By William Henderson
A wealthy vein of economics writings which runs during the 19th century and past is now principally neglected simply because its authors have been ladies or simply because they favoured literary over medical kinds. Economics as Literature re-examines the most attention-grabbing texts from inside of this tradition.
The works thought of include:
*stories (eg by means of Maria Edgeworth and Harriet Martineau)
*dialogues (eg by means of Jane Marcet and Thomas de Quincey)
*'imaginative' writing (eg from Ruskin and Francis Edgeworth)
*Keynes' General Theory that is locked inside a 19th century 'tradition' of uniting technological know-how and paintings.
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Extra resources for Economics as Literature
1948) A History of Economic Doctrines, 2nd ed. (trans. R. Richards), London: Harrap & Co. 19 Economics as literature Heinzelman, K. (1980) The Economics of the Imagination, Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. McCloskey, D. ’ in Backhouse, R. ) New Directions in Economic Methodology, London: Routledge, 319–342. McDonagh, J. (1994) De Quincey’s Disciplines, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ch. 2, 42– 65. Mirowski, P. (1994) ‘Marshalling the Unruly Atoms: Understanding Edgeworth’s Career,’ in Edgeworth on Chance, Economic Hazard and Statistics, Totowa, New Jersey: Rowan and Littlefield, 1–78.
Observation and experience will lead the child towards an answer. Steam from the tea kettle can give rise to further lessons. Solids, liquids and gases can be thought about in the context of mundane experience. 7 Adults must be aware of the educational resources and possibilities created in the environment of everyday: in the situations encountered, in the toys that are bought and in the books that are read. Lessons are to be interesting, involving, varied and short. 8 Reason is to be supported and sustained and punishment and boredom banished.
Martineau claims that she was inspired to write her economic tales for adults through reading Jane Marcet. When working on Martineau’s economics writing, I took this to be a general inspiration. However, Martineau developed a specific justification for her approach. She decided to supply both story and overtly stated economic principle or moral. This can be read as a response to Marcet’s comment about ‘The Cherry Orchard’ in Conversations on Political Economy. Marcet supports the lack of an overtly stated economic principle, or moral, in Edgeworth’s story, on the grounds that such ideas ‘abstractedly laid down’ are little understood by children.
Economics as Literature by William Henderson