Two views of competition: "Is it peace or war?"

Rodolphe dos Santos Ferreira*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


On the basis of the 19th century mathematical economics literature initiated by Cournot, the paper shows the coexistence of two contrasting views of competition, which may be associated, as already suggested by Edgeworth, with the two themes of peace and war. According to the first view (Jevons, Walras, Marshall), competition is characterised, independently of market structure, by the peaceful price taking conduct of consumers and producers. Rivalry is not completely absent, but it concerns the interaction of mediating professional dealers. According to the second view (Bertrand, Launhardt), competition appears as an aggressive strategic interaction between producers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)852-867
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of the History of Economic Thought
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Competition
  • Competitive aggressiveness
  • Market making
  • Price taking
  • Rivalry


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