The Present Position of Economic Science

  • Lionel Robbins


Ladies and Gentlemen, To assume the responsibilities of teaching in the London School of Economics is not an easy thing for anyone. It is still less easy for one who has had the privilege of working here as a student. Others know our tradition by public repute. He has known it by daily acquaintance: and to have done that is to find the difficulty of living up to it doubled in intensity. It is in that position that I find myself at present; and I must confess that when I think of the great men who taught us when I was a student — of Edwin Cannan who taught us Economics, of Graham Wallas who taught us Political Science — I tremble at the responsibility of maintaining their standards. I think, too, of [Allyn Young] the late occupant of the Chair of Political Economy, of his wide experience, his profound theoretical insight, his scrupulous and extensive scholarship; and I do not find my apprehensions diminished.


Political Economy Wage Rate Present Position Social Economy Cost Curve 
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  1. 1.
    See the Preface to the first edn of David Ricardo, On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (London, 1817).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Memorials of Alfred Marshall ed. A.C. Pigou (London, 1925), p. 84.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Principles of Political Economy with some of their applications to social philosophy, ed. W.J. Ashley (London, 1909), p. 436.Google Scholar
  4. 1.
    See W.H. Beveridge, British Food Control (Oxford, 1928). [Sir William Beveridge was the Director of LSE.]Google Scholar
  5. 2.
    See e.g. A.C. Pigou, “Wage policy and unemployment,” Economic Journal, vol. 37 (September 1927), pp. 335–68.Google Scholar
  6. 1.
    See Gustav Cassel, The Theory of Social Economy (London, 1923), Vol. II, p. 441 et seq.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lionel Robbins

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