Early British Economics from the XIIIth to the Middle of the XVIIIth Century


Of books which describe the commercial and industrial history of Britain there is no end; their title-pages alone would fill a fair-sized catalogue. The present book is not intended to swell their number. Its subject matter is not the growth of British trade, but economic thought, which was bequeathed to us by men of the British Isles from the thirteenth to the middle of the eighteenth century. Its primary object is to give in a concise form a connected and consecutive outline of the economic and ethical problems raised by social developments and changes, as well as of the reasonings about them and the doctrines formulated by schoolmen, city merchants, economic writers, and philosophers in the five or six centuries in question.

Vast and various is the series of folios, discourses, "conceipts," and tracts which those men were able to leave to posterity. It has been beyond my power to summarize and appraise them all. I have confined myself to giving the essentials of those works that contain some original thought or which exerted a considerable influence on their contemporaries.

It was my main effort to organize the existing doctrinal material of early British economics--first, by dividing it, according to time and contents, into consecutive periods; second, by classifying the reasonings and concepts of each period; lastly, by putting each group of reasonings and concepts, as well as its leading exponents, in their historical setting. How far I have succeeded in that attempt, is for my readers to say.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • London
Publication year:
  • 1938


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