Selections from Modern Economic Society

Selections from Modern Economic Society

Selections from Modern Economic Society

Selections from Modern Economic Society

Excerpt

The rapid development of economic life compels a constant restatement of economics. This restatement is bound to lag more or less behind the reality which it purports to describe because, by the time economists are able to discover what the new reality is, it has partly ceased to be and a still newer reality has taken its place. In the field of specialized and monographic studies, the science of economics has kept fairly close behind the rapid development of industry. However limited has been the success of economists in reducing the description of modern industrial activity to laws, there are few developments in modern industry which have not been investigated and described by the specialists in the various branches of economics. Nevertheless, the enormous monographic output during the last two decades has had relatively little influence upon general descriptions of economic processes which, somewhat unfortunately, have acquired the traditional name of "principles of economics."

Such claim as this book makes upon the reader must rest largely upon the fact that it represents an effort to reduce the lag between the specialized and monographic work and the more generalized descriptions of our industrial system. Every economist will appreciate the enormous difficulty, if not the impossibility, of incorporating the work of a wide variety of specialists into a general description of modern industry. But it is not enough to say that the task is impossible. Whether possible or not, it must be attempted, and done as well as can be. No one man, of course, can hope to acquire familiarity with all of the enormous number of special researches in the fields of finance, labor, international trade, public utilities, agricultural economics, public finance, and others. Although this book has been in process of writing for ten years, the author does not pretend that he has been able to do justice to the work of the specialists.

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