The birth of economic analysis in the West was the result of a union of two elements in Hellenic thought. One of these was ability to reason about social relationships in a generalised or abstract form. The second was reflection on living in a sophisticated economic environment created during an upsurge of export-led growth. Presiding over the union was a profound humanism, limited in scope to exclude aliens and slaves, but associated with genuine concern for the welfare of those who could be regarded as fellows.


Economic Analysis Sixth Century Eighth Century Silver Mining Economic Imperialism 
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  1. 1.
    This and subsequent quotations from Hesiod are drawn from the translation by H. G. Evelyn-White, The Homeric Hymns and the Homerica ( London, Heinemann, 1954 ).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    We have been turned out of Paradise. We have neither eternal life nor unlimited means of gratification.’ Lionel Robbins, An Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science ( London, Macmillan, 1952 ) p. 15.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    The translation is by Eric A. Havelock, The Lsberal Temper in Greek Politics (London, Cape, 1957) p. 105. The passage is attributed to Xenophanes by Stobaeus.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    For an account of Herodotus’ observations on economic customs, see J. J. Spengler, ‘Herodotus on the Subject Matter of Economics’, The Scientific Monthly Vol. 81 (Dec 1955) pp. 276–85. In Professor Spengler’s estimate, ‘Herodotus had no notion of an economic system.’ (p. 284).Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    The quotations from Democritus are derived from Cyril Bailey, The Greek Atomists and Epicurus ( London, Oxford University Press, Clarendon Press, 1928 ) pp. 186–212.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Barry Gordon 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry Gordon
    • 1
  1. 1.University of NewcastleAustralia

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