The Spirit of American Economics: A Study in the History of Economic Ideas in the United States Prior to the Great Depression

The Spirit of American Economics: A Study in the History of Economic Ideas in the United States Prior to the Great Depression

The Spirit of American Economics: A Study in the History of Economic Ideas in the United States Prior to the Great Depression

The Spirit of American Economics: A Study in the History of Economic Ideas in the United States Prior to the Great Depression

Excerpt

Explorations into the development and transplantation of ideas have attracted my interest since the beginning of my studies in economics. Whether investigating the origins and history of Russian banking, studying the international struggle for South America in the twentieth century, or following the fate of Brazil, I have always tried to penetrate the ideological background and to discover the dominating economic ideas and their genesis, basis and weight. Many years ago I started collecting material on the history of economic and social ideas in certain literatures, being particularly interested in the analysis of worldlong waves of these ideas and their inter-influence with economic life. I applied this analysis especially to the penetration and diffusion of the doctrines of Saint-Simon. I enjoyed the study of the neglected utopian Cyrano de Bergerac, and followed the evolution of some modern economists. One of the first courses I gave at the beginning of my teaching career was devoted to the history of social utopias. In one of my more recent studies I investigated the utopias of American literature. And I am at present engaged in the study of the economic ideas of the Catholic Church as well as of various other phases of history of economic thought.

Since my arrival in this country in 1930 I have played with a desire to examine the evolution of economic thought in the United States, but have met with outspoken discouragement on the part of my senior colleagues as well as of my younger ones. Most of them denied the very existence of any genuine American economic thought.

The inspiration, stimulation and assistance of my wife influenced me to finally launch this enterprise, but it is with a certain temerity that I have begun this hazardous undertaking. Yet the fascination of the work has compensated me generously for all my earlier fears. I did not find myself communing with ghosts, as I had been warned, for some of the tales of departed writers . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.