The History of Economic Thought
Online ISSN : 1884-7358
Print ISSN : 1880-3164
ISSN-L : 1880-3164
Volume 50 , Issue 1
Showing 1-17 articles out of 17 articles from the selected issue
  • Joachim Zweynert
    2008 Volume 50 Issue 1 Pages 1-22
    Published: July 31, 2008
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    The experience of the divergent outcomes of the Central and Eastern European post-socialist transition has reminded many economists that, in the process of institutional change, ideas and ideologies matter. It may be axiomatic that today's ideas can be understood only in the context of the history of ideas, yet recent debates on ideas and institutions seldom involve any reference to the history of economic thought. Giving a detailed account of the Soviet/Russian debates on economic policy since 1987, this paper argues that the problems of establishing a market economy are difficult to appreciate without taking into account the clashes between conflicting patterns of thought that are deeply rooted in the Soviet and pre-Soviet history of Russian economic ideas.
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  • Taku Eriguchi
    2008 Volume 50 Issue 1 Pages 23-40
    Published: July 31, 2008
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    The purposes of this paper are, first, to present a critique of B. Semmel's social imperialist inter-pretation of Sidney and Beatrice Webb's theories, and second, to establish the compatibility of the Webbs' ideas on “national efficiency” with the “internationalism” of the world economy. Pivotal to their program of national efficiency were the idea of “national minimum” and strategies developed at the London School of Economics (LSE).
    As they argued in Industrial Democracy (1897), the Webbs believed that national minimum policy should be based on free trade, and from that standpoint they criticised the protectionism of W. Ashley. However, the Webbs did not recognise the necessity for an “international minimum” as proposed by A. C. Pigou in The Economics of Welfare (1920) because effective use of the national minimum policy would by itself ensure efficiency in the British economy. This idea was affirmed with the founding of LSE (1895), which was established with the objective of promoting the application of scientific knowledge and skills (especially in areas of commerce and public administration) to the British economy. The Webbs hoped that their policies of national efficiency, which they saw as compatible with free trade, would be adopted by every civilised nation.
    Behind the Webbs' approach to the social imperialists were the realities of British party politics at the turn of the century, just before the blossoming of the “new liberalism.” That was the context in which they sought to realise their policies of national efficiency. It is therefore important to carefully distinguish their political behaviour from their economic thought.
    After the Second World War, G. Myrdal (1960) criticised the welfare state on grounds of its nationalist bias. However, the Webbs' idea of national efficiency based on free trade continues to offer an important clue to the resolution of that aporia in the logic of modern welfare states.
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  • Yoshihiro Ohmizu
    2008 Volume 50 Issue 1 Pages 41-61
    Published: July 31, 2008
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    This paper attempts to reinterpret Hobson's theory of rents and highlight the strong relevance of his theory of rents to the central objectives of New Liberalism in the late 19th and early 20th century as economic activity shifted from laissez-faire competition to monopoly capitalism. In the same period, among the four economists-Sydney Webb, John B. Clark, J. A. Hobson, and Alfred Marshall-who formulated distinct theories of rent, Hobson stands out from the others in the consistency and breadth of his theory. All his ideas for social reform were put forward on the basis of that theory, and his optimistic view of the potential for economic development offered by capitalism can be attributed to his belief that political reforms would secure non-monopolistic and fair distribution of wealth.
    The three analytical dimensions and concepts in Hobson's rents theory are rent, gain, and surplus. Rent refers to the whole income accruing from the factors of production, and it is divided into three parts: marginal rent is necessary to maintain a minimum standard of living and productive capacity; differential rent is directly or indirectly necessary to enhance the standard of living and productive capacity; and forced rent is the outcome of squeeze and exploitation by monopolistic powers, thus precluding the means to increase the standard of living and productive capacity of the society. Although these definitions of rent are clear enough when they are used in abstract economic theory, they differ considerably from the common usages of “rent.” That is because Hobsonian “rents” include, in part, even the wages of labor and profits of capital.
    Compared with his formulation of rents, Hobson's concept of gain is closer to the way the term is commonly used to understand and explain behaviors and intentions of laborers, capitalists, and landowners. In the dimension of gain, consequently, differential rent is identical to differential gain, and forced rent is identical with forced gain. The concept of gain is nothing but an explanatory device.
    The idea and theory of surplus essentially fall into the realm of policy and political theory, but “surplus” is accepted as an original and core concept in Hobson's economic analysis. It is, however, so complex that we must initially distinguish between two definitions of the term. First, surplus derives from rent and gain, therefore, it is equal to forced rent and forced gain. Second, surplus is calculated on the basis of cost, and so it is equal to price over cost. The latter definition is further subdivided into productive surplus (differential gain and rent) and unproductive surplus (forced gain and rent). In that sense, surplus consists substantially of differential and forced gain, that is, differential and forced rent.
