The worldly philosophers: the lives, times and ideas of


10 thoughts on “The worldly philosophers: the lives, times and ideas of the great economic thinkers

  1. Ted Ted says:

    If you have even a modest interest in economics particularly in the historic and philosophical aspects of the subject but don’t know where to begin this book is what you are looking for On the other hand if you have an interest in the Econ 101 side of the subject enroll in an Econ 101 course and learn about the “dismal science” from that vantage point the relations between distribution and consumption; buyers sellers and markets; economic growth inflation and unemployment; and the microeconomicmacroeconomic and monetaryfiscal policy distinctionsThe book relates in an engaging and entertaining way the thinking of the important economists and economic schools Adam Smith Malthus Ricardo the Utopian Socialists Marx the Victorians Veblen Keynes and Schumpeter Each chapter includes a biographical essay on the economists covered how their thinking grew out of or was a reaction to prior economic theory and a nice overview of the contributions they madeHeilbroner actually wrote the book as a free lance writer in the early 1950s while he was in graduate school studying economics of course Since its 1953 publication it has never been out of print; has gone through seven editions; and been read by countless undergraduate and graduate students taking courses in the history and philosophy of economics – maybe even a few taking Econ 101 courses


  2. Ian "Marvin" Graye Ian "Marvin" Graye says:

    As Seen in the Sub BlurbsThis is step two in a project to acuire a modest foundation in political and economic philosophy before some focused reading in both areasThe first step was Thelma Lavine’s “From Socrates to Sartre The Philosophic uest” books summarise the lives and philosophy of key philosophers in language that is easy to understandWhile I intend to read some other generalist philosophy books as well I recommend both books for readers who just want an overview or a foundation for further reading similar to what I’m undertakingA World Full of LobstersThomas Carlyle once described economics as a “dismal science”It was dismal because it found “the secret of the universe in supply and demand” and reduced the duty of government to “letting man alone” ie “laissez faire” capitalismHeilbroner’s publishers reuested him to name his project and book “The Great Economists”Fearful that this might sound to the general reader like “The Most Dismal Scientists” he approached the project from a philosophical point of view so as to help understand alternative visions for the economy within society rather than the internal operation of the economy at a mechanical or purely political levelYou could argue that words like “worldly” and “philosopher” might be of little appeal to the average student of the dismal scienceHowever the name of the book reveals a literary and pedagogical approach that is designed to maximize interest in the subject matterIndeed Heilbroner managed to escape the dismal preconceptions about his subject matter so much so that a student once asked a bookseller if they had an economics book called “A World Full of Lobsters”Dialectical NarrationHeilbroner succeeds in his task by writing lucidly He doesn’t just describe he creates a narrative with drive and excitement His view of economic history is directional even if it does not necessarily embrace the inevitable progress envisaged by the Enlightenment philosophers and scientistsSecondly he unfolds the narrative through the use of a dialectical opposition between the successive economists in the chainWhile Marx might have advocated dialectical materialism Heilbroner is a dialectical story tellerThere is conflict then resolution then a new conflict occurs followed by a new resolutionA Metaphor for the Study of CapitalismIn the rest of this review I want to summarise the main concepts and explain what I got out of the bookI have never formally studied economics for any extended period of time Although I originally wanted to be a chemical engineer I am terrified by any book that contains mathematical formulaeWhile I used to understand them intuitively now they seem like some form of dark artsIt is my solemn duty to shelter you from these dark arts and the misery that could befall you if you come across themTherefore I have decided to use a metaphor in my explanation of Capitalism and the metaphor will be that of “Caterpillarism” a term which is not yet in WikipaediaPlease bear with me and pay attention The PlayersHeilbroner focuses largely on the following economists Adam Smith Malthus Ricardo Robert Owen Saint Simon Fourier Mill Marx Edgeworth no I hadn’t either Von Thunen didn’t he make the rockets in “Gravity’s Rainbow”? Walras wasn’t the Walras Paul? Bastiat I thought he was an 80’s graffiti artist Henry George Hobson Marshall holler for an economist Thorstein Veblen Keynes the guy they named Keynesianism after Schumpeter I’m not sure if it rhymes with trumpeter I don’t know anybody who’s ever pronounced it and Adolphe LoweNow if I was wedded to the list techniue I would probably just end my review and you would conclude that I must know what I’m talking about look at my star rating and decide that you will will never ever read this book because I didBut I am not the sort of Good Reader who is content with lists In fact by and large I despise themI think there are 19 dismalists in that list which is far too manySo I’m going to put them on two teams one team consisting only of Karl Marx and the other captained by Adam Smith but including everybody elseI’m not saying that Smith was better than the rest just that he was the first plus he broke the back of economics and the others have really just refined it or improved it by degreeWhy Caterpillarism?So now these two teams have to explain CaterpillarismWhy Caterpillarism? Well I’ll tell youCaterpillarism really only started ages ago in the 1760’s in 1848 before the war but which war? last century in Year 8 at High School and it is still changingJust when somebody thinks they can explain it it undergoes some crisis or breakdown that changes the rules so much that it doesn't even seem to be the same game anySo the metaphor I want to use is of two teams of dismal scientists examining a life form which they know only to be a CaterpillarYou could imagine that this life form might live and die as a Caterpillar but gradually we learn that Caterpillars can transmorph into a Butterfly or a Moth Team SmithIn reality I made Smith a captain because he’s the one who first believed that