This volume is a collection of sixteen essays on three general topics: the methodology of economics, the applicability of economic reasoning to political science and other social sciences, and the relevance of economics as moral philosophy. Several essays are published here for the first time, including “Professor Alchian on Economic Method,” “Natural and Artifactual Man,” and “Public Choice and Ideology.”
Adam Smith was an eloquent man of considerable philosophical and historical learning. His most incisive and enduring observations are collected here on subjects ranging from political and economic history to morals, art, education, war, and the American colonies. Throughout, notes an admirer in the introduction, “his writing is blessedly free of that use of jargon (and mathematics) that characterizes most of the modern materials in economics. His ideas are expressed in a lucid, straightforward manner that makes them accessible to all.”
David Ricardo was born in London in 1772. His father, a successful stockbroker, introduced him to the Stock Exchange at the formative age of fourteen. During his career in finance, he amassed a personal fortune which allowed him to retire at the age of forty-two. Thereafter, he pursued a political career and further developed his economic ideas and policy proposals. A man of very little formal education, Ricardo arguably became, with the exception of Adam Smith, the most influential political economist of all time.