From the ancients to the moderns, questions of economic theory and policy have been an important part of intellectual and public debate, engaging the attention of some of history’s greatest minds. This book brings together readings from more than two thousand years of writings on economic subjects. Through these selections, the reader can see first-hand how the great minds of past grappled with some of the central social and economic issues of their times and, in the process, enhanced our understanding of how economic systems function.
This collection of readings covers the major themes that have preoccupied economic thinkers throughout the ages, including price determination and the underpinnings of the market system, monetary theory and policy, international trade and finance, income distribution, and the appropriate role for government within the economic system. These ideas unfold, develop, and change course over time at the hands of scholars such as Aristotle, St. Thomas Aquinas, John Locke, François Quesnay, David Hume, Adam Smith, Thomas Robert Malthus, David Ricardo, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, William Stanley Jevons, Alfred Marshall, Irving Fisher, Thorstein Veblen, John Maynard Keynes, Milton Friedman, and Paul Samuelson. Each reading has been selected with a view to both enlightening the reader as to the major contributions of the author in question and to giving the reader a broad view of the development of economic thought and analysis over time.
This book will be useful for students, scholars, and lay people with an interest in the history of economic thought and the history of ideas generally.
Table of Contents
Preface I. Pre-Classical Thought 1. Introduction 2. Aristotle, Politics and Ethics (300s B.C.) 3. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica (1267-73) 4. Thomas Mun, England’s Treasure by Foreign Trade (1664) 5. Sir William Petty, A Treatise of Taxes and Contributions (1662) 6. John Locke, Two Treatises of Government (1690) and Some Considerations of the Consequences of the Lowering of Interest, and Raising the Value of Money (1691) 7. Richard Cantillon, Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en Generale (1755) 8. Francois Quesnay, Tableau Economique (1758) 9. Anne Robert Jacques Turgot, Reflections on the Formation and Distribution of Wealth (1770) 10. Bernard Mandeville, Fable of the Bees (1732) II. The Classical School 10. Introduction 11. David Hume, Political Discourses (on money, interest, and the balance of trade) (1752) 12. Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations (1776) 13. Jeremy Bentham, An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (1789), Manual of Political Economy (1795), Anarchical Fallacies (1795), Principles of the Civil Code (1802) 14. Thomas Malthus, Essay on Population (1798) 15. Henry Thornton, Paper Credit (1802) 16. David Ricardo, The High Price of Bullion (1810) 17. Jean Baptiste Say, A Treatise on Political Economy (1803) 18. David Ricardo, Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (1817) 19. Thomas Malthus, Principles of Political Economy (1820) 20. James Mill, Elements of Political Economy (1821) 21. Nassau Senior, An Outline of Political Economy (1836) 21. J.S. Mill, Principles of Political Economy (1848) III. The Marxian Challenge 22. Introduction 23. Karl Marx, Critique of Political Economy (1859), Capital (1867) IV. The Marginal Revolution 24. Introduction 25. William Stanley Jevons, Theory of Political Economy (1871) 26. Carl Menger, Principles of Economics (1871) 27. Leon Walras, Elements of Pure Economics (1874) 28. F.Y. Edgeworth, Mathematical Psychics (1881) 29. Alfred Marshall, Principles of Economics (1890) 30. Eugen Böhm-Bawerk, The Positive Theory of Capital (1891) V. The Development of Macroeconomics 31. Introduction 32. Knut Wicksell, "The Influence of the Rate of Interest on Prices" (1907) 33. Irving Fisher, The Rate of Interest (1907) and The Purchasing Power of Money (1911) 34. John Maynard Keynes, "The End of Laissez-Faire" (1926), "The General Theory of Employment" (1937), and The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936) VI. Institutional Economics 35. Introduction 36. Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899) 37. John R. Commons, "Institutional Economics" (1931) VII. Post-World-War II Economics 38. Milton Friedman, "The Methodology of Positive Economics" (1953) 39. Paul A. Samuelson, "The Pure Theory of Public Expenditure" (1954) and "Diagrammatic Exposition of a Pure Theory of Public Expenditure" (1955) 40. A.W.H. Phillips, "The Relation Between Unemployment and the Rate of Change of Money Wages in the United Kingdom 1861-1957" (1958) 41. Milton Friedman, "The Role of Monetary Policy" (1968)
Steven G. Medema is a Professor of Economics at the University of Colorado at Denver. He is also Editor of Historians of Economics and Economic Thought and Economics Broadly Considered also published by Routledge.
Warren J. Samuels was Professor Emeritus of Economics at Michigan State University, USA. He was the author of a host of classic books on the history of economic thought including The Classical Theory of Economic Policy and Pareto on Policy. He died in August 2011.