    Then, it will be safe to say that unequal distribution of wealth due to productive surplus can contribute and accelerate economic progress, while unequal distribution of wealth due to unproductive surplus will not. Thus Hobson had to advocate a liberal policy for increasing productive surplus (differential gain and rent) on the one hand, and a restrictive policy for decreasing unproductive surplus (forced gain and rent) on the other. Viewing Hobson's thinking in that perspective, we can see that his policy proposals for curing the maldistribution of wealth are consistent with the advocacy by New Liberalism of both liberal and restrictive policies at the same time in the project to promote general social welfare at that time.
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  • Shigeta Minamimori
    2008 Volume 50 Issue 1 Pages 62-78
    Published: July 31, 2008
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Takahira Kanda, with his lifelong interest in economic problems, was a pioneering scholar, teacher, and translator of Western economics in Japan. His Keizai shogaku [Elementary Economics] (1867), for which he translated Western-language sources, is particularly well-known. But it is an earlier work, Noshoben [An Exact Explanation of an Agrarian Nation and a Merchant Nation], published in 1861 that is the focus of this paper. In this book, Kanda's economic thinking appears radical by the standards of the time. It has drawn the attention of economic historians for what they see as a liberal side, and its arguments have often been compared with Western economics. What scholars have tended to overlook, however, is the side of Noshoben that clearly reflects the economic thought prevailing in Japan at the time.
    Contrary to the current image of Noshoben, this paper attempts to demonstrate that Kanda's thought was largely based on the economic thought of the Edo era. In that book, he argued that taxes on farmers were the cause of the budget deficit and the poverty of farmers, and that those conditions invited aggression by foreign countries, which meant, he said, the necessity of reforming the existing tax system. He proposed tax reform by treating revenue from farm products as commercial profits, and he argued that promoting foreign trade would be effective to increase commercial profits. Those ideas were not new. We can find them in the work of Toshiaki Honda, for example, who wrote most of his treatises in the late 18th century. Nonetheless, Noshoben had considerable originality. For instance, while many Edo era economists regarded merchants as wily and untrustworthy, encouraging the shogunate or feudal rulers to maintain strict control over trade with foreign countries, Kanda recognized the important role merchants could play in external trade, and, consequently, in strengthening the domestic economy. His idea of imposing a tax on the profits of merchants was radical at that time.
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  • Yukihiro Ikeda
    2008 Volume 50 Issue 1 Pages 79-95
    Published: July 31, 2008
    Released: August 05, 2010
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    This article surveys the major secondary literature on the German Historical school produced for the most part from the 1990s onward. Following a brief introduction, and using the customary terms Older, Younger, and Youngest to identify periods of development in the school, I note with critical comment works on the Older Historical school. Then in the following section we turn to work done on the Younger and Youngest members of the School. In the last section, centering on the questions of what has been accomplished and what is necessary to promote further studies, some general suggestions are given regarding future research.
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  • Natsuka Tokumaru
    2008 Volume 50 Issue 1 Pages 100-101
    Published: July 31, 2008
    Released: August 05, 2010
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  • [in Japanese]
    2008 Volume 50 Issue 1 Pages 102-103
    Published: July 31, 2008
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
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  • [in Japanese]
    2008 Volume 50 Issue 1 Pages 104-106
    Published: July 31, 2008
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
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  • [in Japanese]
    2008 Volume 50 Issue 1 Pages 107-108
    Published: July 31, 2008
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
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  • [in Japanese]
    2008 Volume 50 Issue 1 Pages 109-110
    Published: July 31, 2008
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
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  • [in Japanese]
    2008 Volume 50 Issue 1 Pages 111-112
    Published: July 31, 2008
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
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  • [in Japanese]
    2008 Volume 50 Issue 1 Pages 113-114
    Published: July 31, 2008
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
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  • [in Japanese]
    2008 Volume 50 Issue 1 Pages 115-116
    Published: July 31, 2008
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
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  • [in Japanese]
    2008 Volume 50 Issue 1 Pages 117-118
    Published: July 31, 2008
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
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  • [in Japanese]
    2008 Volume 50 Issue 1 Pages 119-120
    Published: July 31, 2008
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
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  • [in Japanese]
    2008 Volume 50 Issue 1 Pages 121-123
    Published: July 31, 2008
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
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  • [in Japanese]
    2008 Volume 50 Issue 1 Pages 124-125
    Published: July 31, 2008
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
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