The Rotten State of … Classical Economics

Hayek's Challenge (Caldwell)Wagner began with the claim that classical political economy was a discipline in crisis. The root of the problem was one that earlier German historical economists had identified, the reliance on the postulate that all human behavior is based on narrowly conceived self-interest. By taking this unidimensional view, the classicals had ignored the many factors motivating human behavior, in particular the ethical dimension.

— Bruce Caldwell, Hayek’s Challenge: An Intellectual Biography of F.A. Hayek (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2004), p. 55.

Some criticisms have been around for a while.

4 thoughts on “The Rotten State of … Classical Economics

  1. Blue Aurora

    Call me stupid Jonathan, but for a second there I thought that the “Wagner” criticising classical economics was Richard Wagner the musician – until I realised that I’d better check the book you referenced. What would you have thought IF it turned out that Richard Wagner himself had made this critique of classical economics, even though he was no political economist himself?

  2. Roman P.

    When wasn’t it? In time of J.S. Mill there were protectionists (I am reading on Peshine Smith now) and historical school. And in time of Adam Smith there was a school of mercantilists. Consensus was always non-existent.


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