Donald Winch completes the intellectual history of political economy begun in Riches and Poverty (1996). A major theme addressed in both volumes is the 'bitter argument between economists and human beings' provoked by Britain's industrial revolution. Winch takes the argument from Mill's contributions to the 'condition-of-England' debate in 1848 through to the work on economic wellbeing of Alfred Marshall. The writings of major figures of the period are examined in a sequence of interlinked essays that ends with consideration of the twentieth-century fate of the debate between utilitarians and romantics in the hands of Leavis, Williams and Thompson. Donald Winch is one of Britain's most distinguished historians of ideas, and Wealth and Life brings to fruition a long-standing interest in the history of those intellectual pursuits that have shaped the understanding of Britain as an industrial society, and continue to influence cultural responses to the moral questions posed by economic life.
'In this wide-ranging yet tightly argued and frequently brilliant work, Donald Winch presents an intellectual history of British political economy, from 1848–1914. … Winch's work, which combines fine-grained detail and lapidary prose with not inconsiderable empathy for this subjects, is a worthy addition to this exchange. It represents if not the definitive, certainly a definitive intellectual history of British political economy, from 1848–1914. Historians of economics and literature alike will profit greatly from this book.' Storia del pensiero economico
Prologue: economists and human beings; Part I. Mill's Principles: 1. Sentimental enemies, advanced intellects, and falling profits; 2. Wild natural beauty, the religion of humanity, and unearned increments; Part II. Three Responses to Mill: 3. 'Poor cretinous wretch': Ruskin's antagonism; 4. 'Last man of the ante-Mill period': Walter Bagehot; 5. 'As much a matter of heart as head': Jevons's aversion; Part III. Free Exchange and Economic Socialism: 6. Louis Mallet and the philosophy of free exchange; 7. Henry Sidgwick and economic socialism; Part IV. Foxwell and Marshall: 8. The old generation of political economists and the new; 9. Wealth, wellbeing and the academic economist; Part V. Heretics and Professionals: 10. 'A composition of successive heresies': J. A. Hobson; 11. Academic minds; Appendix: Mr Gradgrind and Jerusalem; Bibliographic abbreviations and notes.