On Classical Economics


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Thomas Sowell

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A reexamination of classical economic theory and methods, by a senior economist of international stature

Thomas Sowell's many writings on the history of economic thought have appeared in a number of scholarly journals and books, and these writings have been praised, reprinted, and translated in various countries around the world. The classical era in the history of economics is an important part of the history of ideas in general, and its implications reach beyond the bounds of the economics profession.  On Classical Economics is a book from which students can learn both history and economics. It is not simply a Cook's tour of colorful personalities of the past but a study of how certain economic concepts and tools of analysis arose, and how their implications were revealed during the controversies that followed. In addition to a general understanding of classical macroeconomics and microeconomics, this book offers special insight into the neglected pioneering work of Sismondi—and why it was neglected—and a detailed look at John Stuart Mill's enigmatic role in the development of economics and the mysteries of Marxian economics. Clear, engaging, and very readable, without being either cute or condescending, On Classical Economics can enable a course on the history of economic thought to make a contribution to students’ understanding of economics in general--whether in price theory, monetary theory, or international trade.  In short, it is a book about analysis as well as history.

Thomas Sowell is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the author of numerous books on a wide range of subjects, including Affirmative Action Around the World, published by Yale University Press.

"An important, beautifully researched collection. Sowell manages, with great scholarship, to clearly and simply explain both complex questions of economic theory and how they developed."—David C. John, Research Fellow, Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, Heritage Foundation

"A very readable introduction to classical economics, aimed at students of economic thought, but also of interest to historians, philosophers and political scientists. Sowell clarifies important misconceptions about classical economics— especially regarding Marx, Malthus, and Sismondi. An impressive read."—Edward Stringham, San Jose State University

"Thomas Sowell has written a detailed, intellectual history of the Classical Economists, putting the various authors into a cohesive framework for the first time. A good solid enjoyable book."—Robert Lawson, Capital University School of Management

"Sowell . . . is one of the country's leading social commentators—without qualification. His scholarship is not only voluminous but wide-ranging, covering everything from education and law to political philosophy, migration and the history of ideas."—Jason L. Riley, Wall Street Journal

“A captivating work. . . . Sowell’s prose is so lucid that this book should prove illuminating and interesting to noneconomists as well, helping to popularize the field of economic thought. . . . Sowell’s insightful monograph should be applauded for its keen insights and masterful presentation. On Classical Economics is that rare book that is of interest to groups of individuals as diverse as professional economists and people with only a casual interest in the discipline.”—James Ullmer, Asheville Citizen-Times

"A page turner. . . . An exciting and fresh look at a wide range of classical texts."—John Berdell, EH.net

"The real value of the history of economics is its combination of enduring questions with progress in analytical reasoning. Sowell's On Classical Economics exemplifies precisely this combination."—Gary Hawke, The Economic Record
ISBN: 9780300126068
Publication Date: October 28, 2007
320 pages, 6 x 9
4 b/w illus.
Affirmative Action Around the World

An Empirical Study

Thomas Sowell

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