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Adam's Fallacy: A Guide to Economic Theology
     

Adam's Fallacy: A Guide to Economic Theology

3.6 3
by Duncan K. Foley
 

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ISBN-10: 0674027299

ISBN-13: 9780674027299

Pub. Date: 04/28/2008

Publisher: Harvard

This book could be called “The Intelligent Person’s Guide to Economics.” Like Robert Heilbroner’s The Worldly Philosophers, it attempts to explain the core ideas of the great economists, beginning with Adam Smith and ending with Joseph Schumpeter. In between are chapters on Thomas Malthus, David Ricardo, Karl Marx, the marginalists,

Overview

This book could be called “The Intelligent Person’s Guide to Economics.” Like Robert Heilbroner’s The Worldly Philosophers, it attempts to explain the core ideas of the great economists, beginning with Adam Smith and ending with Joseph Schumpeter. In between are chapters on Thomas Malthus, David Ricardo, Karl Marx, the marginalists, John Maynard Keynes, Friedrich Hayek, and Thorstein Veblen. The title expresses Duncan Foley’s belief that economics at its most abstract and interesting level is a speculative philosophical discourse, not a deductive or inductive science. Adam’s fallacy is the attempt to separate the economic sphere of life, in which the pursuit of self-interest is led by the invisible hand of the market to a socially beneficial outcome, from the rest of social life, in which the pursuit of self-interest is morally problematic and has to be weighed against other ends.

Smith and his successors argued that the market and the division of labor that is fostered by it result in tremendous gains in productivity, which lead to a higher standard of living. Yet the market does not address the problem of distribution—that is, how is the gain in wealth to be divided among the classes and members of society? Nor does it address such problems as the long-run well-being of the planet.

Adam’s Fallacy is beautifully written and contains interesting observations and insights on almost every page. It will engage the reader’s thoughts and feelings on the deepest level.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674027299
Publisher:
Harvard
Publication date:
04/28/2008
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
1,286,669
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.93(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Preface

1. Adam''s Vision

The Division of Labor

The Theory of Value

Capital Accumulation

The Invisible Hand and the State

Smith's Theory of Money

Adam's Fallacy Revisited

2. Gloomy Science

Second Thoughts

Malthus and Population

The Context of Malthus's Essay

Malthus's Postulates

Malthusian Logic

Population and Food since Malthus's Time

Ricardo and the Limits to Growth

Ricardo's Labor Theory of Value

Accumulation and the Stationary State

Ricardo's Views on Machinery

The Political Economy of Poverty

3. The Severest Critic

Historical Materialism

The Commodity and the Theory of Value

Capitalist Exploitation

Accumulation and the Falling Rate of Profit

Primitive Accumulation

The Transition to Socialism

Marx and Proletarian Revolution

Marxist Theory and Social Change

4. On the Margins

Adam's Fallacy Needs New Shoes

Marginalism

Where Do Prices Come From?

Marginalism and Social Welfare

Marginalism and Time

Veblen and Conspicuous Consumption

5. Voices in the Air

John Maynard Keynes

World Capitalism in Keynes's Time

Say's Law and Laissez-Faire

Labor Markets and Unemployment

Expectations and Money

The Fate of Capitalism

Complexity vs. Collectivism

The Prophet of Technology

6. Grand Illusions

Looking in the Mirror

Two-Armed Economists

Escaping Adam's Fallacy

Face to Face with Adam's Curse

Reading Further

Appendix

Demographic Equilibrium

Theories of Money and Prices

Ricardo's Theory of Rent and Accumulation

Decomposition of the Value of Commodities

The Working Day

Index

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Adam's Fallacy: A Guide to Economic Theology 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DaveBNYC More than 1 year ago
Dr. Foley demonstrates that our peculiarly intense American fascination with and belief in the "free market" is essentially a matter of faith, a theological mistake based on a fundamentally fallacious understanding of how free market capitalism works. I was struck not just by the clarity and persuasiveness of the argument, but I got a great intro to a number of important "founding fathers" of economic theory. Highly recommended!