A History of Economic Thought (1939)Edit
- Ideas appropriate to a past social order have a strange power of influencing thought and action within a later institutional frame work.
- The expenses of the royal household, wars, and lavish public building were financed by tolls and the profits of the king's foreign trade monopoly, by conscription of labour and heavy taxation. The results were impoverishment of the masses, alienation of land, and the development of a proletariat.
- Chapter I, The Beginnings, p. 25
, addressing Himself to the labourers of His time, proclaimed for the first time the worthiness both in material and a spiritual sense of all work.
- Aristotle laid the foundation of the distinction between use-value and exchange-value, which has remained a part of economic thought to the present day.
- Chapter I, The Beginnings, p. 34-35
- Christ, addressing Himself to the labourers of His time, proclaimed for the first time the worthiness both in material and a spiritual sense of all work.
- Chapter I, The Beginnings, p. 41 ( See also.. 1 Corinthians 3 - 9.. KJV )
- The chronological inconsistencies are perhaps most clearly exemplified by the writings of Nicole Oresme. In his Traictie de la Premierere Invention des Monnies, written about 1360, he develops a theory of money which reveals a very different approach to economic problems from that of his fellow Churchmen.
- Chapter I, The Beginnings, p. 53
- It is generally conceded that mercantile capitalism preceded and prepared the ground for modern industrial capitalism.
- Chapter II, Commercial Capitalism and its Theory, p. 65
- The merchant created the industrialist.
- Chapter III, The Founders Of Political Economy, p. 97
- Profit can only arise upon alienation, i.e. in the act of exchange, when the seller sells more dearly than he has bought.
- Chapter III, The Founders Of Political Economy, p. 101
- Whatever his merits as an economist, Hume's place as one of the foremost exponents of capitalism is clearly established. His views on the landed interest and his recognition of self-interest and his desire for accumulation as the driving forces of economic activity in his time helped to consolidate the forces that were struggling to add political power to the economic supremacy which they had already achieved.
- Chapter III, The Founders Of Political Economy, p. 123
- The physiocrats started a train of thought which was a powerful stimulus to the development of a labour theory of value and surplus value.They did not, however develop such a theory of value themselves. What attention they gave to the problem of exchange-value and price produced results of an altogether different character. Thus while one of their contributions finds its continuation in Smith, Ricardo, and Marx, the other leads to the post-classical supply and demand and utility theories of value.
- Chapter III, The Founders Of Political Economy, p. 135
- Adam Smith himself was under no allusion about the desire of individuals, particularly business men, to create privileged positions for themselves.
- Chapter IV, The Classical System, p. 154
- Ricardo, writing fifty years later than Smith, showed a greater insight into the working of the economic system; but as for the subtlety (whatever demerit there may be in that!) the Scot does not lose by comparison with the Jew.
- Chapter IV, The Classical System, p. 176
- One thing which is striking in Malthus's theory is his insistence on contradictions and conflicts in the capitalist system. The system is shown not to be self-adjusting. Unless a large class of unproductive consumers was maintained, periodic over-production and stagnation would inevitably occur. For the first time, in English economic theory at any rate, the possibility of crises arising from causes inherent in the capitalist system was admitted.
- Chapter V, Reaction And Revolution, p. 208
- " The difficulties in economic life arise mainly because men forget divine power,,"
- Chapter V, Reaction And Revolution, p. 220
- Capitalism had been more revolutionary then any previous social system. It had swept away without scruples old institutions and modes of thought, if they were found to stand in its way.
- Chapter V, Reaction And Revolution, p. 231
- Those who claim that Marx invented the ides of the class struggle should read not only his English socialist forerunners, but also a man like Burke.
- Chapter V, Reaction And Revolution, p. 243
- The second difficulty inherent in the contradictory character of the commodity is this: a commodity must have use value, but not for its owner, for if it had, it would cease to be a commodity.
- Marx's prognosis of the future of the capitalist system has often been understood to imply a fatalistic view. Marx's own life should be enough to show that this is not so. Marx did not regard man as the impotent plaything of supernatural; but he thought that man could not ignore the laws of physical nature.
- Since the earth can yield its cultivator more then he needs for his own subsistence, the surplus can be appropriated by another class.
- Chapter VII, The Transition, p. 312
- Mill sought to strengthen his defence of trade unions not by denying their possible monopoly effects, but by an appeal to the principle of laisser faire itself. To prevent the formation of corporate unions was, he thought, to interfere with a right obviously included in the general rule of freedom of contract.
- Chapter VII, The Transition, p. 357
- In its origins the utility school was strongly influenced by a desire to strengthen the potentially apologetic character of economics.
- Chapter VIII, Modern Economics, p. 370
- Utility alone is the cause of value.
- Chapter VIII, Modern Economics, p. 400
- Robbed of a foundation of political philosophy on which (how ever illegitimately) it had based itself, economics is in great danger of becoming a plaything of demagogy.
Quotes about Sir Eric RollEdit
- " Sir Eric Roll, a remarkably eclectic English student of Marx -- he has been a professor, a senior civil servant, an accomplished international negotiator who led the negotiations for both the Marshall Plan and the EEC, a banker, a member of the court of the Bank of England and a respected writer on the history of economic thought-- "