What are the Questions?
Oil on Canvas
36" x 36"
In her famous Journal of Economic Literature article “What are the questions?” Joan Robinson questioned the structure of economic theory, rejecting conventional supply and demand analysis as a means of analyzing how markets and firms operate:
  1. “All these hypothesis have turned up many interesting and plausible concepts but it seems to me that the search for a single generalization is a hangover from the equilibrium model. There is no simple theory to cover the multifarious evolution of a private enterprise economy. The methods of ethology are more appropriate than mathematics to the study of industry, and indeed we do know a great deal about the natural history of business life from studies of the economics of industry. But this knowledge cannot be well organized if it has to be squeezed into formulae that smoothes over the distinction between the future and the past.” (Robinson, 1977, pp. 1325-6)
Challenging the established order associated with General Competitive Analysis and rejecting the Supply and Demand apparatus, Robinson targeted the mainstream economics profession.