History and Historians of Political Economy / Edition 1

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Written over fifty years ago, History and Historians of Political Economy is now being published for the first time. John Maynard Keynes, after reading the manuscript, called Stark “one of the most learned men on these matters that I have ever come across.” Its publication is an important event in the study of the history of social ideas, particularly economic ideas. Werner Stark’s most significant contribution to scholarship is his extensive work in the sociology of knowledge. In this volume, he reveals his parallel analysis of the history of economic thought, highlighting the paramount influence of social and historical factors.

The themes of Stark’s work are extraordinarily contemporary. He discusses economic historiography and the rational reconstruction method, issues that continue to be debated today. History and Historians of Political Economy is divided into two parts. The first section explains the beginnings of the history of economic thought as well as the theoretical and historical approaches towards the subject. The second section examines the relationship between phenomena and the explanation of phenomena theory. Stark illuminates the insights and limitations of the various approaches of study to the history of economic thought by analyzing the works of Eugen Dühring, Wilhelm Roscher, Karl Marx, Joseph Schumpeter, and many other prominent scholars.

History and Historians of Political Economy is of significant value to the studies of economics and sociology. Stark’s book raises a number of critical questions: How should past theories be understood and explained? What is the relationship between ideas and events? Do economic theories reflect universal truths or relative ones? These issues are as unsettled today as when originally presented. History and Historians of Political Economy is an essential addition to the libraries of economists, political theorists, sociologists, and historians of ideas.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“[T]he volume concerns the origins and development of the discipline of economics, a topic of continuing interest.” —E. L. Whalen, Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560001089
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/1/1994
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 295

Meet the Author

Werner Stark (1909-1985) was a sociologist and economic historian. Among his other books are The Sociology of Knowledge; The History of Economics in Its Relation to Social Development; Montesquieu: Pioneer of the Sociology of Knowledge; and The Fundamental Forms of Social Thought, and The Social Bond.

Charles M. A. Clark is an associate professor of economics at St. John’s University in New York.

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Table of Contents

I The Literature on the History of Political Economy
1 The Beginnings 3
2 The Historical Approach 23
3 The Theoretical Approach 59
4 The Intellectual Stages of the History of Political Economy 113
II The Fundamental Problem: Reality and Ideas
5 The Critical Approach 135
6 The Descriptive Approach 165
7 The Explanatory Approach 199
8 The Material Contents of the History of Political Economy 223
References 279
Index 289
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