Classics and Moderns in Economics: Essays on Nineteenth and by Peter Groenewegen

By Peter Groenewegen

This moment quantity of essays on 19th and 20th century fiscal concept, enhances the 1st and keeps the excessive criteria of scholarship and educational rigour.

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What are the proper relations of individual and collective action in a stage of civilization such as ours? How far ought voluntary association in its various forms, old and new, to be left to supply collective action for those purposes for which such action has special advantages? What business affairs should be undertaken by society itself acting through its Government, imperial or local? Have we for instance, carried as far as we should the plan of collective ownership and use of open spaces, of works of art, of the means of instruction and amusement, as well as of those material requisites of a civilized life, the supply of which requires united action, such as gas and water, and railways?

These started with his very influential mathematical formulation of the Ricardian system (Pasinetti 1960). By way of introduction to his major theoretical contributions, Pasinetti (1977; 1981) provided the historical background of the foundations on which he built his own analysis of production, structural change and economic growth. These introductions invariably contrast the classical tradition, in the main exemplified by the work of Ricardo, with the post-1870s marginalist tradition. In a more detailed historical framework, Pasinetti (1986) developed this theme further by examining the theory of value as a source of alternative paradigms in economic analysis.

As is now well recognised, Smith’s account of the nature and causes of the wealth of nations is set in the evolutionary framework of a four-stages theory of development in which a primitive society of hunters and gatherers is gradually transformed into a pastoral society of shepherds, which in turn becomes an agricultural society and eventually a commercial society in a natural process of change. Alterations in the mode of producing subsistence, the potential for surplus in these modes and the nature of the property relations implied, explain changes in social classes, in economic activity, in the nature of society and government, as well as improvements in culture and the arts.

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