the Caterpillar was a juvenile ButterflyIn his eyes it’s a beautiful thing it’s capable of progress change growth and improvement it works and it doesn't need anybody from outside to make it work or tweak itIn fact it works best when nobody tweaks it at all It’s self regulating The invisible hand of the market is working away behind the scenes yes invisibly just like God is supposed toDespite the fact that it is made up of numerous opposing forces the Caterpillar finds an euilibrium on its ownThe Caterpillar needs opposing forces just like humans need opposing thumbs We couldn’t work if we didn't have themEven in times of crisis the Caterpillar reaches an outcome that was meant to be OK some people might suffer but they were intended to suffer for the good of the overall system Shit happens in this system but that’s like saying that football players occasionally do a hamstringYou play the game you assume the risk of injury Team MarxNo prizes for guessing that Marx believed the Caterpillar would turn into a MothApart from the competition between merchants the opposing forces represented class interests the Caterpillarist and the Working ClassThe interests of the two classes are diametrically opposed One class does not win unless another loses It’s a sport and nobody has come along to see a scoreless drawMarx didn’t violently disagree with Smith’s understanding of the mechanics of the CaterpillarHe primarily disagreed with what would happen in the futureHe believed that Caterpillarism was headed inevitably toward diseuilibrium and one day the Working Class would revolt and overturn Caterpillarism in favour of CommunismNot only did he believe a Revolution would happen he believed that it was dictated by the concept of Dialectical Materialism It was inevitable and the duty of Communists around the world was to facilitate the Revolution The Composition of the BallNow that we have two Teams we need to define what sport they are playing What is in contention?All good sports reuire a ball or something a bit like a ball Sorry I refuse to accept that anything that involves peddling or paddling is a sportAs it turns out the dispute is about the ball Not what you do with the ball but the composition of the ballThe ball is the product of Caterpillarism the goods that are made bought and soldEvery time a ball is made and sold a goal is scoredWho gets the credit for scoring the goal? And in what proportion? What is the relative value of a “goal assist”?The measure of the value of the ball is its price How much is it sold for? How was the price determined and who ultimately gets a share of the price?Team Smith believes that the price includes the cost of land materials and labor the effort of the Workers who actually make the ball and distribute it around the park plus a margin for the Caterpillarist’s profitTeam Smith believes that the Caterpillarist is entitled to negotiate and pin down its costs of input and therefore it is solely entitled to whatever profit it can generate by playing the game or scoring a goalThe fact that these other contributions were reuired does not entitle the contributors to a profit shareThe profit is the reward for or return on the use of the Caterpillarist’s capitalTeam Marx believes that the profit is not strictly speaking the product of the Caterpillarist’s capital it’s the product of the Workers’ labor the “labor theory of value”To the extent that the Caterpillarist has any capital it reflects the profit previously made from other Workers’ laborThus in Team Marx’ eyes the Caterpillarist is nothing without laborCaterpillarists should not be entitled to expropriate the profit from the Workers’ laborThe purpose then of a Revolution is to end the diseuilibrium and terminate the misappropriation of the fruit of the Workers’ laborIf you want to read about why this was so important to Marx philosophically see my review of Marx' Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts Time ScoreIn the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth century the Caterpillarists might have thought they were winning but the world got pretty close to Revolution everywhere not just in RussiaIronically what avoided World Revolution was a rule change that allowed the Referee to influence the playRather than allow the Caterpillarists to thrash the Workers by a margin that would depress everyone the Referee in the form of Social Democratic Governments legislated to achieve a level playing fieldMinimum wages were set Working conditions were protected by law Workers suffered less misery They got a little comfortable and lost their revolutionary fervorThey still didn’t get a share of the profits They just got paid a better wage usually whether or not the Caterpillarist generated a profit So the risk taking Caterpillarist could go down the gurgler while the Workers still got paid although they might lose their jobsThe Second HalfWe’re still playing the second half of the game and there is no end in sightTeam Smith and the Caterpillarists still believe that some form of euilibrium has been and will be achieved albeit with the intervention of the Referee against the wishes of the laissez faire CaterpillaristsEven if a Revolution has been avoided the outcome is not the self regulating euilibrium the Caterpillarists were seekingTeam Marx appears to have been irreparably damaged by the failure of attempts to do without Caterpillarists in Communist economies and the complacency of the Workers who are doing alrightThese rule changes have forced a reconsideration of the strategies of each TeamSome on Team Smith eg Schumpeter believed that Caterpillarism could not survive in such an adversary manner and that profits would eventually erode to such a level that Caterpillarists would effectively receive only a salary for managing their capitalThus the differential between capital and labor would diminish and potentially manifest itself in a distinction only between Workers and Management Ultimately even this difference would be reflected primarily in the relative level of remunerationLate in the second half the players were confronted by new rule changesAfter a period of relative post Communist stability Caterpillarism was rocked by Inflation Recession Depression and the Global Financial CrisisOnce again the Referee intervened to make sure the game continuedThe Referee supported the Caterpillarists with cash and credit so that they in turn could pay wages and salaries to the Workers and ManagementNobody uite knows at what cost this support will comeThe important thing is that the Referee mitigated the misery of the Workers and Managementimage error


