Towards the Progress of Economic Knowledge

  • Homa Katouzian
Part of the British Association for the Advancement of Science book series (BAAS)


It is not the first time that economic science finds itself in difficulty. It was in difficulty when interventionist theories and policies of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries seemed to have outlived their usefulness; when the physiocrats proved their case against intervention only by assuming that industry was unproductive; when Adam Smith corrected that mistake but left a legacy of unresolved problems; when Ricardo tried but failed to produce a clear and logically faultless theory of value and distribution; when J. S. Mill attempted to draw socialist rabbits out of purely Liberal silk hats; when Marx tried to prove the inevitability of the proletarian revolution through the science of political economy; when Marshall saw nearly all the basic faults of neo-classical economics but did not make them sufficiently explicit; when Keynes argued his case against hoarding so well as to undermine the significance of long-term accumulation.


Economic Knowledge Applied Economic Economic Science Historical Knowledge Historical Relativism 
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Notes And References

  1. 1.
    See further, Guy Routh, The Origin of Economic Ideas (London: Macmillan, 1975) chap. 1, andCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. H. Katouzian, Ideology and Method in Economics (London: Macmillan, and New York: New York University Press, 1980) chap. 2.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    See further, Elizabeth Johnson, ‘John Maynard Keynes: Scientist or Politician?’ in Joan Robinson (ed.), After Keynes (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1973) pp. 12–25,Google Scholar
  4. R. F. Harrod, The Life of John Maynard Keynes (London: Macmillan, 1952); Katouzian, Ideology and Method, chap. 6, and ‘The Hallmarks of Scholasticism and Science’, forthcoming in Richard Whitley et al. (eds), The Yearbook of the Sociology of Sciences (Dordrecht, Holland: Reidel, 1982).Google Scholar
  5. 4.
    Alfred Marshall, Principles of Economics (London. Macmillan, 1961) Appendix D, p. 645.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    See R. L. Smyth (ed.), Essays in Economic Method (London: Duckworth, 1962) p. 44.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    See Smyth, Essays; J. M. Keynes, The Scope and Method of Political Economy (London: Macmillan, 1891);Google Scholar
  8. J. A. Schumpeter, Economic Doctrine and Method (first German edition, 1912) (London: Oxford University Press, 1954);Google Scholar
  9. L. von Mises, Epistemological Problems of Economics (1933) (New York: Van Nostrand, 1960);Google Scholar
  10. L. C. R. Robbins, An Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science (London: Macmillan, 1933);Google Scholar
  11. F. A. Hayek, The Counter-Revolution of Science (Evanston, Ill.: Free Press, 1952);Google Scholar
  12. M. Blaug, Economic Theory in Retrospect (Cambridge University Press, 1979).Google Scholar
  13. See further, T. W. Hutchison The Significance and Basic Postulates of Economic Theory (1938) (New York: Kelly, 1965), whose argument, not for historical relativism, but against the universalism of Liberal economics is one of the earliest of its kind.Google Scholar
  14. 11.
    See Robert C. Tucker (ed.), The Marx — Engels Reader (New York: W. W. Norton, 1978) p. 13.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The British Association for the Advancement of Science 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Homa Katouzian

There are no affiliations available

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