Classics and Moderns in Economics: Essays on Nineteenth-And Twentieth-Century Economic Thought - Vol. 2

Classics and Moderns in Economics: Essays on Nineteenth-And Twentieth-Century Economic Thought - Vol. 2

Classics and Moderns in Economics: Essays on Nineteenth-And Twentieth-Century Economic Thought - Vol. 2

Classics and Moderns in Economics: Essays on Nineteenth-And Twentieth-Century Economic Thought - Vol. 2

Synopsis

This text focuses on the 19th and early 20th centuries, reprinting essays on classical and modern economics. This is a suitable resource for historians, students and academics involved in the history of economics.

Excerpt

The present book is a second collection of my essays on the history of economics, the first concentrating on the previous centuries, particularly the eighteenth. This book, as its title satisfactorily indicates, includes a selection of my contributions to nineteenth- and twentieth-century economics. Their original publication dates range from 1967 to 2001, hence once again reflecting my extensive interest in the whole of the history of economics, sustained over the greater part of my academic career. They also reflect a variety of interests and a generalist approach to the subject, which may be considered as out of place in an age of ever-increasing specialisation. A list of the contents ranked chronologically in terms of original dates of publication (or completion) appears as an appendix to this introduction.

The first three operative words of my title for this book indicate that it discusses classics and moderns. The latter designates adherence to the use of the marginalist method in economics; the meaning of 'classics' in this context is a little more ambiguous. The nature of this ambiguity is raised in Chapter 8, which reviews Marx's approach to defining classical economics. The operational stance on classical economics adopted here is an amalgam of Marx's views and the more contemporary delineation of British classical political economy from Smith to John Stuart Mill and Marx. In a sense, it also embodies Marshall's quite distinctive view of the 'classics' as books of continuing influence, an interpretation of the term which covers much of the work produced by the economic writers whose views are explored in the essays that follow. It needs to be observed as well that the broad, comparative intent of many of these essays makes their classification into such broad categories somewhat problematic.

It may be noted at the outset that the vast majority of these essays come from a relatively later stage of my career than my work on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century economics. The last initially derived from my postgraduate studies, devoted as they were to the economics of Turgot, and to the history of (mainly British) value, production and distribution theory written from 1650 to 1776. In this book, only one item (Chapter 2) dates from the 1960s and, interestingly, half of its contents are devoted to the eighteenth-century economist, Sir James Steuart. Only two essays come from the 1970s (Chapters 3 and 6). Both are devoted to matters associated with Ricardo, though the second draws as well on

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