Constitutional Political Economy

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 361–367 | Cite as

Margaret Schabas: The Natural Origins of Economics

University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2005, 231 pp, $40.00
  • David M. Levy
Book Review

When F. A. Hayek, John Rawls and James Buchanan, all in their own ways, revitalized constitutional political economy, they explicitly returned to an eighteenth century vantage in opposition to late nineteenth and twentieth century utilitarian approaches. Hayek posed the problem of problem of spontaneous order in opposition to deliberate planning. Rawls posed the problem of political philosophy as one in of agreement among equals rather than the allocation by an altruistic expert. Buchanan posed the problem of political economy as one with two equals trading rather than an isolated individual optimizing. Supposing for the sake of the argument that Hayek–Rawls–Buchanan are all onto something, what went wrong? Why was it necessary to discard so much post-eighteenth century thinking?

Margaret Schabas’s The Natural Origins of Economicsconfronts the question of what went wrong in economics and gives the answer that economic processes were removed from the “natural” to becoming something...


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

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