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Economia Politica. Rivista di teoria e analisi*

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*Non-Technical
Summary*

The Slavery of Anarchy. Bruno de Finetti's Writings on Economic
Equilibrium (J.E.L. B31)

by Chiara Rossignoli

in *Economia Politica*, no.1, 1999

Bruno de Finetti, one of the main Italian applied mathematicians
of the twentieth century, is well-known for his contribution to the subjective
definition of probability. He was also concerned with mathematical economics and
gave noteworthy contributions in this area, mainly in the thirties and forties.
Taking Pareto's works as main reference, de Finetti developed a critique of
competitive equilibrium from a methodological-ethical point of view.

He followed Pareto and Barone's approach in considering the property of
optimality of equilibrium in abstract, disregarding the competitive mechanism.
From the mathematical point of view, his contributions are very remarkable. In
1937, he gives to the concept of Pareto optimum a formal treatment, anticipating
necessary conditions which were given only after the war by Kuhn and Tucker in
the context of non linear programming. He also introduces (in 1949) the concept
of quasi concave function, taking his departure from the functions having convex
level curves, traditionally representing the consumer's preferences.

*CHIARA ROSSIGNOLI is teaching assistent of mathematics at the Libera
Università "C.Cattaneo" di Castellanza, Via Giulio Romano 9, 20135 Milano
(home)*