The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times And Ideas Of The Great Economic Thinkers, Seventh Edition
Robert L. Heilbroner
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
The bestselling classic that examines the history of economic thought from Adam Smith to Karl Marx—“all the economic lore most general readers conceivably could want to know, served up with a flourish” (The New York Times).
The Worldly Philosophers not only enables us to see more deeply into our history but helps us better understand our own times. In this seventh edition, Robert L. Heilbroner provides a new theme that connects thinkers as diverse as Adam Smith and Karl Marx. The theme is the common focus of their highly varied ideas—namely, the search to understand how a capitalist society works. It is a focus never more needed than in this age of confusing economic headlines.
In a bold new concluding chapter entitled “The End of the Worldly Philosophy?” Heilbroner reminds us that the word “end” refers to both the purpose and limits of economics. This chapter conveys a concern that today’s increasingly “scientific” economics may overlook fundamental social and political issues that are central to economics. Thus, unlike its predecessors, this new edition provides not just an indispensable illumination of our past but a call to action for our future.
twice as good as one; but not so two railways from London to York. Here, then, was the gloomy diagnosis of The General Theory: First, an economy in depression could stay there. There was nothing inherent in the economic mechanism to pull it out. One could have “equilibrium” with unemployment, even massive unemployment. Second, prosperity depended on investment. If business spending for capital equipment fell, a spiral of contraction would begin. Only if business investment rose would a spiral of
quarter, through a series of continually increasing singing ability and continually diminishing number of people who possess it, we come finally to the Carusos. As it is with singing ability, so it is with the capacity for leadership, including economic leadership. About a quarter of the population, says Schumpeter, is so deficient in this quality that it is consigned to the most routine aspects of economic life—the clerks and functionaries of the business world. Then comes the next half, the
parallelograms—the word immediately caught the public eye—with each family in a private apartment but sharing common sitting rooms and reading rooms and kitchens. Children over the age of three were to be boarded separately so that they could be exposed to the kind of education that would best mold their characters for later life. Around the school were gardens to be tended by the slightly older children, and around them in turn would stretch out the fields where crops would be grown— needless to
through the tunnel! Bastiat had a gift for pointing out absurdities; his little book Economic Sophisms is as close to humor as economics has ever come. When, for example, the Paris-Madrid railroad was being debated in the French Assembly, one M. Simiot argued that it should have a gap at Bordeaux, because a break in the line there would redound greatly to the wealth of the Bordeaux porters, commissionaires, hotelkeepers, bargemen, and the like, and thus, by enriching Bordeaux, would enrich
early age and, worse yet, contracted tuberculosis. He studied at a university, and then tried business, but he had no head for commercial details. He turned to agriculture, but he fared equally badly there; like Tolstoi’s well-meaning count, the more he interfered in the running of his family estate, the worse it did. He dreamed of heroism, but his military adventures had a Don Quixote twist: when the Bourbons were run out of France in 1830, Bastiat rounded up six hundred young men and led them