  3. Trevor Trevor says:

    This one fits into a swag of books that have been written over the years sort of grand introductions to the key players in philosophy or in this case economics Now there are dangers with this stuff One of them is getting the balance right in how much you plan to say about the life of the ‘philosopher’ and how much space that then leaves you to expound on their economic or philosophical theories For an example of someone who gets that balance completely wrong check out the ‘in 90 minutes’ books by Paul Strathern Utter shite Not the least of their problems being the biography is so extensive the books gloss over the philosophy which surely most people would be reading the damn books for in the first place This book is a bit like Durant’s The Story of Philosophy I think the author would have been rather pleased with that comparison – but all the same I was hoping for something like Russell’s A History of Western Philosophy All the same this book gives a pretty good introduction to the main players in the history of economic thought I particularly enjoyed the section on Ricardo and Malthus This helped me to understand in a different way Stiglitz’s constant reference to ‘rent seekers’ in his latest book and the dangers they pose to economic development Ricardo saw rent as the theft of what would otherwise be productive profit from both workers and capitalistsMarx is treated at length here and unlike in so many other books on ‘economics’ his views of the labour theory of value are rehearsed in a way that Marx might even recognise The only problem I had with this section was that the author – after explaining surplus value as that portion of the wages of labour that is produced by labour after it has produced enough to reproduce itself and is then expropriated by the capitalist we are told that since people no longer work 10 or 12 hour days the labour theory of value no longer applies It is the oddest statement in the book and one that made me wonder if the author had been paying attention to his own explanation of the theory only a page or so beforehand Later he says that the labour theory of value had been completely disproven – I guess it would have been nice to have had this disproof presented in the pages of the book rather than assertedI’m really going to have to read about Keynes – an utterly fascinating man and nearly absurdly intelligent In fact one of the things that is clear is that many of these ‘worldly philosophers’ that is economists were mind blowingly intelligent people Keynes was that and then some I was particularly impressed that he realised that the Treaty of Versailles would cause the problems it ought to have been concerned to avoid – vengeance against Germany meant little than forcing Germany to be an economic menace and eventually to build resentment to a point where war was inevitable I’d never heard of Joseph Schumpeter before reading this – I’m probably unlikely to read very much about him The last version of this book seems to have been written in 1992 – you might think there would be said about neo liberalism or rather radical free market economics There is the briefest mention of Milton the Monster – no than a dig at the fact that his radical free market views weren’t exactly what he won his Nobel Prize for – but given this has become the new orthodoxy you might expect space dedicated to this theme hereThat said I would assume that the Hayek brigade are unlikely to view this book too favourably – but then they don’t really do history or read anything likely to disconfirm their beliefs so there is little danger of them reading this I would suspectThis is a worthwhile overview and although perhaps a little too much on the side of biography there is still enough theory to make the journey a profitable one It is clearly written and written in a style that makes this most dry of subjects both interesting and engaging A classic and for good reasons


