Modern Economic Thought: The American Contribution

By Allan G. Gruchy | Go to book overview

CHAPTER
5
The Social Economics of John M. Clark

Among American economists John Maurice Clark holds a unique position. Not only has he pushed beyond the boundaries of conventional economics to develop his own "social economics," but he has also been very intimately connected through family associations with the development of American economic thought since 1885. As one of the sons of John Bates Clark, who was America's leading exponent of the economics of marginalism in the closing years of the last century, John M. Clark has been in a position to draw inspiration from the thought and experience of two generations of economists. No economist has been better situated to absorb what was worth while in neo-classical thought, and to carry that type of economic thinking to still higher levels of scientific achievement. The younger Clark, however, has not taken advantage of his fortunate position to refine further the static economics inherited from his father. It is a tribute to the independent character of John M. Clark's economic thinking that he has not confined himself to the work of carrying on economic investigation from the point at which his father left it. Instead the younger Clark has struck out into new fields of scientific interest where much of the older systematic economics of his father's generation is of little aid, where a new scientific orientation and new conceptual tools are essential for the tasks at hand, and where the symmetrical body of theory of the nineteenth-century economists cannot be duplicated to any great advantage. If John M. Clark does not come to enjoy a fame equal to that of his illustrious father, it will not be because he has thought less rigorously or less deeply than his famous parent, for the field of dynamic economics is one which will certainly test the scientific mettle of the current generation of twentieth-century economists.

Born on November 30, 1884, in Northampton, Massachusetts,

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