List of top two economists of Mathematical School:- 1. Augustine Cournot 2. Gossen.
Economist # 1. Augustine Cournot (1801-1877):
Cournot was the principal founder of the mathematical school. He was a famous French economist who was the first to use Mathematics in this subject. In the opinion of Dr. Marshall, Cournot’s genius must give a new mental activity to everyone who passes through his hands. His main contribution, “Researches into the Mathematical Principles of the Theory of Wealth” was first published in 1838.
The same book was republished, after omitting the algebraic part, in 1863 as Principles of the Theory of Wealth and in 1876 as Review Summary of Economic Doctrines. His book was recognised only after the publication of William Stanley Jevons’ The Theory of Political Economy (1872) and Leon wairas’ Elements of Political Economy (1874), who pointed out the virtues of his method in their books. Then he came to occupy a remarkable position in the history of economic thought.
Economist # 2. Gossen (1810-1858):
Herman Heinrich Gossen is one of the most tragic figures in the history of economics. Gossen was an anticipator of the marginal utility theory. He published his book “Development of the Laws of Exchange among Men” in 1854.
He hoped that his book revolutionised the science of economics. He claimed that he was doing to economics what Copernicus did for astronomy. But his ideas were never popular during his life time. One main reason for that was his treatment of the subject was highly mathematical. But Jevons and Menger praised the pioneering efforts made by Gossen in the development of marginal utility theory.
Gossen’s analysis of economic system is based on Hedonism and Utilitarianism. According to him everyman tries to maximise his pleasure and minimise his pain. In other words Gossen believed that the aim of all human conduct is to maximise enjoyment.
Gossen believed that the confusion which existed in economic theories before his book was published was due to the absence of mathematical representation. So, he held that a comparison of the quantities of satisfaction might be made with the help of mathematical formulae. Based on the above assumption he wrote in the first para of his book. “Man wants to enjoy life and makes it his chief aim to maximise happiness”. In this connection he gave three laws of human conduct.
These three laws exhibit three main features:
(2) Consumption approach and
(3) Mathematical method.