A history of economic thought by Lionel Robbins

By Lionel Robbins

Someone examining those lectures can, and without doubt will, appreciate their variety, the diversity of fabric they hide, the awesome highbrow brilliance, and the stimulation they provide.--From the foreword by means of William J. Baumol, manhattan collage

Lionel Robbins's now well-known lectures at the heritage of monetary notion contain one of many maximum bills given that global warfare II of the evolution of monetary principles. This quantity represents the 1st time these lectures were released.

Lord Robbins (1898-1984) was once a remarkably finished philosopher, author, and public determine. He made very important contributions to financial thought, technique, and coverage research, directed the industrial part of Winston Churchill's warfare cupboard, and served as chairman of the monetary occasions . As a historian of monetary principles, he ranks with Joseph Schumpeter and Jacob Viner as one of many optimum students of the century. those lectures, added on the London tuition of Economics among 1979 and 1981 and tape-recorded through Robbins's grandson, show his mastery of the highbrow background of economics, his infectious enthusiasm for the topic, and his eloquence and incisive wit. They hide a extensive chronological diversity, starting with Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas, focusing commonly on Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus and the classicals, and completing with a dialogue of moderns and marginalists from Marx to Alfred Marshall. Robbins takes a diversified and inclusive method of highbrow background. As he says in his first lecture: "I shall cross my very own candy way--sometimes discuss doctrine, occasionally speak about folks, occasionally discuss periods." The lectures are united via Robbins's conviction that it's very unlikely to appreciate thoroughly modern associations and social sciences with no knowing the guidelines at the back of their improvement.

Authoritative but available, combining the immediacy of the spoken note with Robbins's unparalleled expertise for transparent, well-organized exposition, this quantity can be welcomed by means of somebody attracted to the highbrow origins of the fashionable global.

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Or, for instance, another very good book on classical economics, Professor O’Brien of Durham’s book on McCulloch [1970], and so on and so forth. Or you can study particular periods. You can study, for instance, the thought of the Middle Ages, which I shall do in the next lecture but one. Or, you can study the period some people call the period of mercantilism, ambiguously so-called because mercantilism has more than one meaning—as for instance in the work of Ashley [1901] or Heckscher [1935]. Well, I shan’t stick to any of these methods; I shall go my own sweet way—sometimes talk about doctrine, sometimes talk about persons, sometimes talk about periods.

Money,” Aristotle goes on, “is a sort of recognized representative of this demand” which holds society together [Aristotle, 1948, p. 27]. Then he goes on, this remarkable man, to say that money is serviceable not only for contemporary exchange, it is also “serviceable with a view”—I’m quoting— to future exchange; it is a sort of security which we possess that, if we do not want a thing now, we shall be able to get it when we do want it; for if a person brings money, it must be in his power to get what he wants.

True, he said. Now we get to the economics. And it is in the belief that it is for his own good, that one man gives to another or receives from him in exchange. Very true. • I N T R O D U C T I O N — P L A T O • 13 Then, I said, let us construct a State in theory from the beginning; and yet the true creator, it seems, will be necessity —who is the mother of our invention. Of course, he replied. Now, the first and greatest of necessities is food, which is the condition of life and existence. Certainly.

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