Economic Theory

A Concise History of Economic Thought: From Mercantilism to by Gianni Vaggi

By Gianni Vaggi

This ebook offers a short heritage of monetary concept from the seventeenth century to the current day. each one bankruptcy examines the main contributions of a massive economist or crew of economists and contains feedback for additional analyzing. Economists lined comprise Keynes, Marshall, Petty and Jevons, and not more accepted theorists akin to Galiani and Turgot.

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Extra resources for A Concise History of Economic Thought: From Mercantilism to Monetarism

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At the same time, Petty was not a naive supporter of the inductive approach. This is useful, but deductive reasoning is equally necessary and the two approaches are largely complementary. Division of labour and surplus Like a human body, society is a complex organism in which different groups of people have different roles and functions, all necessary to the functioning of society. This is not a new idea, it goes back to Plato’s Republic. It can also be seen in Boisguilbert’s work (Chapter 5 below), but William Petty clearly introduced this notion into modern economics and indeed it was the starting point of his economic investigation.

Boisguilbert was born at Rouen in a family of noble lineage and received his education from the Jesuits. In Paris he was trained to become a lawyer, but he initially appeared to be more interested in literary matters. He wrote some successful historical novels. In 1677 Boisguilbert married a very rich woman, and subsequently became a magistrate in Normandy. This put him in touch with the poor and deteriorating conditions of the French economy and the need to reverse this situation through economic reforms.

Human science must highlight this mutual relationship between the various parts of society. The forces at work in society can be described by means of general laws, and these laws can be meaningfully used as guidelines for economic policy precisely because they are part of a general system. The answers to the specific problems can only come through the understanding of the working of the general system of society. Petty’s studies and experience as physician certainly influenced his approach to economics and it is not by chance that he was so aware of methodological problems.

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