A History of Political Economy

By John Kells Ingram | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIL
CONCLUSION.

LET us briefly consider in conclusion, by the light of the preceding historical survey, what appear to be the steps in the direction of a renovation of economic science which are now at once practicable and urgent.

I. Economic investigation has hitherto fallen for the most part into the hands of lawyers and men of letters, not into those of a genuinely scientific class. Nor have its cultivators in general had that sound preparation in the sciences of inorganic and vital nature which is necessary whether as supplying bases of doctrine or as furnishing lessons of method. Their education has usually been of a metaphysical kind. Hence political economy has retained much of the form and spirit which belonged to it in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, instead of advancing with the times, and assuming a truly positive character. It is homogeneous with the school logic, with the abstract unhistorical jurisprudence, with the a priori ethics and politics, and other similar antiquated systems of thought; and it will be found that those who insist most strongly on the maintenance of its traditional character have derived their habitual mental pabulum from those regions of obsolete speculation. We can thus understand the attitude of true men of science towards this branch of study, which they regard with ill-disguised contempt, and to whose pro. fessors they either refuse or very reluctantly concede a place in their brotherhood.

-240-

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A History of Political Economy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface. v
  • Bibliographical Note. xiv
  • Contents xvii
  • Chapter I - Introductory. 1
  • Chapter II - Ancient Times. 7
  • Chapter III - The Middle Ages. 24
  • Chapter IV - Modern Times: First and Second Phases. 32
  • Chapter V - Third Modern Phase: System of Natural Liberty. 55
  • Chapter VI - The Historical School. 196
  • Chapter Vil - Conclusion. 240
  • Index 247
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