The Natural Origins of Economics

Paperback | November 1, 2007

byMargaret Schabas

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References to the economy are ubiquitous in modern life, and virtually every facet of human activity has capitulated to market mechanisms. In the early modern period, however, there was no common perception of the economy, and discourses on money, trade, and commerce treated economic phenomena as properties of physical nature. Only in the early nineteenth century did economists begin to posit and identify the economy as a distinct object, divorcing it from natural processes and attaching it exclusively to human laws and agency.

In The Natural Origins of Economics, Margaret Schabas traces the emergence and transformation of economics in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries from a natural to a social science. Focusing on the works of several prominent economists—David Hume, Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, David Ricardo, and John Stuart Mill—Schabas examines their conceptual debt to natural science and thus locates the evolution of economic ideas within the history of science. An ambitious study, The Natural Origins of Economics will be of interest to economists, historians, and philosophers alike.

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References to the economy are ubiquitous in modern life, and virtually every facet of human activity has capitulated to market mechanisms. In the early modern period, however, there was no common perception of the economy, and discourses on money, trade, and commerce treated economic phenomena as properties of physical nature. Only in ...

Margaret Schabas is professor in and head of the Department of Philosophy at the University of British Columbia.

other books by Margaret Schabas

David Hume's Political Economy
David Hume's Political Economy

Kobo ebook|Oct 25 2007

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:244 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.6 inPublished:November 1, 2007Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226735702

ISBN - 13:9780226735702

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Preface
1. Before "the Economy"
2. Related Themes in the Natural Sciences
3. French Economics in the Enlightenment
4. David Hume
5. Smith's Debts to Nature
6. Classical Political Economy in Its Heyday
7. Mill and the Early Neoclassical Economists
8. Denaturalizing the Economic Order
Notes
References
Index

Editorial Reviews

"Fascinating. . . . . A wide-ranging and challenging book that can be read profitably both by economists and a wider spectrum of readers interested in the history of science."-David Thorsby, Times Literary Supplement