  4. Jan-Maat Jan-Maat says:

    More or less the story of British Empiricism versus mainland European Idealism but without the empiricism told in a handful of lives the 'worldly philosophers' of the title or economists as they are often known but Heilbroner did not want to use as off putting a term as economists having an eye on potential sales The book feels uite smug now rereading it the Cheshire cat has got the cream and leaves a self satisfied smile on almost every page My sense is that it is overall less than the sum of its parts and deliberately sets out to be self sufficient and discourage any reading of the 'philosophers' themselves This makes it ideal for the reader who fancies a non technical breezy account of some well known namesThe introduction and first chapter give an overview of the history of the universe down to the eighteenth century from an economic view point I think it obscures matters and makes it sound forbidding and complex than it is or was there after coming chapters on individuals or sets of persons as follows plus a conclusion Adam Smith there is an overview of his life focusing on the uirky kidnapped briefly by gypsies lived at home with his mum all his life only wrote book because of £500 annual pension he received etc then a discussion of how incredibly hard he is to read impressing the reader that we had best leave the actual reading of Smith to the Priestly caste which serves him still Then an overview of his ideas a la Heilbroner from which we see Smith as the Newton of economic thinking his vision seems distinctly mechanical except the constituent parts are ignorant of each other and of how they interact the vision of Adam smith is a testimony to the eighteenth century belief in the inevitable triumph of rationality and order over arbitrariness and chaos p70 To my mind Smith begins to taste like William Palley the invisible hand another sign like the watch on the footpath of the presence of God and a divine plan view spoiler so far a fairly tawdry looking plan perhaps proof positive of a demiurge rather than of a wise supreme being hide spoiler


  5. sologdin sologdin says:

    Nutshell cold warrior burps up whirlwind dilettante's tour of the chrematistical artsOverall presents an affective dialectic positioning various theorists of political economy in relationship to each other on the basis of how they feel about the future Smith is pragmatically optimistic; Malthus and Ricardo are independently despairing; Owen Fourier Saint Simon are presented as insanely optimistic; and so on This presentation sweeps up the whole “behind this diversity was a common thread a thread of continuity which we should now stop to recognize It was this If one could divine the nature of the economic forces in the world one could foretell the future“ 291 Though this approach to economics as a form of prophetics is generalized in this section he nonetheless shows his philistine US roots by referring blithely to such things as “Marxian consecration of infallibility” 181 and other slurs suggesting religiosity as though other economists thought that they were wrong or that the US was not fanatically devoted to its variant of capitalism during the Palmer Raids Marx is held responsible for the alleged “pattern of intolerance” of communism in general 139 such as “internal witch hunts for ‘deviationists’ and ‘counterrevolutionaries’” 138 through his ”infuriating and absolute inability to entertain dissenting opinions that autocratic air and that antipathy for democracy which communism has inherited” 139 40 Incidentally this hasty conclusion arises out of an under analysis of Marx's dispute with Proudhon which was carried out through the writing of contending pamphlets telling then that this author regards strident disputation in writing to be antipathy for democracy I suppose this reveals my own antipathy for democracy by disagreeing with author in writing Such tyrannyWe see the blinkered US orientation in how “the relationship of American corporations to their foreign hosts sic is not altogether the same as the typical imperialist relationship of the nineteenth century” 184 and “thus we sic never became a formidable imperialist power” 185 Though he mentions the 1954 Guatemala operation and several other US crimes the full measure of rightwing horror from the early cold war is much nastier than this author will acknowledge which by my reckoning for the years 1946 until 1967 the year in which this edition of the text was published the US committed crimes under international law in Thailand France Italy Philippines Colombia Peru Syria Albania Romania Poland Bolivia DPRK Egypt Cuba Guyana Iran Guatemala Argentina Vietnam Hungary Haiti Japan Ira Laos Sudan Lebanon Nepal Ecuador South Korea Turkey Congo Dominican Republic Brazil Honduras Chile Indonesia and GreeceNone of that surely stamps the imprimatur of a capitalist consecration of infallibility nor does it evidence an absolute inability to entertain dissenting opinions Surely not no “We” rather have the “immeasurably difficult and subtle task of persuading the world’s dispossessed that we are just as concerned with their lot just as eager to aid reform as the Russians although our means and slogans are less dramatic and our promises less tinged with paradise than theirs” 298 Easy to persuade all of those corpses no? Why not go recruit some Nazi war criminals to help with all that? cf Blowback America's Recruitment of Nazis and Its Effects on the Cold WarWe know this is a hit piece in which the cold warrior lines up all of classical political economy against Herr Marx when after frivolously suggesting that marxism acts religiously even though all economics attempts to predict the future he dicks up the summation of marxist theory “For profits do tend to fall in an enterprise economy The insight was not original with Marx nor do profits fall for the reasons he gave we can dispense with the idea of exploitation contained in the theory of surplus value” 148 This is of course a misstatement of the thesis that the rate of profit tends to fall; the marxian formulation of that thesis is definitional rooted in other terms of art and not easily conflated with the cursory statements by other political economists on how profits go down as a matter of diminishing returns or because other capitals rush in to compete down the priceOtherwise safe to say that this text is in some ways the gold standard for non fiction writing lively in style manifestly popularizing many thousands of economics pages into a slim readable volume witty committed Despite my critiue supra the presentation of Marx is not completely dishonest even though it holds marxism static with Marx himself whereas bourgeois economics is presented as a continuing development and therefore continuously relevant and improving whereas marxism is simply ossified stalinism it’s nasty and it means that he is not really serious somewhat subliterate perhaps as to leftwing ideasPresentation of the “utopian socialists” is much too glib; presentation of Smith much too glowing; presentation of Keynes very much an adoration Often gossipy and trivial focusing on personal details Veblen is an interesting cat but this is economics? Accordingly not a substitute for a proper history of economic theory


