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Study of the grand ideas in economics has a perpetual intellectual fascination in it’s own right. It can also have practical relevance, as the global economic downturn that began in 2007 reminds us. For several decades, the economics establishment had been dismissive of Keynesianism, arguing that the world had moved beyond the “depression economics” with which it dealt. Keynesian economics, however, has now staged a comeback as governments attempt to formulate policy responses to the Great Recession of the first decade of the twenty-first century.
Many of the issues that faced economists in the past are still with us. The theories and methods of such men as Adam Smith, T. R. Malthus, David Ricardo, J.S. Mill, Karl Marx, Alfred Marshall, and J. M. Keynes are often relevant to us today—and we can always learn from their mistakes.
In his stimulating analysis Professor Barber assesses the thought of a number of important economists both in terms of the issues of their day and in relation to modern economic thought. By concentrating on the greatest exponents he highlights the central properties of the four main schools of economic thought – classical, Marxian, neo-classical, and Keynesian – and shows that although each of these traditions is rooted in a different stage of economic development, they can all provide insights into the recurring problems of modern economics.
Adam Smith and the Framework of Classical Analysis
Elaborations and Cleavages within the Classical System: Thomas Robert Malthus
David Ricardo and the Formalization of Classical Analysis
The Revisionism of John Stuart Mill
Postscript to Classical Economics
Karl Marx and the Economics of Das Kapital
Postscript to Marxian Economics
Alfred Marshall and the Framework of Neo-Classical Economics
Pre-1914 Variations on Neo-Classical Themes
Postscript to Neo-Classical Economics
The Economics of Keynes’s General Theory
Postscript to Keynesian Economics
Index of Proper Names
Index of Concepts and Terms