Economic Thought Before Adam Smith: An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought, Volume I
This is the first extensive treatment from a modern Austrian perspective of the history of economic thought up to Adam Smith and as such takes into account the profound influence of religious, social and political thought upon economics. In Economic Thought before Adam Smith, Murray Rothbard contends that laissez-faire liberalism and economic thought itself began with the Catholic scholastics and early Roman and canon law, rather than with Adam Smith. The scholastics, he argues, established and developed the subjective utility and scarcity theory of value, as well as the theory that prices, or the value of money, depend on its supply and demand. This continental, or `pre-Austrian' tradition, was destroyed, rather than developed, by Adam Smith whose strong Calvinist tendencies towards glorifying labour, toil and thrift is contrasted with the emphasis in Scholastic economic thought towards labour in the service of consumption. Tracing economic thought from the Greeks to the Scottish Enlightenment, this book is notable for its inclusion of all the important figures in each school of thought with their theories assessed in historical context. Classical Economics, the second volume of Professor Rothbard's history of economic thought from an Austrian perspective, is also available.