The science of economics has frequently passed through unhappy periods when controversy has ranged within it and public respect for its principles has, in consequence, waned. In the 20s of last century Torrens was writing of the unsettled state of the subject and looking forward, with a touching confidence that proved to be misplaced, to the early arrival of the period of unanimity. In the 60s and 70s J. E. Cairnes was deploring the numerous and fundamental divergences between economists, examining first principles again in an effort to dissolve the differences, and was vigorously defending his conception of the science against the growing opinion of many intelligent outsiders that political economy was obsolete, a useful branch of knowledge which had served its turn but was becoming an obstacle to progress. In the 80s Thorold Rogers in his lectures in Oxford was slashing energetically at what he termed the ‘thorns and thistles of abstract political economy’ and declaring that ‘political economy is in a bad way: its authority is repudiated, its conclusions are assailed, its arguments are compared to the dissertations held in Milton’s Limbo, its practical suggestions are conceived to be not much better than those of the philosophers in Laputa’.
KeywordsTechnical Progress Full Employment Economic Science Free Market Economic Economic Logic
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