Before Adam Smith : the emergence of political economy, 1662-1776


Before Adam Smith : the emergence of political economy, 1662-1776

Terence Hutchison

B. Blackwell, 1988

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Bibliography: p. [419]-440

Includes indexes



In this new work Professor Hutchiso n emphasizes the inadequacy of an exclusivist dichotomy between mercantilism and laissez-faire. He demonstrates that the main, formative century between Petty and Smith was characterized by a richness of theoretical pluralism rivalled in a variety of approaches to the discipline only by the latest two decades of our century. The author charts the progress of what Marx described as the outstanding creative impulse given to the advance of political economy by the publication of Sir William Petty's first work in 1662 and shows that, during this period, many of the central perennial issues and persisting conflicts and controversies were clearly formulated or underwent significant development. He also defends the contributions of other scholars such as Locke, Boisguilbert, Cantillon and Quesnay, pointing out that they incorporated the highest level of political thought into their understanding of the economic system, as well as taking a healthy attitude towards progress in economic knowledge and its application in policy.


Political economists and historians of economic thought.

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