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Economics of J S Mill

Economics of J S Mill

Copyright Date: 1985
Pages: 1037
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  • Book Info
    Economics of J S Mill
    Book Description:

    Hollander has produced a study that will stand for many years on the economic thought of John Stuart Mill.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7424-0
    Subjects: History, Mathematics, Economics

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
    (pp. xi-xviii)
    (pp. xix-xx)
  5. ONE The methodological and doctrinal heritage
    (pp. 1-65)

    A sharp distinction must be made between the methodological orientations of James Mill and David Ricardo. It is James Mill who was guilty of what has been termed by Professor Schumpeter ‘The Ricardian Vice’. To tar Ricardo with the same brush is to distort Ricardo’s position and the record of the entire post-Ricardian period. It turns out that J. S. Mill’s reaction against his father on methodological matters in the early 1830s implies not (as is sometimes suggested) the construction of a new political economy, but rather a return to Ricardo. But we must proceed with caution. We are claiming...

  6. TWO On scope and method
    (pp. 66-161)

    A sharp difference is often said to be discernible between J. S. Mill’s methodological pronouncements in his essay on method penned about 1830,¹ and his practice in thePrinciples of Political Economy. In some accounts, this ‘difference’ is interpreted as a matter of inconsistency, in others, as a change of opinion. A brief review of these commentaries on the essay is in order before turning to our own analysis of Mill’s formal discussions of method.

    According to an early paper by Jacob Viner, Mill conceived of political economy as a psychological science: ‘the science relating to the moral and psychological...

  7. THREE Transition to the Principles
    (pp. 162-187)

    Historians of economics frequently allude to an inconsistency between methodological pronouncement and practice on Mill’s part, or at least to a marked change between the essay and thePrinciples. In his early article on logical method in economics (see above, p.66–7) Jacob Viner found the one redeeming feature of the record as far as concerned Mill to be the apparent circumstance that he did not live up to the (supposedly) unsatisfactory standards established in the essay when he came to compose his text: ‘even those economists who were most decided in their contention that the abstract deductive method was...

  8. FOUR The sources of increased efficiency
    (pp. 188-244)

    We shall be concerned in this chapter with the factual materials discussed in the ‘Preliminary Remarks’ to thePrinciplesregarding the causes of differences in the origin, magnitude and distribution of wealth over time and space; the more complex account of Book I, Chapter vii (‘On What Depends the Degree of Productiveness of Productive Agents’) which makes special reference to climate, location, the quality of manpower, and the state of health, knowledge and security; Chapters viii and ix which elaborate further, from the same perspective, the role of industrial organization with particular reference to economies of scale; and Chapter xii...

  9. FIVE Allocation, trade and distribution
    (pp. 245-362)

    In earlier work I have demonstrated that Ricardo’s exposition of his fundamental theorem on distribution (the inverse profit-wage relationship based upon the standard measure of value) had a positive and lasting effect on professional thought well after his death in 1823 (Hollander, 1977b). I have also argued that the fundamental theorem was not divorced from that corpus of analysis involving the principles of allocation economics (Hollander, 1979, Ch. 6; 1982). It would appear that Ricardianism and neo-classicism - while not sharing identical procedures and certainly not identical preoccupations - have in common a similar ‘central core’ amounting to allocation theory...

  10. SIX Capital, employment and growth
    (pp. 363-482)

    This chapter sets out by considering Mill’s four fundamental propositions regarding capital, with particular attention given to the determinants of aggregate employment. An interpretation of the 1869 reputation of the wagefund theory consistent with the micro-economic perspective outlined in the previous chapter is suggested; and the relation between wage-fund theorizing and the fundamental theorem on distribution traced out. We then take up the formal contrast between ‘statics’ and ‘dynamics’ as preliminary to an analysis of the secular trend of the wage and profit rates both from a theoretical and empirical perspective. Sections on the interconnections between the profit-rate trend and...

  11. Middle Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  12. SEVEN Money and banking: theory and policy
    (pp. 483-601)

    We shall refer to the version of Say’s law of markets according to which the money value of goods supplied isidenticallyequal to that of goods demanded as Say’s identity, a view which precludes attempts to add to money balances out of sales proceeds. An alternative version of Say’s law has it that the equality of the aggregate value of goods demanded and supplied reflects solely anequilibriumstate of affairs. On this version disequilibrium might entail excess supplies of goods in the aggregate (at going prices), having a counterpart in an excess demand for money to hold. On...

  13. EIGHT On utility and liberty
    (pp. 602-676)

    A system of political economy may be defined as a comprehensive set of economic policies based upon some normative, unifying principle such as Socialism or Liberalism (Schumpeter, 1954, 38). Mill, of course, is traditionally considered a ‘liberal’, but this is a mere label; fully to appreciate his policy recommendations we must examine closely the normative, unifying principle or principles at play, particularly so considering his celebrated utilitarian odyssey and his much discussed attitude towards Socialism.

    The present chapter is designed to provide an appropriate context for a closer examination of Mill’s conceptions of the role of government in economic life,...

  14. NINE Economic policy: the role of government
    (pp. 677-769)

    The general rule formalized inOn Libertywhich dictates the legitimate scope of social control (Chapter 8, Section VII) appears, we shall see, in thePrinciples of Political Economywith special reference to the role of government in economic affairs.¹ The role of government, within the same frame of reference, is also well stated in the defence of Bentham against Whewell’s strictures in 1852, and again in the paper on centralization a decade later:

    Government is entitled to assume that it will take better care than individuals of the public interest, but not better care of their own interest. It...

  15. TEN Economic policy: social organization
    (pp. 770-824)

    We have argued earlier that Mill at no time envisaged Ricardian deductive methodology as in conflict with the principles of institutional and behavioural relativity. There is nothing ‘remarkable’ about his continued championship of such methodology despite his profound awareness of the ‘provisional’ nature of the axiomatic framework. Ricardian procedure was, moreover, fully consistent with a progressive attitude towards social reform; indeed, the fundamental theorem on distribution, as we know, provided a splendid reply to opponents of the union movement.

    There remains to discuss a feature of the record that further elucidates Mill’s continued adherence to the framework relevant to a...

  16. ELEVEN Economic policy: the reform programme
    (pp. 825-912)

    The total transformation of society is one thing; more modest reform is another. This chapter will be concerned with Mill’s reform proposals with emphasis upon the ‘condition-of-the-people’ - both absolute living standards and income distribution - within a capitalist environment. Jacob Viner has maintained that Mill’s sympathy with socialism was largely platonic ‘for in no major concrete instance did [he] actually commit himself to the desirability of a specific drastic change. Mill aspired after the millennium, but he found abundant reason why it was not and should not be wished to be imminent’ (1958, 330). There is much as we...

  17. CONCLUSION: Some central themes
    (pp. 913-967)

    We shall summarize in this section several major features of our position by reference to the relationship between ‘Ricardianism’ and ‘historicism’. Professor T. W. Hutchison (1978) in his account of the record refers to a ‘profound, extreme and consequential’ break in method in 1817 and then cites with approval the following statement by the economic historian N. B. Harte (1971, xiii) to describe various consequences of this ‘methodological revolution’ (54) - consequences which include J. S. Mill’s ‘non-historical manner’ in thePrinciples:

    Since Adam Smith, economics has made important strides, while the historical aspects of the subject during a period...

  18. APPENDIX: Attitudes towards birth control
    (pp. 968-970)
  19. APPENDIX: The Hubbard Issue
    (pp. 971-976)
  20. APPENDIX: On the Socialist Conference
    (pp. 977-978)
    (pp. 979-1005)
  22. INDEX
    (pp. 1006-1037)