Economic History of Europe in Modern Times

By Melvin M. Knight; Harry Elmer Barnes et al. | Go to book overview
political parties. At first, some of them refused to coöperate in working for practical aims, for fear of thinning and compromising the pure doctrine of the founders and jeopardizing the "coming revolution." In the end they gave in, almost without exception, with the result that the movement became more political than economic in western Europe, many people voting "socialist" tickets who neither looked forward to a proletarian revolution nor had any deep convictions about the abolition of private property. We shall be obliged to allude from time to time to this new type of political history, founded on pretty clearly defined economic interest- groups.This leads to a final remark about the "materialistic conception of history." Many socialist writers still cling to it in the modified form of a rigidly "economic interpretation." All motives are traced back to economic ones, which thus become practically "causes," in the mechanical sense, of events and changes. In this extreme form, the "economic interpretation "rests upon a "conception"; and a general "conception of history" is for all practical purposes a "philosophy of history" under a slightly different name. Even where the method of research is truly scientific, in the sense of being accurate, properly controlled, and fruitful, this does not in itself demonstrate the soundness of the philosophy (conception, or system of general assumptions) -- or disprove it. Avowed philosophies of history are a little out of fashion, but actual ones are with us still under various pseudonyms.
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING
* Ashley W. J.: The Economic Organization of England, lectures VII, VIII.
Beer, M. A.: History of British Socialism, 2 vols.
Bernstein E.: Evolutionary Socialism: a Criticism and an Affirmation.
* Bland A. E., Brown P. A., and Tawney R. H.: English Economic History, Select Documents, part III, sec. I.
* Clapham J. H.: An Economic History of Modern Britain, chaps. IX, X, XIV.
Clarke A.: The Effects of the Factory System.
Cooke-Taylor R. W.: The Modern Factory System.
Dawson W. H.: Bismarck and State Socialism.

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