On Economic Growth: An Essay in Pure Theory

On Economic Growth: An Essay in Pure Theory

On Economic Growth: An Essay in Pure Theory

On Economic Growth: An Essay in Pure Theory

Excerpt

This is an informal essay by an amateur of economic theory. Perhaps a mathematical idiot with neither time nor wit to keep up with the spate of contemporary literature should not tackle dynamic economics: but, once glimpsed, the vision of economic history as a largely determinate process is so obsessive that one must get it out of one's system. Besides, experience has suggested to me that much practical policy is defective for lack of sufficient dynamism in its analytical basis and hence that even such violently abstract exercises as these may, remotely and indirectly, serve useful ends.

Nothing written on this subject at this date, at least by amateurs, can aspire to permanence. Moreover, the elements of my analysis are so familiar that no great originality, save perhaps in error, can be expected or is claimed for it. I have therefore deliberately refrained from trying to provide that apparatus of references, comparisons with other theory and acknowledgements of priority which would be properly required of something scholarly and permanent. But the reader will easily see the debt I owe to the stimulus of Mrs. Joan Robinson and guess, and share, my regret that, because these pages were in proof when Mr. Sraffa Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities was published, I have not been able to recast my presentation to show how far my superstructure might be fitted on to his deep foundations.

This essay was written while on leave of absence from H.M. Treasury during tenure of a Research Fellowship at Nuffield College, Oxford, in 1958-9. I am deeply grateful to the Warden, Fellows, students, and staff for much kindness then and earlier. I have much gratitude too for encouragement received at various times from Professor Swan, Sir Donald MacDougall . . .

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