The Development of Economic Thought: Great Economists in Perspective

The Development of Economic Thought: Great Economists in Perspective

The Development of Economic Thought: Great Economists in Perspective

The Development of Economic Thought: Great Economists in Perspective

Excerpt

Many great economists have shown a profound interest in the history of their discipline, and have left behind a legacy of appraisals of the work of their fellow-economists. A number of such studies have been assembled in this volume, together with kindred essays by contemporary writers of distinction. The studies are arranged in chronological order, enabling the reader to obtain a first-hand view of the development of economics as seen through the eyes of the great economists themselves. This double perspective in which the various figures and phases of the history of economics are presented will bring to light many new facets of a subject which, in Paul Samuelson's words, "is a game only worth playing if it is played very well indeed." Nobody surely could play it better than the great men, from Aristotle down to the present, who are here acting out the story of which they themselves are the heroes, telling us what they think about each other.

The work is international in scope and representative of a multiplicity of points of view. The reader will find, displayed at the market place, as it were, the great ideas that have inspired economic thought throughout the ages. The very profusion of ideas, it is hoped, will prove a challenge to the critical mind, and a wholesome antidote against any narrow dogmatism of the Keynesian or other variety.

How did I go about the work of collection? It was my aim to assemble outstanding essays by great economists about other great economists. There were a few articles whose very fame seemed to make their inclusion mandatory. With a few other articles I had to take what was available in order to round out the story. Most often, however, an article was selected as the result of a process of sifting, calling for discretion and judgment. It goes without saying that in this task I had no axe to grind; that I had what seemed to me sound reasons for inclusions and rejections; and that the opinions expressed by my authors are not necessarily my own. The justification of each selection would make a long story, too long and too tedious to be told here. Suffice it to say that it was my intention to steer clear of obituaries, to include only one article by any one author, and to con-

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