Author of The Worldly Philosophers, a 3-million-copy seller, Robert Heilbroner offers here a compendium of readings from the "worldly philosophers" themselves. The selections range from the earliest economic thought to such towering volumes as Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations, Thomas Malthus's Essay on the Principle of Population, David Ricardo's Principles of Political Economy, and John Maynard Keynes's The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money. Acting as "a docent, not merely an editor," he takes the reader through the core arguments with "brilliantly clear commentary" (New York Times Book Review).
"Heilbroner is an economic historian and prolific writer whose popular pieces in the New Yorker have made the "dismal" science seem less so. Over the last 40 years, he has revised his Worldly Philosophers, a profile of "the lives, times and ideas of great economic thinkers," several times, but here he adds a new twist that will serve to complement that truly classic work. To offer an overview of the major principles and evolution of ideas in economics, he uses actual text from the writings of the 20 or so economists he considers to be most important. Although making certain their words speak for themselves and claiming to be only a "guide," Heilbroner appears throughout the selections to "point out the significance" of the works he has selected. Reaffirming his lamentation made in The Worldly Philosophers that the work of today's leading economists "is not much in the tradition of the past," he begins with Aristotle and ends with Schumpeter. Sure to become a core title on collection-development lists. --David Rouse"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"This sequel to Heilbroner's classic survey of the great economists, The Worldly Philosophers, published four decades ago, is an anthology of writings of some 20 economic thinkers ranging from Aristotle to Malthus, Marx, Veblen and Schumpeter, with interlinking commentaries. Making the dismal science palatable with carefully chosen selections, Heilbroner often highlights underappreciated aspects of these economists' thinking; for example, Lord Keynes's wholly negative appraisal of Marxism, or Adam Smith's scathing critique of landlords and capitalists. He lets the thinkers speak for themselves as they analyze the workings of a market-driven economy and how it molds the behaviors of ordinary people. This adventurous omnibus includes economic insights from the Bible and Bernard Mandeville's 1705 poem, "The Grumblilng Hive," upholding mild fraud, luxury and appeals to pride as necessary agents of a prosperous business civilization. Heilbroner concludes that economics is inextricably sociopolitical in nature, and he urges a new crop of dissenting economists to take full account of ecological threats, political instabilities and new technologies. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
|| New York :W.W. Norton,1996
xiv, 353 pages ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.