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The Making of Modern Economics: The Lives and Ideas of the Great Thinkers

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This bold new history of economics tells the dramatic story of how the great economic thinkers built a rigorous social science without peer. Unlike other economics histories, Skousen's book provides a running plot with a singular heroic figure, Adam Smith, at the center of the discipline. Skousen unites the great thinkers by ranking them for or against Adam Smith and his "system of natural liberty." He shows how Karl Marx, Thorstein Veblen, John Maynard Keynes, and even laissez-faire disciples Robert Malthus and David Ricardo detracted from Adam Smith's classical model of democratic capitalism, while Alfred Marshall, Irving Fisher, Ludwig von Mises, and Milton Friedman, among others, remodeled and improved upon Smithian economics. Highlights include humorous anecdotes and exciting new revelations about the lives of the great economists.

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Editorial Reviews

Proclaiming that "it all started with Adam," Skousen runs through the history of Western economics by ranking thinkers from Say and Bastiat to Milton Friedman against Adam Smith and his "system of natural liberty." Rather than reeling out a dry history of the dismal science, Skousen (Rollins College, Winter Park, FL)<-->an enthusiastically partisan free-marketeer<-->tells this as a running narrative, with the heroic figure of Smith at its center. (He even provides notes on the background music appropriate for each chapter; Smith's own story gets Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man.") His history examines the contributions made by each thinker to the role of economist, the science of economics, and economic theory overall. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786122950
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/28/2002
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Unabridged

Meet the Author

Mark Skousen is an investment expert, economist, university professor, and author of more than 20 books. He earned his Ph. D. in monetary economics at George Washington University in 1977. He has taught economics and finance at Columbia Business School, Columbia University, Grantham University, Barnard College, Mercy College, Rollins College and as a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures, Illustrations, Photographs, and Tables
1 It All Started with Adam 13
2 The French Connection: Laissez Faire Avance! 45
3 The Irreverent Malthus Challenges the New Model of Prosperity 67
4 Tricky Ricardo Takes Economics Down a Dangerous Road 91
5 Milling Around: John Stuart Mill and the Socialists Search for Utopia 115
6 Marx Madness Plunges Economics into a New Dark Age 131
7 Out of the Blue Danube: Menger and the Ausrians Reverse the Tide 167
8 Marshalling the Troops: Scientific Economics Comes of Age 193
9 Go West, Young Man: Americans Solve the Distribution Problem in Economics 223
10 The Conspicuous Veblen Versus the Protesting Weber: Two Critics Debate the Meaning of Capitalism 243
11 The Fisher King Tries to Catch the Missing Link in Macroeconomics 267
12 The Missing Mises: Mises (and Wicksell) Make a Major Breakthrough 285
13 The Keynes Mutiny: Capitalism Faces Its Greatest Challenge 319
14 Paul Raises the Keynesian Cross: Samuelson and Modern Economics 351
15 Milton's Paradise: Friedman Leads a Monetary Counterrevolution 379
16 The Creative Destruction of Socialism: The Dark Vision of Joseph Schumpeter 413
17 Dr. Smith Goes to Washington: The Triumph of Market Economics 431
Index 459
About the Author 487
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