The Theory of Political Economy

The Theory of Political Economy

The Theory of Political Economy

The Theory of Political Economy

Excerpt

In writing the Preface to the fourth edition of the Theory of Political Economy I ventured to predict that it would be the last. That edition was in fact exhausted a few years ago; but Messrs. Macmillan were unable to see their way to reprint the book. I was glad therefore to have an offer from the representative of an American firm to bring out a new edition, for there is a continuing demand for the Theory, which has found a place amongst the economic classics of the nineteenth century.

Its appeal lies not merely in the Author's clarity and freshness of diction, but in its combination of two previously separate schools of thought -- those favoring respectively the psychological and the mathematical methods in economics. It is still a matter of controversy whether economics should be regarded as a calculus of pleasure and pain or, more correctly, of positive and negative feeling, or whether it should be treated as the science of preferences in the satisfaction of human wants. For myself, I believe that those who refuse or neglect to study the psychological basis of economics as one branch of the science of human behavior are less likely than those who do so to arrive at sound conclusions . . .

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