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By Lionel Robbins

Someone analyzing those lectures can, and without doubt will, respect their type, the diversity of fabric they hide, the miraculous highbrow brilliance, and the stimulation they provide.--From the foreword by way of William J. Baumol, ny collage

Lionel Robbins's now recognized lectures at the background of financial suggestion include one of many maximum bills due to the fact international struggle II of the evolution of financial rules. This quantity represents the 1st time these lectures were released.

Lord Robbins (1898-1984) used to be a remarkably entire philosopher, author, and public determine. He made vital contributions to monetary conception, method, and coverage research, directed the industrial component to Winston Churchill's battle cupboard, and served as chairman of the monetary occasions . As a historian of financial principles, he ranks with Joseph Schumpeter and Jacob Viner as one of many prime students of the century. those lectures, introduced on the London institution of Economics among 1979 and 1981 and tape-recorded via Robbins's grandson, reveal his mastery of the highbrow heritage of economics, his infectious enthusiasm for the topic, and his eloquence and incisive wit. They conceal a large chronological variety, starting with Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas, focusing greatly on Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus and the classicals, and completing with a dialogue of moderns and marginalists from Marx to Alfred Marshall. Robbins takes a various and inclusive method of highbrow historical past. As he says in his first lecture: "I shall move my very own candy way--sometimes speak about doctrine, occasionally speak about people, occasionally discuss periods." The lectures are united through Robbins's conviction that it truly is most unlikely to appreciate safely modern associations and social sciences with out realizing the information at the back of their improvement.

Authoritative but available, combining the immediacy of the spoken observe with Robbins's unparalleled expertise for transparent, well-organized exposition, this quantity might be welcomed by means of somebody attracted to the highbrow origins of the trendy international.

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A history of economic thought

Somebody studying those lectures can, and absolutely will, appreciate their type, the variety of fabric they hide, the miraculous highbrow brilliance, and the stimulation they supply. --From the foreword via William J. Baumol, ny college Lionel Robbins's now recognized lectures at the historical past of financial idea include one of many maximum bills due to the fact global struggle II of the evolution of financial principles.

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The simplest possible State must include four or five men. Clearly. And how will they proceed? —the individual husbandman, for example, producing for four, and labouring four times as long and as much as he need in the provision of food with which he supplies others as well as himself; or will he have nothing to do with others and not be at the trouble of producing for them, but provide for himself alone a fourth of the food in a fourth of the time, and in the remaining three-fourths of his time be employed in making a house or a coat or a pair of shoes, not bothering to form a partnership with others, but supplying himself all his own wants?

When the inhabitants of one country became more dependent on those of another, and they imported what they needed, and exported the surplus, money necessarily came into use. For the various necessaries of life are not easily carried about, and hence men agreed to employ in their dealing with each other something which was intrinsically useful and easily applicable to the purposes of life, for example, iron, silver, and the like. Of this the value was at first measured by size and weight, but in the process of time they put a stamp upon it, to save the trouble of weighing and to mark the value.

These evils, however, are due to a very different cause—the wickedness of human nature. Indeed, we have seen that there is much more quarrelling among those who have all things in common, though there are not many of them when compared with the vast numbers who have private property. [Aristotle, 1948, p. 25] Well, that’s a statement of a case which had considerable influence through history, but I don’t intend to discuss it further. From our point of view the important influence of Aristotle has not been so much in that sphere of economic thought, to use Schumpeter’s [1954, pp.

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