[OPE-L] Adam's Fallacy A Guide to Economic Theology Duncan K. Foley

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Tue Sep 12 2006 - 00:25:01 EDT


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



Duncan K. Foley is Leo Model Professor at the New School for Social Research.

Other HUP Books by Duncan K. Foley

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Harvard edition World
7 line illustrations, 1 table
Belknap Press
288 pages
Hardcover edition
Trade
September 2006

ISBN 0-674-02309-9
$25.95
16.95
E24.00
ISBN 13 978-0-674-02309-3
0674023099
9780674023093
Business & Economics: General
Business & Economics: Economics: Theory
Business & Economics: Economic History


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