Economia Politica. Rivista di teoria e analisi

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


Sommario non tecnico: Chiara Rossignoli

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 UniversitÓ "C.Cattaneo" di Castellanza, Via Giulio Romano 9, 20135 Milano (home)

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