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Selections from great writings on economics, annotated and introduced by a distinguished economist and teacher.
Author of The Worldly Philosophers, a 3-million-copy seller, Robert Heilbroner offers here a compendium of readings from the "worldly philosophers" themselves. The selections range from the earliest economic thought to such towering volumes as Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations, Thomas Malthus's Essay on the Principle of Population, David Ricardo's Principles of Political Economy, and John Maynard Keynes's The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money. Acting as "a docent, not merely an editor," he takes the reader through the core arguments with "brilliantly clear commentary" (New York Times Book Review).
In a landmark work on the evolution of economic thought published over 40 years ago, Heilbroner (Visions of the Future, 1995, etc.) felicitously dubbed fellow practitioners of the dismal science worldly philosophers. He now fulfills a longstanding ambition to provide a companion piece that allows influential figures from the distant and recent past to speak for themselves. While prototypical economists and their ideas occupy center stage, the author does not hesitate to offer either brief critiques or his own opinions on innovative canons and consequential schools of thought. The result is an agreeable guided tour that begins with the Judeo-Christian Bible (which took a decidedly dim view of wealth) and ends with Joseph Alois Schumpeter (the father of entrepreneurship theory). On his trek through time, Heilbroner presents Aristotle (no friend of commerce), early mercantile apologists (Richard Cantillon, Thomas Mun), and a brace of physiocrats (François Quesnay, Anne Robert, Jacques Turgot) whose conviction that land was the source of all riches provided a bridge from prehistory to the classical era adorned by Adam Smith. Although the illustrious Scot is accorded pride of place, the author makes room aplenty for his intellectual heirs, including Thomas Robert Malthus, John Stuart Mill, and David Ricardo (a wildly successful securities speculator). In Heilbroner's compendium, John Maynard Keynes, along with Karl Marx (capitalism's hanging judge) and Thorstein Veblen (of conspicuous consumption fame), is in a class by himself.
Judicious and generous selections from the key writings of masters of the economics game, complete with perceptive commentary from their latter-day Boswell.
|I||Earliest Economic Thought||1|
|St. Thomas Aquinas||11|
|II||The Commercial Revolution||15|
|Anne Robert Jacques Turgot||41|
|III||The Classical Economists||53|
|Thomas Robert Malthus and David Ricardo||106|
|John Stuart Mill||127|
|William Stanley Jevons||208|
|VI||Twentieth Century Economists||245|
|John Maynard Keynes||264|
|Joseph Alois Schumpeter||297|