  6. Sanjay Gautam Sanjay Gautam says:

    Absolutely brilliant


  7. May 舞 May 舞 says:

    Practical men who believe themselves to be uite exempt from any intellectual influences are usually the slaves of some defunct economist Maynard Keynes With this in mind it is not only important but crucial for all of us to understand how that complex entity we call the economy works Dr Heilbroner sets himself a difficult task; to discuss the economists whose vision has largely shaped our society and whose contributions are still relevant to the contemporary world There are many familiar names on the list Adam Smith Friedrich Engels Karl Marx Maynard Keynes John Stuart Mill and Parson Malthus But others were new although they shouldn't be David Ricardo Robert Owen Saint Simon Frederic Bastiat Henry George John A Hobson Alfred Marshall Thorstein Veblen and Joseph Schumpeter In addition to explaining each economist's theory or criticism Heilbroner sketches his personality as well as his private and academic life and while that was dull and irrelevant at times at others it was greatly entertaining and shed some light on the conclusion said economist arrived at It is not a very technical book and a passing knowledge of how Capitalism works will suffice I recommend Yanis Varoufakis's Talking to My Daughter About the Economy A Brief History of Capitalism which will be an excellent introduction Another warning is that this book is not concise nor to the point A statement which can be summed up in one sentence encompasses ten or However for all its shortcomings I can confidently say that I gained a lot by reading The Worldly Philosophers My favourite chapters were the ones on Marx and Thorstein Veblen Moreover there were countless observations and criticisms that I found fascinating and extremely pertinent to modern life “The distribution of wealth depends on the laws and customs of society The rules by which it is determined are what the opinions and feelings of the ruling portion of the community make them and are very different in different ages and countries and might be still different if mankind so chose” JS MillThe final chapter on Economics as Science? the answer is no was extremely thought provoking as well Overall it's a good introduction to the work of each of the aforementioned economists


