The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Shaw, George Bernard (1856–1950)

  • Peter Newman
Reference work entry


Shaw’s interest in economics belongs to the 1880s. Wandering into a Henry George lecture in London in 1882 he was so impressed that he immediately read Progress and Poverty and thence converted to socialism. This vaccination by George seems to have prevented him from becoming a true marxist, even though ‘I never took up a book that proved better worth reading than “Capital” ’ (1887c; 1930, p. 168). His first venture into economics was a letter on marxian value theory entitled ‘Who is the Thief?’, which appeared in the weekly Justice (1884; 1930, pp. 1–8) under one of his many facetious pseudonyms, G.B.S. Larking. Criticizing Volume I of Capital, he asked why competition did not drive down surplus value and so leave the consumer as the exploiter, a reasonable enough question if marxian value is confused with price.

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Newman
    • 1
  1. 1.