A Future of Capitalism: The Economic Vision of Robert by Michael C. Carroll (auth.)

A Future of Capitalism: The Economic Vision of Robert by Michael C. Carroll (auth.)

By Michael C. Carroll (auth.)

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Furthermore, they increasingly limit themselves by stating that scarcity is a necessary but not sufficient condition. For something to have economic significance it must also be exchangeable. Lord Robbins states in his 1932 classic An Essay on The Nature and Significance of Economic Science that: The Manna which fell from heaven may have been scarce, but if it was impossible to exchange it for something else or to postpone its use, it was not the object of any activity with an economic aspect. (Robbins [1935] 1949, 13) In other words, society must economize 1 its scarce resources through the exchange mechanism of the market with the accompanying limitations of such restraints as relative prices, income and time.

He fused the politicalliberalism of Locke with his own economic liberalism to provide the genesis of his analysis of early capitalism. He coupled market analysis with a much larger social analysis to form his economics. This same breadth of vision can be seen in the work of all the worldly philosophers. In fact, most of the scenarios, from Smith to Keynes, were based on the same maximizing behaviour assumption as modem economic models. However, the worldly philosophy scenarios specifically included political and institutional structures which are lacking in current models.

In tradition and command systems this 'economic' activity is so intermeshed with the political or cultural attributes of the society that no separate economic analysis is needed. It is only in capitalist societies that distinctly separate 'economic' motivations begin to appear. These motivations are separate from political and cultural attributes. The motivations are economic and therefore fall to economic science to The Methodology of Worldly Philosophy 43 explore. They may exist in conjunction with political and cultural criteria but they are unique enough to require a separate form of inquiry.

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