  8. Rajat Ubhaykar Rajat Ubhaykar says:

    In this excellent summary of the evolution of economic thought over the last two centuries Professor Robert Heilbroner delves into not just the philosophies but also the lives and the backgrounds of various economic thinkers and tries to find common ground between how they experienced their lives and what they wrote in their books He starts the book off with one essential uestion what makes the modern economy so radically different from medieval and ancient economies so as to necessitate the invention of an entirely new branch of knowledge namely ‘economics’ or a study of the ‘political economy’?To explain this Heilbroner postulates two means throughout history by which those in power ensured that everyone performed the duties according to their social station command and tradition In traditional caste bound societies like India social function is passed on through lineage while in the time of the ancient Egyptians it was through the divine pharaoh’s command that the massive Pyramids were built In any case it was a combination of these two manners of transfer of authority that provided everyone with their ‘roles’ in societyThe modern economy not unlike the Biblical moment of creation began with Adam In this case with Adam Smith an eccentric Scottish professor known as the father of modern economics Modern economics or ‘political economy’ he said was radically different from the historical methods of organizing society because of the introduction of a new motivation self interest or the profit motive For the first time society revolved around the actions of ‘free thinking agents’ who pursued their own ‘self interest’ a thought previously heretical to the Catholic medieval elite for whom covetousness was a sin The rational man was thus born Rational in this context meant that a man would rather have of a product than less of it Thus the age of accumulation began Increasingly a certain section of the society began to be accorded power namely the ‘capital’ists or those who were of the firm and simple belief that ‘capital’ accumulated by amassing profits ought to be reinvested to generate profits Smith’s vision of the economic world was benign a self regulating market model in which a combination of atomistic competition and self interest ensured that the means of production were organized efficiently Simply put prices and uantities produced were governed efficiently by demand and competition For example if high demand drives up prices higher than their cost of production competition will ensure that a flood of new players and new products will bring prices down to their original levels of profitability This vision is rudely disrupted by the ‘gloomy presentiments’ of Robert Malthus and David Ricardo who present two disturbing thoughts that population will overtake food production and that ‘the interests of the landowners are always opposed to that of every other class’ respectively Ricardo a great analytical thinker in addition is also credited with flagging off the abstraction of economics Ricardian vice now denotes the dangers of abstraction a point at which an abstract model ceases to replicate reality around it and yields counterproductive resultsThe rest of the book is an engaging humorous and informative account of how Smith’s comfortable narrative was subverted by succeeding generations of eccentric intelligent and often radical economists and by the evolving global economic landscape As capitalism sunk deeper into the increasingly interconnected and interdependent global economy fresh theories were necessary to explain the workings of this complex monster that often spiralled out of control Heilbroner analyzes the lives times and philosophies of Karl Marx Robert Owen John Hobson Thornstein Veblen John Maynard Keynes and Joseph Schumpeter thus tracing the evolution of economic thought over the last two centuries through these important thinkersIn particular the chapters on Karl Marx and Thornstein Veblen are especially well written He explores their eccentric lifestyles and unconventional thoughts and the relation between the two in enthralling prose Veblen’s The Theory of the Leisure Class and Marx’s Das Capital both of which are great critiues of the capitalistic model are analyzed in detail and the prescient nature of their observations given due importanceHobson’s envisaging of the transformation of capitalism into ‘imperialism’ wherein industrialized nations use colonies as ‘dumping grounds’ for their products India being the prime example in the case of British textile products is explored in a chapter titled ‘The Victorian World and the Underworld of Economics’Heilbroner should get the George Orwell Award for Clarity in English He explains the often complicated and dull economic concepts in wonderfully precise prose provides the right historical context and makes this an entertaining read He ends the book with a recent chapter titled ‘The End of Worldly Philosophy?’ in which he discusses the challenges facing modern economics namely the increasing mathematization and politicization of the discipline which is leading it away from its original ambition of explicating the organization of the means of production and distribution into a deceptive cocoon of specialized jargon


