The Secularization of Political Economy

James Halteman and Edd Noell

in Reckoning with Markets

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199763702
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932252 | DOI:
The Secularization of Political Economy

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Following Adam Smith’s vision of a self-regulating moral economy the focus turned toward these self-regulating features and away from moral concerns. The chapter traces the development of the classical and neoclassical economists who emphasized the rational discovery of underlying natural principles in a social order and the fitting of human law to those principles. The Industrial Revolution brought with it issues of income distribution and controversy over whether poor people should receive public assistance. Population growth was viewed by many as an inevitable deterrent to increases in living standards. Bentham’s utility view of value and Marshall’s merging of supply and demand cemented the neoclassical view of value and left moral questions to the philosophers and theologians. Finding equilibrium states rather than economic processes became the research agenda. Vignettes on “Alfred Marshall and the Value of Something” and “Mill: The Life of Homo EconomicusIs Depressing at Best” conclude the chapter.

Keywords: david ricardo; thomas malthus; jeremy bentham; alfred marshall; industrial revolution; classical economics; neoclassical economics

Chapter.  5430 words. 

Subjects: Financial Markets

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