Knut Wicksell: Selected Essays in Economics - Vol. 2

By Knut Wicksell; Bo Sandelin | Go to book overview

31

JOHN BATES CLARK, THE DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH: A THEORY OF WAGES, INTEREST AND PROFITS, and JOHN A.HOBSON, THE ECONOMICS OF DISTRIBUTION

New York, Macmillan Co., 1899 and 1900 respectively

Theoretical economics, which was regarded a few decades ago more or less as a curiosity, a species of barren pedantry from the infancy of the science, can in our day, in contrast, congratulate itself on a steadily growing number of active adherents. This is true above all of the Anglo-American literature, but also of Italian, Austrian and Swiss writers, to some extent the French, too; indeed, even in Germany proper, that bastion of the historical school, the modern theoretical orientation has begun to win a degree of attention, even if this attention, so far, is mostly antagonistic. However, gratifying though this activity in the theoretical field is in other ways, it suffers from one substantial deficiency, which is perhaps connected with the manner in which the whole movement arose.

As is well known, the foundation of the new theories was laid more or less simultaneously by three highly talented men of science, who were completely independent of one another and came from different countries, namely, C. Menger, Walras and Jevons, and their work has been continued everywhere by equally gifted followers, of whom the best known are probably Böhm-Bawerk and Marshall; in addition, other scientists, among them the American Clark, mentioned above, appear to have reached similar results independently. Now as a result of these divided origins, what is at bottom precisely the same thing has come to be treated, from the outset, in three or more different manners, using divergent terminologies. Naturally, the best way to achieve the unity and conformity that is desirable would be for the entire body of theory to be summarized in a concise and easily comprehensible account.

Originally published in Ekonomisk Tidskrift, 1902.

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