Essays in Economics

Essays in Economics

Essays in Economics

Essays in Economics

Excerpt

In the course of an academic and literary career exceeding four decades there are naturally apt to accumulate a series of minor contributions. Some of these have been incorporated in the various books which it has been my fortune to write. There remain, however, a large number not so utilized; and among the some which all too complaisant critics have thought of perhaps more than mere ephemeral interest. I have, therefore, deemed it appropriate to make a selection from these scattered writings, and to let some of them at least appear in two volumes. As they deal with distinct classes of topics, they are published with independent titles--the present volume and the companion volume, Studies in Public Finance.

The contributions to the present volume are composed of essays in scientific journals, of addresses and lectures, of chapters in jointly edited books and of reports by government commissions. It would have been easy to add a third volume, composed of reviews of literature, as Professor Edgeworth has recently done; but it seemed wiser not to attempt this. The chapters in the present volume fall naturally into three divisions: contributions to the history of economic doctrine, comprising the first four chapters; problems of economic theory, such as chapters five, seven, nine and ten; and questions of economic policy like chapters six, eight and twelve. To these I have ventured to add in chapter eleven a popular lecture; and in the two final chapters addresses of a more general educational import.

In contributions which range over so long a span of time there are obviously two hazards. One is the danger of repetition. This I have sought to reduce to a minimum by omitting those writings which seemed in any considerable degree to duplicate what is contained in the present chapters. The other is the risk of contradiction which not infrequently marks the development of an individual's thought with the progress of time and with the at-

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