Selections from great writings on economics, annotated and introduced by a distinguished economist and teacher.
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.)