This paper explores the core of the late Noboru Kobayashiʼs scholarship on the histo-ry of economic thought. Kobayashiʼs main research topics are British mercantilism, Adam Smith and Friedlich List. For him, these topics are not independent subjects, but integrated into a single theme. By examining the national and historical charac-ters of Britainʼs and Germanyʼs economics, he tried to elucidate the structures of their economies from the viewpoint of the generation of modern productive powers. He called the unique methodology of his study the “heuristic reciprocation between the history of economic thought and economic history.” Kobayashi clarified that Smithʼs misunderstanding of mercantilism caused a basic defect in his historical recognition of the formation of British capitalism, and that the foundation to Listʼs criticism of Smith arose from this defect.
The idiosyncratic points of Kobayashiʼs study are as follows. First, from the view-point of the developing stages of economic theory, Steuartʼs Principles and Smithʼs Wealth of Nations are defined as a general theory of primitive accumulation and a system of capitalist accumulation, respectively. Second, a common feature among the above two works is the economics of affluence, and Steuartʼs Principles can be de-fined as the first system of political economy. Third, Tuckerʼs gradual shift toward economic liberalism coexisted with his consistent political conservatism. Fourth, Listʼs relatively neglected work, Land System, is the key to understanding his social science. He proposed expansionistic policies toward Hungary and the Balkans to cre-ate middle-scale farms as a domestic market for the protected industrial power.
In his later years, worrying about the fact that postwar Japan “has amassed an enor-mous GNP at the cost of balance in its economy,” Kobayashi expressed the need for a reflection on contemporary economics that originated with Smith.
JEL classifications numbers: B 12, B 15, B 31.
The year 2012 marks the centennial anniversary of Milton Friedmanʼs birthday and the 50th an-niversary of the publication of Capitalism and Freedom （1962）. This paper examines the his-torical significance of his contributions, by mainly reviewing the growing recent research on his economics. Friedman has been popularly described as the Chicago school, monetarist, market fundamentalist, and neo-liberal; I argue that it is necessary to examine these convention-al labels from a historical perspective. Friedman witnessed several and sometimes overlapping historical eras, and the paper focuses on the his-torical contexts of the following: economic sci-ence in the latter half of the twentieth century, the National Bureau of Economic Research tra-dition, the Chicago school research tradition, money and business cycle theories, the role and responsibility of public intellectuals, and the neo-liberalism movement. This paper arrives on the following conclusion. Friedmanʼs ideas drew upon the economics of mathematical and empir-ical nature, seen in the latter twentieth century, yet his approach deviated from the more domi-nant Cowles or MIT approaches, as he regarded economics as an applied and empirical policy science. His works shared common characteris-tics with the NBER tradition, and he changed the nature of the post-War Chicago school by importing the NBER tradition. His monetary and business cycle analysis is a mixture of old Chi-cago monetary tradition and the NBER tradition. His active role as a public intellectual was met with success and controversies, as did his in-volvement with the neo-liberal movement. Al-though Friedman should be primarily studied from a historical perspective, one cannot avoid reviewing his contributions only because he ex-erted a great influence on the history of econom-ics. This becomes more acute especially in the wake of the current economic and financial cri-sis. The paper primarily examines three ques-tions: whether Friedmanʼs ideas contributed to the current crisis, what Friedman would have done if he were alive, and what could be done to improve on Friedmanʼs contributions. The paper concludes that historians of economics would and should continue arguing about and with Friedman.
JEL classification numbers: B20, B22, B31.
The purpose of this paper is to show that Karl
William Kappʼs theory of social costs is a part of the broader research field of social value theory and to clarify how he drew policy implications from the social value theory. Kapp argued that theories in mainstream economics related to ex-ternal diseconomies cannot be applied to phe-nomena like the occurrence of photochemical smog. This is because these phenomena are dis-continuous and nonlinear and cannot be fit into the framework of arithmetic, economic calcula-tions by firms. His theory of social value ex-plains such phenomena by using a model with dynamic interactions among multiple systems （physical, biological, and economic systems）and their subsystems. According to the theory, individual organisms and the economy exist in a holistic system, repeating metabolic processes and maintaining dynamic states of balance （or a disequilibrium steady state）. Dynamic states of balance can be sustained as long as the scale of pollution or natural resource depletion is small; however, if the scale exceeds the threshold, dy-namic states of balance no longer hold. For this reason, Kapp advocated the setting of minimum tolerance limits （Mindesttoleranzgrenzen） that would be necessary for the continued existence of individual organisms and the economy.
JEL classification numbers: B25, B31, Q51.
This paper examines the classical economist John Elliot Cairnesʼs analysis of “the Irish prob-lem.” In particular, it focuses on the land proper-ty rights issue in Ireland. This study examines John Stuart Millʼs analysis of the Irish problem, although Mill was influenced by Cairnesʼs view on this issue. However, research on Cairnesʼs analysis of the Irish problem is extremely scarce. Therefore, this paper is significant in that it closely examines Cairnesʼs analysis.
In this paper, the following two issues are discussed. First, Ireland faced several problems related to population, religion, and national inde-pendence. This paper deals with the reason that Cairnes paid the utmost attention to the land ownership problem. Secondly, by comparing Cairnesʼs view with that of Mill, can we clarify the characteristics of Cairnesʼs analysis? Cairnes emphasized the difference between land and other commodities, promoting the establishment of a system of land ownership appropriate to the Irish condition. Moreover, he criticized the lais-sez-faire policy: he advocated that it was neces-sary for the government to intervene in land ownership issues. Cairnesʼs criticism of the lais-sez-faire policy had an impact on Mill. This pa-per highlights Cairnesʼs view on the importance of institutions in solving economic problems.
JEL classification numbers: B12, B31.
The purpose of this article is to reinterpret Rich-ard Cantillonʼs concept of “profit” described in his Essai sur la nature du commerce en général (1755）. It examines the conceptual relation between profit and Cantillonʼs two notions “intrin-sic value” and “entrepreneur.”
By examining Prendergastʼs （1991） two possible interpretations of the relation of profit with the intrinsic value of a commodity and Brewerʼs （1992） discussion of entrepreneursʼ credit-worthiness, it is shown that Cantillonʼs profit interpreted by Prendergast is constructed of certain and uncertain parts. Certain part of the profit accruing to a commodity producer is the difference between the producerʼs labor value and subsistence level, and uncertain part, which characterizes the producer as an entrepreneur, is the balance between the sales price and the in-trinsic value of a commodity. This construction enables us to interpret Cantillonʼs profit with reference to entrepre-neursʼ labor value and to provide restrictive defi-nitions of Cantillonʼs notions of intrinsic value and entrepreneur.
These restrictive definitions, which take into consideration the idea of long-run equilibrium price, indicate that Cantillonʼs notions of intrin-sic value and entrepreneur differ from Adam Smithʼs versions of “natural price” and “employ-er,” respectively. It is shown that the state where-in the price of each commodity equalizes with its intrinsic value and the existence of an entre-preneur receiving uncertain profit are conceptu-ally incompatible in economies in Cantillonʼs ar-gument.
Our interpretations represent an explanation for the conceptual change of profit from Cantil-lon to Smith.
JEL classification numbers: B11, B31.