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Adam's Fallacy : A Guide to Economic Theology - Duncan K. Foley

Adam's Fallacy

A Guide to Economic Theology

Paperback

Published: 30th April 2008
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This book could be called "The Intelligent Person's Guide to Economics." Like Robert Heilbroner's "The Worldly Philosophers," it attempts to explain the core ideas of the great economists, beginning with Adam Smith and ending with Joseph Schumpeter. In between are chapters on Thomas Malthus, David Ricardo, Karl Marx, the marginalists, John Maynard Keynes, Friedrich Hayek, and Thorstein Veblen. The title expresses Duncan Foley's belief that economics at its most abstract and interesting level is a speculative philosophical discourse, not a deductive or inductive science. Adam's fallacy is the attempt to separate the economic sphere of life, in which the pursuit of self-interest is led by the invisible hand of the market to a socially beneficial outcome, from the rest of social life, in which the pursuit of self-interest is morally problematic and has to be weighed against other ends.

Smith and his successors argued that the market and the division of labor that is fostered by it result in tremendous gains in productivity, which lead to a higher standard of living. Yet the market does not address the problem of distribution--that is, how is the gain in wealth to be divided among the classes and members of society? Nor does it address such problems as the long-run well-being of the planet.

"Adam's Fallacy" is beautifully written and contains interesting observations and insights on almost every page. It will engage the reader's thoughts and feelings on the deepest level.

Foley gets deep into the analytical content of major schools of thought, ranking Adam's Fallacy up there with Heilbroner's classic. -- Robert Solow New York Review of Books 20061116 So what is 'Adam's Fallacy?'...It is the idea that the economic sphere of life constitutes a separate realm 'in which the pursuit of self-interest is guided by objective laws to a socially beneficent outcome'...Professor Foley's book is simultaneously an introduction to economic theory and a critique of it. It is his version of the classic introduction for the economically challenged by Robert L. Heilbroner, The Worldly Philosophers, now in its seventh edition. Adam's Fallacy concentrates more on the worldly philosophies rather than on the philosophers, on economic theory rather than on the characters and events that along with Mr. Heilbroner's masterly storytelling gave The Worldly Philosophers so much color and verve...By questioning economic theory's cordoning off of an economic spheres of life ruled by its own laws and expertise, Professor Foley is implicitly proposing limits to the secularization that is an underlying characteristic of modernity. Secularization has meant that in a cultural transformation, major areas of human activity set themselves up as quasi-autonomous, with their own standards, authorities, and guiding principles. -- Peter Steinfels New York Times 20061125 [A] passionate book, to be welcomed in a discipline notably devoid of passion. [Adam's Fallacy] can be read for pleasure and enlightenment by economists and non-economists alike. -- David Throsby Times Literary Supplement 20070323

Prefacep. xi
Adam's Visionp. 1
The Division of Labor
The Theory of Value
Capital Accumulation
The Invisible Hand and the State
Smith's Theory of Money
Adam's Fallacy Revisited
Gloomy Sciencep. 45
Second Thoughts
Malthus and Population
The Context of Malthus's Essay
Malthus's Postulates
Malthusian Logic
Population and Food since Malthus's Time
Ricardo and the Limits to Growth
Ricardo's Labor Theory of Value
Accumulation and the Stationary State
Richardo's Views on Machinery
The Political Economy of Poverty
The Severest Criticp. 86
Historical Materialism
The Commodity and the Theory of Value
Capitalist Exploitation
Accumulation and the Falling Rate of Profit
Primitive Accumulation
The Transition to Socialism
Marx and Proletarian Revolution
Marxist Theory and Social Change
On the Marginsp. 155
Adam's Fallacy Needs New Shoes
Marginalism
Where Do Prices Come From?
Marginalism and Social Welfare
Marginalism and Time
Veblen and Conspicuous Consumption
Voices in the Airp. 179
John Maynard Keynes
World Capitalism in Keynes's Time
Say's Law and Laissez-Faire
Labor Markets and Unemployment
Expectations and Money
The Fate of Capitalism
Complexity vs. Collectivism
The Prophet of Technology
Grand Illusionsp. 213
Looking in the Mirror
Two-Armed Economists
Escaping Adam's Fallacy
Face to Face with Adam's Curse
Reading Furtherp. 231
Appendixp. 237
Demographic Equilibrium
Theories of Money and Prices
Ricardo's Theory of Rent and Accumulation
Decomposition of the Value of Commodities
The Working Day
Indexp. 251
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780674027299
ISBN-10: 0674027299
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 30th April 2008
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.9 x 14.1  x 1.7
Weight (kg): 0.39