A History of Economic Thought - Isaac llych Rubin

A History of Economic Thought - Isaac llych Rubin

An important work, which situates Marx's economic thought in relation to the economic theories which predate him - from mercantilism to John Stuart Mill.


Part One: Mercantilism and its Decline
Part Two: The Physiocrats
Part Three: Adam Smith
Part Four: David Ricardo
Part Five: The Decline of the Classical School
Part Six: Conclusion: A Brief Review of the Course

rubin_economic_history.pdf18.19 MB
rubin_economic_history.epub540.61 KB

Posted By

Mar 19 2020 05:50


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Jul 12 2020 12:30

I noticed there's a lengthy afterword in this edition (published in 1979) by Colliot-Thelene that's supposedly a "daring essay which locates a crucial flaw in the logical structure of Marx's Capital." Haven't got there yet.

Jul 12 2020 16:53

Thanks for bringing that to my attention, zugzwang. I wonder what that flaw is.

Jul 13 2020 14:39

Mark Blaug also has a more up-to-date "history of economics" with his Economic Theory in Retrospect, covering mercantilism all the way up to neoclassical and keynesian stuff (including marx in there). I think it's more theoretical and dwells less on the history/background side of things as Rubin does here, and I don't think Blaug was writing from a marxist perspective.

I'll have to read the afterword when I get there. I'm always skeptical though about people's motivations and their "refutations of marx" (not to say that marx is infallible and above criticism); the Mises Institute think-tank have hundreds of articles claiming to "refute marx" (followed by preaching how wonderful the freedom of workers to starve is) but it's no secret whose interests they're looking after. I think what Rubin says here is relevant:

Rubin wrote:
Economic ideas are not born in a vacuum. Often they arise directly out of the stir and strife of social conflicts, upon the battleground between different social classes. In these circumstances, economists have acted as arms-bearers for these classes, forging the ideological weapons needed to defend the interests of particular social groups—often not concerning themselves any longer with developing their own work and giving it greater theoretical foundation.