  9. Erik Erik says:

    My estimation of economic science lies somewhere between where I rate astrology and phlogiston but I'm giving this a chance to convince me otherwiseUpdate A little breezy but so far it is interesting to read that Adam Smith was a lot brighter than his latter day followers He recognized that the division of labor did not create economic growth by any sort of magic but by the systematic exploitation of available resources including labor He thought that eventually wages would either rise so high that profit was impossible or wages would fall with a rising population of workers competing their way to the bottom He even predicted that eventually capitalism would expand to exploit every available resource and then reach an euilibrium where wages are as low as possible and profits are impossible because there are no inefficiencies left the market is as perfect as it can be No growth after that He thought this would take about 200 years so I guess TIME'S UP His treatment of Mill is good never someone I would have otherwise considered a great political philosopher but I changed my mind Mill is the intellectual father of the modern welfare state compromise because he admits the power of politics to control distribution through tax policyThe treatment of Marx is however too breezy He does a good job with the surplus value argument against capitalism Marx's one trump card it seems to me and still one that has extraordinary power but only if you overlook Marx's labor theory of value and its weaknesses Labor power was to Marx a fact of nature to be integrated in his faulty edifice of Hegelian inspired metaphysics rubbish But labor power makes no sense in economics unless we say what the labor produces and whether or not it has any social value I once met a woman who made Goblin head flower vases for a living They're all different she said I never make two alike While that may be a fascinating fact about the amount of labor power and thought and creativity she put into these Goblin heads I did not feel inclined to value them for that reason Probably the nicest chapter is about Thorstein Veblen His second book about the rise of the Engineers is even interesting than his Theory of the Leisure Class The chapter on Keynes is focused on his personality but I got the point I did not see what merits Schrumpter a place in the pantheon however Some catchy words entrepreneurship the swarm scientific rational socialism etcI did however come to appreciate Heilbroner's point that economics should be seen as a foster child of philosophy rather than a dismal science of numbers and data crunching Ultimately it is about the structure of society and human relationships in a practical way to their environment and each other Probably for our own time period this is also far too simple an analysis of the toxic and volatile mixture of economic political and social forces currently twisting and churning out of control and by no means headed toward greater human enlightenment


  10. J.G. Keely J.G. Keely says:

    Read as an audiobookAs far as I know this is an excellent and amusing introduction to economics I certainly enjoyed the breadth and depth to which Heilbroner explored the topic arguing intelligently for how why and when economics came about and the tracing its strange wavering history through the politics war and geography of the modern worldThe inclusion of not only scientists and revolutionaries but satirists idealists religious fanatics armchair hobbyists and social theorists helped to show the many ways in which goods services value and power affect us all personally and sociallyI wish I knew on the subject of economics because I would like to say about this book but I have little to compare it to As of this point it's the best economics text I've read which basically means that it's better than a semester's worth of Marxist apologistsIt has been one of the leading textbooks for economics since it was published half a century ago which either means it is remarkable and beyond reproach or it is ill informed confused and out of date I suspect something closer to the formerI'll be seeking out some of interesting texts mentioned here and hopefully I'll have some chance to improve my economics education in the future


