Ordinary Business of Life A History of Economics from the Ancient World to the Twenty-First Century

ISBN-10: 0691116296

ISBN-13: 9780691116297

Edition: 2004

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Description: In some of Western culture's earliest writings, Hesiod defined the basic economic problem as one of scarce resources, a view still held by most economists. Diocletian tried to save the falling Roman Empire with wage and price fixes--a strategy that has not gone entirely out of style. And just as they did in the late nineteenth century, thinkers trained in physics renovated economic inquiry in the late twentieth century. Taking us from Homer to the frontiers of game theory, this book presents an engrossing history of economics, what Alfred Marshall called "the study of mankind in the ordinary business of life." While some regard economics as a modern invention, Roger Backhouse shows that economic ideas were influential even in antiquity--and that the origins of contemporary economic thought can be traced back to the ancients. He reveals the genesis of what we have come to think of as economic theory and shows the remarkable but seldom explored impact of economics, natural science, and philosophy on one another. Along the way, he introduces the fascinating characters who have thought about money and markets, including theologians, philosophers, politicians, lawyers, and poets as well as economists themselves. We learn how some of history's most influential concepts arose from specific times and places: from the Stoic notion of natural law to the mercantilism that rose with the European nation-state; from postwar development economics to the recent experimental and statistical economics made possible by affluence and powerful computers. Vividly written and unprecedented in its integration of ancient and modern economic history, this book is the best history of economics--and among the finest intellectual histories--to be published since Heilbroner'sThe Worldly Philosophers. It proves that economics has been anything but "the dismal science."

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Book details

List price: $39.95
Copyright year: 2004
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 3/21/2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 384
Size: 4.75" wide x 7.75" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.210
Language: English

Acknowledgements
Prologue
The History of Economics
What is Economics?
Viewing the Past through the Lens of the Present
The Story Told Here
The Ancient World
Homer and Hesiod
Estate Management--Xenophon's Oikonomikos
Plato's Ideal State
Aristotle on Justice and Exchange
Aristotle and the Acquisition of Wealth
Rome
Conclusions
The Middle Ages
The Decline of Rome
Judaism
Early Christianity
Islam
From Charles Martel to the Black Death
The Twelfth-Century Renaissance and Economics in the Universities
Nicole Oresme and the Theory of Money
Conclusions
The Emergence of the Modern World View--the Sixteenth Century
The Renaissance and the Emergence of Modern Science
The Reformation
The Rise of the European Nation State
Mercantilism
Machiavelli
The School of Salamanca and American Treasure
England under the Tudors
Economics in the Sixteenth Century
Science, Politics and Trade in Seventeenth-Century England
Background
Science and the Scientists of the Royal Society
Political Ferment
Economic Problems--Dutch Commercial Power and the Crisis of the 1620s
The Balance-of-Trade Doctrine
The Rate of Interest and the Case for Free Trade
The Recoinage Crisis of the 1690s
Economics in Seventeenth-Century England
Absolutism and Enlightenment in Eighteenth-Century France
Problems of the Absolute State
Early-Eighteenth-Century Critics of Mercantilism
Cantillon on the Nature of Commerce in General
The Enlightenment
Physiocracy
Turgot
Economic Thought under the Ancien Reacute;gime 109
The Scottish Enlightenment of the Eighteenth Century
Background
Hutcheson
Hume
Sir James Steuart
Adam Smith
Division of Labour and the Market
Capital Accumulation
Smith and Laissez-Faire
Economic Thought at the End of the Eighteenth Century 130
Classical Political Economy, 1790-1870
From Moral Philosophy to Political Economy
Utilitarianism and the Philosophic Radicals
Ricardian Economics
Alternatives to Ricardian Economics
Government Policy and the Role of the State
Money
John Stuart Mill
Karl Marx
Conclusions
The Split between History and Theory in Europe, 1870-1914
The Professionalization of Economics
Jevons, Walras and Mathematical Economics
Economics in Germany and Austria
Historical Economics and the Marshallian School in Britain
European Economic Theory, 1900-1914
The Rise of American Economics, 1870-1939
US Economics in the Late Nineteenth Century
John Bates Clark
Mathematical Economics
Thorstein Veblen
John R. Commons
Inter-War Pluralism
Inter-War Studies of Competition
The Migration of European Academics
US Economics in the Mid Twentieth Century
Money and the Business Cycle, 1898-1939
Wicksell's Cumulative Process
The Changed Economic Environment
Austrian and Swedish Theories of the Business Cycle
Britain: From Marshall to Keynes
The American Tradition
Keynes's General Theory
The Keynesian Revolution
The Transition from Inter-War to Post-Second World War Macroeconomics
Econometrics and Mathematical Economics, 1930 to the Present
The Mathematization of Economics
The Revolution in National-Income Accounting
The Econometric Society and the Origins of Modern Econometrics
Frisch, Tinbergen and the Cowles Commission
The Second World War
General-Equilibrium Theory
Game Theory
The Mathematization of Economics (Again)
Welfare Economics and Socialism
to the Present
Socialism and Margin
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