Steven Medema explores what has been perhaps the central controversy in modern economics from Smith to today. He traces the theory of market failure from the 1840s through the 1950s and subsequent attacks on this view by the Chicago and Virginia schools. Medema follows the debate from John Stuart Mill through the Cambridge welfare tradition of Henry Sidgwick, Alfred Marshall, and A. C. Pigou, and looks at Ronald Coase's challenge to the Cambridge approach and the rise of critiques affirming Smith's doctrine anew. He shows how, following the marginal revolution, neoclassical economists, like the preclassical theorists before Smith, believed government can mitigate the adverse consequences of self-interested behavior, yet how the backlash against this view, led by the Chicago and Virginia schools, demonstrated that self-interest can also impact government, leaving society with a choice among imperfect alternatives.
The Hesitant Hand demonstrates how government's economic role continues to be bound up in questions about the effects of self-interest on the greater good.
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.
This notable collection summarizes the work of these key historians of economics and attempts to quantify their impact. Some of the writers covered, such as Friedrich Hayek and Joan Robinson, are already assured of their place among the greatest economists of the twentieth century, but the collection also stresses the influence of those still active in shaping our perceptions - including Mark Blaug, Samuel Hollander and Donald Winch.
Written by an impressive roster of contributors, many of whom are themselves well-known in the history of economic thought, this key book features writings from John Creedy, Roger Blackhouse and Neil De Marchi, as well as the editors of the collection as a whole, Warren J. Samuels and Steven Medema.