The Theory of Political Economy (Palgrave Classics in Economics)

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So my first conclusion is that this is a dictionary only in a very special sense. There are excellent survey articles, in various sizes, on various subjects.

But the best of them are written by professionals for professionals. In a few years we will know for sure which are the most useful: you look at the copy in your university library and see which pages are dirty. The ultimate goal of this vast enterprise is, however, far more ambitious. It is to represent the lateth-century state of economics to the educated world, at least the English-speaking world.


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That is relatively easy to do in the technical parts of the discipline. At any moment there is a state of the art.

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A master can describe his or her special corner of it to anyone with adequate general training. Even where there is controversy, as there always is at the edges of the known, the technically adept will be able to communicate. No doubt that is why the technical articles are so successful. Sooner or later, however, you get around to questions of judgment.

Value judgments are perhaps the simplest to talk about. More complicated are broad, general, factual judgments. Does the world really look like this or like that? Most complicated of all are ana-lytical judgments. What are the essential features of a capitalist economy, and what aspects may legitimately be put in the background or neglected? At that stage intellectual issues become intrinsically contestable.

About this book

It is not so clear what would constitute a correct answer, or how you would know one if you saw one. Economics is likely to be contaminated by ideology. For this reason, there are always dissenting fringes within academic economics. Marxism is only the most persistent. There is an Austrian persuasion a sort of extreme individualism , there are post-Keynesians and neo-Ricardians, and there are many other people who just don't like what is going on in the mainstream. Nevertheless, there is usually a definite consensus - there is one now - and an accurate picture of the discipline would make that clear.

It would have to give dissent a fair shake. It would have to treat mainstream ideas critically. But it should keep the various ''paradigms'' in proportion. I do not think ''The New Palgrave'' has managed to do that. The most obvious, though not the most important, manifestation of imbalance is the large number of items devoted to Marxist themes, from ''abstract and concrete labor'' to ''vulgar economy. Marx was an important and influential thinker, and Marxism has been a doctrine with intellectual and practical influence.

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The fact is, however, that most serious English-speaking economists regard Marxist economics as an irrelevant dead end. It is rather as if a medical dictionary were to intersperse articles on mainstream orthopedics, written by orthopedists, with articles on osteopathy, written by osteopaths, and were to leave it at that. I can illustrate this unreality with a cute example. There are four consecutive biographies: of Arthur F. Burns, Arthur R. Burns, Emile Burns and Eveline M.

Arthur F. Burns was an important personality, not only as the chairman of President Eisenhower's Council of Economic Advisers and of the Federal Reserve Board, but as the dominant figure at the National Bureau of Economic Research for some two decades. Arthur R. Burns wrote a good book, ''The Decline of Competition,'' that was much read and assigned in courses in my student days. Eveline M.

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Burns did useful work explaining the complexities of Social Security legislation to her colleagues and contemporaries. Emile Burns was a Communist Party hack. I doubt that any uninformed reader of these few pages would have a clear picture of this landscape. This is perhaps of no great significance. The Fertility of Land 3. The Fertility of Land, continued. The Tendency to Diminishing Return. The Growth of Population 5. The Health and Strength of the Population 6. Industrial Training. The Growth of Wealth 8. Industrial Organization 9. Industrial Organization, continued.

Division of Labour. The Influence of Machinery Production on a Large Scale Business Management. On Markets.

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Temporary Equilibrium of Demand and Supply 3. Equilibrium of Normal Demand and Supply 4. The Investment and Distribution of Resources 5.

Introduction

Equilibrium of Normal Demand and Supply, continued, with reference to long and short periods 6. Joint and Composite Demand. Joint and Composite Supply 7. Prime and total cost in relation to joint products. Cost of marketing. Insurance against risk. Cost of Reproduction. Marginal costs in relation to values.

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General Principles. General Principles, continued Marginal costs in relation to agricultural values Views Total views. Actions Shares. Embeds 0 No embeds. No notes for slide. Book details Author : W.

Introduction

Description this book Originally published in , The Theory of Political Economy was the first text to introduce the concept of utility theory into economics and the use of calculus as a way to simplify and present economic problems. Drawing on his roots in the natural sciences Jevons revolutionised the tools and methods associated with political economy and kick- started the metamorphosis of the discipline. If you want to download this book, click link in the last page 5.


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