Economics as Worldly Philosophy: Essays in Political and Historical Economics in Honour of Robert Heilbroner

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Economics, considered as worldly philosophy, asks questions and seeks answers that will stand the test of history. These essays, written by students of Robert Heilbroner, develop the characteristic themes of his work - the way economic knowledge differs from other kinds of social understanding, the importance of historical perspective, the central role of political issues, and the ambiguities inherent in economic concepts. The essays begin with methodology, offering a critique of neo-classical rational maximizing, then seek a broader foundation in history and the development of institutions, examined in relation to the development of technology. Questions of politics, the state and distribution are analyzed, drawing on the work of the classical economists, considered in relation both to their own times and to ours.