Schumpeter on the History of Economic Analysis

  • Lord Robbins


The contents of this large and (physically) very heavy volume are correctly indicated by its title. It is not a history of theories of policy; nor is it a history of economic systems; these matters are discussed only in so far as they throw light on the central subject — the evolution of those techniques of thought which enable us to describe and explain the economic aspects of reality. The plan falls into five parts. Part I (pp. 3–50) is devoted to a vindication of the autonomy of the subject and a discussion of its relations with other branches of knowledge. Part II (pp. 51–378) traces developments from the beginnings in Graeco-Roman times to the promulgation in the last half of the eighteenth century of the Physiocratic and Smithian systems. Part III (pp. 379–752) deals with the period 1780 to 1870, so covering the English Classical School in its full development. Part IV (pp. 753–1138) takes us down to 1914 ‘and later’, and ranges far and wide over the evolution of analysis since the Jevonian Revolution. Part V (pp. 1139–84) is a fragment and deals in a sketchy way with certain very recent developments.


Economic Analysis Moral Philosophy Trace Development Modern Economic Theory Utilitarian Norm 
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  1. 1.
    Nassau Senior, Conversations with M. Thiers, M. Guizot and other Distinguished Persons (1878) ii 176.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    R. L. Meek, ‘The Decline of Ricardian Economics in England’, Economica (Feb 1950). I should be sorry if this mild disagreement were thought to imply disparagement of Dr Meek’s many splendid contributions to the history of economic thought. [Note added in 1969. ]Google Scholar
  3. 1.
    Op. cit., reprinted in D. V. Glass et al., Introduction to Malthus (1953) p. 139.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Lord Robbins 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lord Robbins
    • 1
  1. 1.London School of EconomicsUK

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