Essays on the Intellectual History of Economics

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Princeton University Press, 1991 - Всего страниц: 408

Ranking among the most distinguished economists and scholars of his generation, Jacob Viner is best remembered for his work in international economics and in the history of economic thought. Mark Blaug, in his Great Economists Since Keynes (Cambridge, 1985) remarked that Viner was quite simply the greatest historian of economic thought that ever lived. Never before, however, have Viner's important contributions to the intellectual history of economics been collected into one convenient volume. This book performs this valuable service to scholarship by reprinting Viner's classic essays on such topics as Adam Smith and laissez-faire, the intellectual history of laissez-faire, and power versus plenty as an objective of foreign policy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Also included are Viner's penetrating and previously unpublished Wabash College lectures. Jacob Viner was one of the truly great economists of this century as both teacher and scholar. This collection ... covers a wide range with special emphasis on the history of thought. Today's economists will find [the essays] just as thought-provoking and as illuminating as did his contemporaries. They have aged very well indeed.--Milton Friedman, Hoover Institution Jacob Viner was a great and original economic theorist. What is rarer, Viner was a learned scholar. What is still rarer, Viner was a wise scientist. This new anthology of his writings on intellectual history is worth having in every economist's library--to sample at intervals over the years in the reasoned hope that Viner's wisdom will rub off on the reader and for the pleasure of his writing.--Paul A. Samuelson, MIT I am frankly jealous of those who will be reading Viner's essays for the first time, marvelling at his learning, amused by his dry wit, instructed by his wisdom. But although I cannot share their joy of discovery, I shall be able to savor the subtleties that emerge from rereading these splendid essays.--George J. Stigler, University of Chicago This volume will be a treat for the reader who appreciates scholarship, felicitous use of language, and the workings of a great mind. The Wabash lectures are gems, and the introduction by Douglas Irwin contributes significantly to our understanding of Viner's accomplishments.--William J. Baumol, Princeton University/New York University

Originally published in 1991.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

-- "Journal of the History of Economic Thought"

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Об авторе (1991)

Jacob Viner was a Canadian-born American economist who was educated at McGill University and Harvard University. His teaching career included posts at the University of Chicago and Princeton. Viner's publications covered a remarkable range of subjects, with major contributions in the fields of cost and production, international economics, and the history of economic ideas. According to one authority, Viner was "quite simply the greatest historian of economic thought that ever lived." In a relatively short journal article published in 1921, Viner anticipated the concept of monopolistic competition that Edward H. Chamberlin and Joan Robinson later made famous. He also developed a model of oligopoly pricing that still stands as the standard textbook explanation for infrequent price changes in oligopolistic industries. Viner also popularized the current textbook presentation of marginal cost and marginal revenue analysis used to find the profit-maximizing quantity of production. Viner would have been an economist of the first order on the basis of these accomplishments alone, but his contributions in the field of international trade were greater. His doctoral dissertation and first book, Dumping: A Problem in International Trade (1923), which dealt with the issue of disposing of large quantities of goods at artificially low prices, was an immediate success. His second book, Canada's Balance of International Payments, 1900-1913, appeared a year later. His most famous work, however, was his Studies in the Theory of International Trade (1937), a history of international economics. According to some critics, this work placed economics on a new footing by working out misunderstandings and clarifying the main lines of advance within the field. A subsequent book, The Customs Union Issue (1950), was the definitive statement on common markets and free-trade areas. Viner's interest in later life was the impact of medieval theological writings on the history of economic ideas. One contribution was his indispensable introduction to John Rae's Life of Adam Smith, the standard Smith biography. Another, The Role of Providence in the Social Order (1972), explored the extraordinary power of theology on economics during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Viner's Religious Thought and Economic Society (1978) is an unfinished intellectual history of the Scholastics, the Jansenists, the Jesuits, and the early Calvinists. The recipient of a number of honorary degrees, he perhaps is best remembered for his wit, clarity of exposition, and the meticulous care and accuracy that marked his high standard of scholarship.

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