Schools and Streams of Economic Thought

Schools and Streams of Economic Thought

Schools and Streams of Economic Thought

Schools and Streams of Economic Thought

Excerpt

This book is both a complement and a successor to my History of Economic Ideas. That study was published in 1940 and, having been reprinted a number of times, is now in print only in a Spanish translation. When I wrote the History of Economic Ideas, I was concerned to fill what seemed to me to be an important gap in the literature of economics--the absence of a book which examined the development of the various theories in some detail rather than studied the body of economic thought by period and doctrinal school. The collation of ideas which had been developed at different times and places on the same topics showed that many apparently new thoughts were partly old thoughts, and that sometimes a common solution was approached from different directions. Inevitably, such a book taken alone was destructive of "school" and "system." The present volume is designed to offer a briefer and more balanced treatment. It incorporates some of the material contained in the History of Economic Ideas, but it goes further than that book in studying economic writings by author, school, and period; therefore, it does more than the earlier book to show the contemporary integration of ideas.

With the passage of time, interest and emphasis change. The maturing of thought on such matters as employment and cycle theory and economic aggregates has made it both possible and necessary to treat topics and writers neglected or not yet emergent in 1940. A world in which widespread centralized economic planning presents one of the major issues of the day calls for some special attention to this subject. Generally, the writings of the past have to be looked upon in terms of new contemporary interests as well as continuing old interests. Hence, a new book has been written because a changed time seems to call for it.

Since thought in economics has to be interpreted in the light of opinion in other fields and also in terms of action-of life itself, discussion in this book sometimes goes beyond what ordinarily have . . .

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