The Uses of Economic Theory
An historian unable to make use of the intellectual apparatus constructed in the two centuries since Adam Smith may be a fine fellow, an excellent scholar, a skilled user of statistics, an important figure in historical studies, but if innocent of economic theory he will not be doing historical economics.
Now, if economic theory is at all what it ought to be, its reasonings should apply to economic life as such, and consequently to that of all ages. No doubt much remains to be done in the field of economic theory; but an attempt might at least be made to utilize economic theory for the work of economic history. [Heckscher, 1930]
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