This book contains commentaries from the series "Klassiker der Nationalökonomie" (classics of economics), which have been translated into English for the first time. This selection focuses on neglected, but notable writers in a deserted sub-discipline, localising the beginning of economic science not with Adam Smith, but with the moral question of usury and the good life in Antiquity. Bertram Schefold’s choice of authors for the "Klassiker" series, which he has edited since 1991, and his comments on the various re-edited works are proof of his highly original and thought-provoking interpretation of the history of economic thought (HET).
This volume is an important contribution to HET not only because it delivers original and fresh insights about such well-known figures as Aristotle, Jevons or Wicksell, but also because it deals with authors and ideas who have been forgotten or neglected in the previous literature. In this regard Schefold’s book could prove to be seminal for the field of the history of economic thought, for in the age of globalisation our usual restriction to the thinkers of Western Europe and the USA might eventually be overcome.
This book will give the reader a far broader view of economics compared to that of the latest research. This volume is suitable for those who are interested in and study history of economic thought as well as economic theory and philosophy.
Schefold invites the reader to understand the history of economic thought not as a discipline which primarily wants to discover the earliest author to have expressed a thought which might still be important today. "The texts are really interesting only if we recognise a ‘political’ dimension and try to interpret them as expressions of the will to shape, to preserve or to change the world", he writes.
Schefold […] tries to build a bridge from the traditional history of economic theories to a universal history of economic thought.
- Gerald Braunberger, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ)
"…this is a truly great achievement in the history of economic thought; it is comparable to that of Schumpeter’s when he wrote the History of Economic Analysis in the middle of the previous century."
- Kiichiro Yagi, Setsunan University, Neyagawa city, Osaka, Japan
Introduction 1. Antiquity 1.1 Xenophon’s "Oikonomikos": The Beginning of an Economic Science? 1.2 Aristotle: The Classical Thinker of Ancient Economic Theory 1.3 Cicero’s "De Officiis": The Moral Duties of Mankind 2. Middle Ages and Scholasticism 2.1 Nicholas Oresme: Monetary Theory in the Late Medieval Era 2.2 Economy and Money in the Age of Reformation 2.3 Leonard Lessius: From the Practical Virtue of Justice to Economic Theory 3. Mercantilism 3.1 Spanish Economic Thought at the Dawn of the Modern Era 3.2 Antonio Serra: The Founder of Economic Theory? 3.3 Jacques Savary’s "Parfait négociant": The Organization of Markets by Merchants and the State 3.4 Philipp Wilhelm von Hörnigk: "Austria Above All, if She Only so Wishes" 3.5 William Petty’s "Political Arithmetick" 3.6 Justi’s "Grundsaetze der Policey-Wissenschaft" [Principles of the Science of Police]: Happiness and Economics 3.7 The Connection Between Theory, History and Policy in James Steuart’s "Principles" 4. Historical School, Old and Young 4.1 Bruno Hildebrand: The Historical Perspective of a Liberal Economist" 4.2 Wilhelm Roscher’s "Perspectives on the Economy from a Historical Standpoint 4.3 Hans von Mangoldt’s: "Grundriss der Volkswirtschaftslehre" 4.4 Karl Knies’ "Das Geld" [Money] 4.5 Wilhelm Roscher’s "Geschichte der National-Oekonomik in Deutschland" [The History of Economics in Germany] 4.6 Adolph Wagner’s "Grundlegung" [Foundation] 4.7 Wilhelm Launhardt’s "Mathematische Begruendung der Volkswirtschaftslehre" [The Mathematical Foundation of Economic Theory] 4.8 Max Weber’s "Protestant Ethic" as an Inquiry into Economics 5. Asian Classics 5.1 Asian Classics in a Western Collection of the History of Economic Thought 5.2 Ibn Khaldun’s Socio-Economic Synthesis: Rise and Fall in Economic Development