The bestselling classic that examines the history of economic thought from Adam Smith to Karl Marx—“all the economic lore most general readers conceivably could want to know, served up with a flourish” (The New York Times).
“If socialism failed, it was for political, more than economic, reasons; and if capitalism is to succeed it will be because it finds the political will and means to tame its economic forces.”
― Robert L. Heilbroner, The Worldly Philosophers
On July 17, 2018, about eleven of us met on this book at PF Chang’s, Rampart. The feedback was very positive. Heilbroner is a an informative, enthusiastic author who made economic history interesting. Some thought, however, that it slanted against more conservative economic thought with insufficient emphasis, for instance, on the Austrian school of economics. Others wanted less history and more technical content.
On a five-point scale (one being the lowest, five the highest), the arithmetic mean ratings are:
It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.
In the long run we are all dead.
―John Maynard Keynes
Economic progress, in capitalist society, means turmoil.
1). Why was the concept of “laissez faire” wa significant concept in Adam Smith’s time?
2). Why did Malthus believe we were doomed? What was the flaw in his logic? What is the current state of overpopulation and world hunger?
3). Who were the Utopian Philosophers and why did they fail to achieve their goals?
4). Discuss why division and specialization of labor are beneficial to society.
5). Explain Keynes’ philosophy of “priming the pump.”
6). Explain why economics differs from the other social sciences and why it can never be reduced to simplistic formulas.
7). Finally, did you find the book accessible? Would you recommend it to someone who wants to learn about economics?
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