Dictionary of Modern Economics

Dictionary of Modern Economics

Dictionary of Modern Economics

Dictionary of Modern Economics

Excerpt

Considering the wide scope, varying nature, and controversial characteristics of economics as currently interpreted, this work inevitably has definite limitations.

Unlike the natural sciences, economics has not yet reached--and possibly never will reach-- the state of a fixed system of symbols. Certainly economics has become more rather than less complex since the publication of Palgrave Dictionary of Political Economy in 1894. For in Palgrave's time, unlike our own, there was a considerable amount of agreement on basic principles and the terminology of economics was comparatively standardized. By and large, economic phenomena seemed to be neatly classified by common consent. If the layman was in essential ignorance of these phenomena, it mattered little to the professional priesthood. It was enough that the gentlemen of the dismal science knew--or thought they knew--what they were talking about.

The situation is quite different today. In recent years, especially since the debacle of 1929 and the advent of the New Deal in 1934, economics has become a jungle of esoteric theories, factual propositions, statistical generalizations, fictions, legalisms, technical terms and professional gobbledygook. Economics is no longer the intellectual property of the few. Today every shopkeeper, worker, and housewife is acutely conscious of the economic forces which affect their daily concerns. They may not be able to define these forces precisely, but they are prety well aware of their effects on purchasing power, income, and everyday life.

It is high time, then, that some effort be made to assemble and coordinate--primarily for the layman and incidentally for the college student--reasonably lucid definitions of those terms which cover the economic facts of life. Hence, this book. If, perchance, it should be of some use to the specialized economist, that will, of course, be gratifying to the authors.

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