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The worldly philosophers: the lives, times and ideas of the great economic thinkers [Ebook] ➩ The worldly philosophers: the lives, times and ideas of the great economic thinkers Author Robert L. Heilbroner – Buyprobolan50.co.uk The Worldly Philosophers Best Sellers Rank The Worldly Philosophers not only enables us to see deeply into our history but helps us better understand our own times In this seventh edition Robert L Hei The Worldly Philosophers Best philosophers: the PDF ↠ Sellers Rank The Worldly Philosophers not only enables us to The worldly PDF \ see deeply into our history but helps us better understand our own times In this worldly philosophers: the Epub Þ seventh edition Robert L Heilbroner provides a new theme that connects thinkers as Full E worldly philosophers: the lives, times PDF or book The Worldly Philosophers Best Sellers The Worldly Philosophers not only enables us to see 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 Download PDF The Worldly Philosophers by pdf Download The Worldly Philosophers Ebook The Worldly Philosophers not only enables us to see 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 worldly philosophers: the lives, times PDF or understand how a capitalist society works It is a focus The worldly philosophers Book WorldCatorg The worldly philosophers Robert L Heilbroner Home WorldCat Home About WorldCat Help Search Search for Library Items Search for Lists Search for Contacts Search for a Library Create lists bibliographies and reviews or Search WorldCat Find items in libraries near you The Worldly Philosophers Chapters Summary The Worldly Philosophers Chapters Summary Analysis Chapter Summary “Introduction” Economics rather than being cold difficult and abstract is exciting dangerous and given to world changing impact Heilbroner writes not about economists who made history changing decisions but those who shaped and swayed people’s minds He argues that heretical economic opinions that The worldly philosophers the lives book by Worldly Philosophers is probably the best most authoritative title on the development and growth of economic theory Worldly Philosophers is an outgrowth of Heilbroner's doctoral thesis and with each edition he's further refined and polished it and in the process it has gone on to sell four million copies making it the second best selling book on the subject of economics Robert Heilbroner — Wikipdia Robert L Heilbroner n le mars New York et mort le janvier dans la mme ville est un conomiste amricain principalement connu pour The Worldly Philosophers traduit en Les grands conomistes une biographie des plus grands conomistes d'Adam Smith John Maynard Keynes Biographie Heilbroner grandit New York et est diplm de Harvard en Editions of The Worldly Philosophers by Robert L Editions for The Worldly Philosophers X Paperback published in paper published in X Paperback published in The Worldly Philosophers Joe Bradford The Worldly Philosophers by Robert Heilbroner Joe Bradford InsideMyLIbrary Book Review fr The Worldly Philosophers The Lives Times And The Worldly Philosophers not only enables us to see 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 The Worldly Philosophers by Robert L Heilbroner The Worldly Philosophers not only enables us to see 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 w fr The Worldly Philosophers The Lives Times Not Achetez The Worldly Philosophers The Lives Times and Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers de Heilbroner Robert L ISBN sur fr des The Worldly Philosophers The Lives Times And The Worldly Philosophers not only enables us to see 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 PDF The Worldly Philosophers The Lives Times The Worldly Philosophers not only enables us to see 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 About The Worldly Philosophers CliffsNotes The Worldly Philosophers is a useful book — not only to college students but to any person wishing an understanding of economics Basically the book offers three benefits A simple but comprehensive explanation of the ideas of the Great Economists It gives the reader an insight into the lives of these economists and the history of economics Robert L Heilbroner places their concepts in a The Worldly Philosophers 豆瓣 Douban The Worldly Philosophers is a bestselling classic that not only enables us to see 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 By Robert L Heilbroner by robert l heilbroner the worldly philosophers behind the veil of economics the essential adam smith the nature and logic of capitalism the future as history marxism for and against an inuiry into the human prospect the great ascent between capitalism and socialism the limits of american capitalism the economic problem with james galbraith economics explained with lester c thurow Full text of The Worldly Philosophers the Great Full text of The Worldly Philosophers the Great Economic Thinkers See other formats The Worldly Philosophers Best Sellers Rank The Worldly Philosophers not only enables us to see 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 Full E book The Worldly Philosophers Best The Worldly Philosophers not only enables us to see 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 Download PDF The Worldly Philosophers by pdf Download The Worldly Philosophers Ebook The Worldly Philosophers not only enables us to see 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 The worldly philosophers Book The worldly philosophers Robert L Heilbroner Home WorldCat Home About WorldCat Help Search Search for Library Items Search for Lists Search for Contacts Search for a Library Create lists bibliographies and reviews or Search WorldCat Find items in libraries near you The Worldly Philosophers Chapters Summary The Worldly Philosophers Chapters Summary Analysis Chapter Summary “Introduction” Economics rather than being cold difficult and abstract is exciting dangerous and given to world changing impact Heilbroner writes not about economists who made history changing decisions but those who shaped and swayed people’s minds He argues that heretical economic opinions that The worldly philosophers the lives book by Worldly Philosophers is probably the best most authoritative title on the development and growth of economic theory Worldly Philosophers is an outgrowth of Heilbroner's doctoral thesis and with each edition he's further refined and polished it and in the process it has gone on to sell four million copies making it the second best selling book on the subject of economics Robert Heilbroner — Wikipdia Robert L Heilbroner n le mars New York et mort le janvier dans la mme ville est un conomiste amricain principalement connu pour The Worldly Philosophers traduit en Les grands conomistes une biographie des plus grands conomistes d'Adam Smith John Maynard Keynes Biographie Heilbroner grandit New York et est diplm de Harvard en Editions of The Worldly Philosophers by Robert L Editions for The Worldly Philosophers X Paperback published in paper published in X Paperback published in The Worldly Philosophers Joe Bradford The Worldly Philosophers by Robert Heilbroner Joe Bradford InsideMyLIbrary Book Review.

  • Paperback
  • 365 pages
  • The worldly philosophers: the lives, times and ideas of the great economic thinkers
  • Robert L. Heilbroner
  • English
  • 21 December 2014
  • 9780671633189

About the Author: Robert L. Heilbroner

Robert L Heilbroner March philosophers: the PDF ↠ – January was an American economist The worldly PDF \ and historian of economic thought The author of some twenty books Heilbroner was best known worldly philosophers: the Epub Þ for The Worldly Philosophers a survey of the lives and contributions of famous economists notably worldly philosophers: the lives, times PDF or Adam Smith Karl Marx and John Maynard KeynesWritten in The Worldly Philosophers has sold nearly four million copies.