"Ricardo, Marx, Jevons and Wicksteed all feature prominently in the following twelve essays - and, indeed, a number of other economists of the past, from Cantillon onwards, will be found to play a role. Nevertheless, these essays do not, for the most part, constitute history of thought for the genuine historian of thought; they are, rather, attempts to broach more general issues via a tolerably close study of particular texts. The first six essays concern issues in classical political economy, particularly - though not exclusively - that of Ricardo and Marx. The previously unpublished essay 7 provides a bridge to the second half of the volume, discussing Wicksteed's first work in political economy, his 1884 J evonian critique of Marx, and some of the debates which that work provoked. Jevons and Wicksteed are also central to essays 8-10. The final three essays (of which 10 and 11 were previously not readily available) are all concerned with various aspects of preferences and of the complex motivations lying behind economic actions.
Are the following essays, then, to be classified as 'history of economic thought' or as 'economic theory'? No, they are not: such classification would be futile. What matters is whether or not they are honest in the rendering of other writers' works, accurate in reasoning and both stimulating and enjoyable to read."
Table of Contents
Preface -- Acknowledgements -- Heterogeneous labour and 'classical' theory -- Heterogeneous labour, money wages and Marx's theory --'On Foreign Trade' --Marx on Ricardo -- Positive profits with negative surplus value -- Natural prices, differential profit rates and the classical competitive process -- P .H. Wicksteed's Jevonian critique of Marx -- Jevons's theory of capital and interest -- Trade interest versus class interest -- Rationality, economic man and altruism in P.H. Wicksteed's Common Sense of Political Economy -- Economic theory and intrinsically non-autonomous preferences and beliefs -- Time preference, the rate of interest and abstinence from accumulation -- Name index -- Subject index