Although he is often thought of as a sociologist because of his theory of circulating elites, and much is made of his eventually becoming a fascist senator, Pareto was a very important figure in the development of mainstream neoclassical economics. He was really the first to apply calculus to the nascent general equilibrium theory and argued for the efficiency of competition, despite his later advocacy of the corporate state.
Indeed, the standard economics term for efficiency is "Pareto optimality," a state in which no one can be made better off without someone else being made worse off. I note that it was after reading Pareto that Enrico Barone wrote his famous piece on central planning, arguing that a central planner could achieve the Pareto equilibrium/optimum. This led to a response by von Mises, and then Lange, etc. etc., the great socialist planning controversy. Barkley Rosser -----Original Message----- From: Rob Schaap <rws at comedu.canberra.edu.au> To: lbo-talk at lists.panix.com <lbo-talk at lists.panix.com> Date: Monday, August 21, 2000 5:23 PM Subject: Re: what are gini coefficients?
>>Too bad this Pareto was a fascist :>)
>Well, he didn't like commies, I'll admit. But he did have the perception
>to see that methodological individualism ain't gonna give the economist the
>whole picture. I don't know a whole lot about this bloke, but haven't seen
>any sign of fascism in the bits of him I've read (thought him rather a
>decent sort in his comfy-classed way, actually). So what's the dirt? And
>how good are the sources on this?
>Or does that emoticon refer to something I missed?