Economic Doctrine and Method: An Historical Sketch
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
2012 Reprint of 1954 Edition. Exact facsimile of the original edition, not reproduced with Optical Recognition Software. "Economic Doctrine and Method" deals with the progress of economics as a science and particularly with the historical sequence in which economic theories have developed. Successive doctrines are viewed as progressive expansions, clarifications and refinements of one another in an evolution toward a "pure" science of economics. Schumpeter is best known for his work on Business Cycles and the concept of "creative destruction."
matter. In spite of his proposition that interest is the price for the temporary use of a unit of value we find that in his search for a more penetrating explanation he entrenches himself behind the expedient of all Physiocrats which assumes that competition, as it were, adds interest to capital, since the capitalist would otherwise buy land. This proposition follows from the principles of the Physiocrats, although we found it already in Hutcheson. Commercial interest is nothing but gain at the
life did not develop very far. The historians offer us even less insight into economic principles, and even the best amongst them are altogether surprisingly weak when it comes to generalizations. The brilliant ingenuity which Thucydides, e.g., displays whenever he judges individual events seems to desert him when he discusses general causes and consequences, while he hardly touches on specifically economic problems. The literature of the orators and dramatists contains in no case more than what
description either as preparatory or as main work-without this in itself constituting a contradiction in principle. Nobody could have treated the problems in which Ricardo was interested in any other way than theoretically, just as nobody could have dealt with the problem of towns without having collected facts previously. With the inevitability which is so well known to anybody who knows the history of our science one or the other of the two methods of approach predominated first in the various
Lifschitz, Untersuchungen iiber die Methodologie der WirtschaftswissenschaJt, 1909. Also the following English writers on methodology: Jevons, 'The Future of Political Economy', Fortnightly Reyiew, 1876, and 'Principles of Science', 1874; Cairnes, The Character and Logical Method of Political Economy, 1875; Keynes, Scope and Method of Political Economy, 1st ed 1891, and article 'Method' in Palgrave's Dictionary. Bagehot's attitude (Economic Studies, ed. 1880) is similar to that of K. BUcher: With
very little effect on the contrast which continued to exist between the two methods of work, and it was rather because people became tired of the controversy than because they composed their differences that the quarrel gradually became less bitter. A new generation-even of supporters of the historical school -no longer intended to continue with the mere collection of facts, while in the meantime economic theory had gained new life. There could no longer be any question of overcoming the latter.