more than an infringement of these norms, nothing more aroused his contempt than bogus substitutes for them. He did not believe that life on this planet was likely to become perfect. But he believed that, with forethought, it could be made less imperfect than it is.

參考文獻

  1. ↑ 梁小民.黑板上的經濟學[M]