The Classical Roots of Neo-classical Political Economy

Wellisz, Stanislaw H.

Neoclassical Political Economy applies the concepts and techniques of Neoclassical Analysis to elucidate the interrelations between the Economy, the Polity and the State. The basic issues at hand were clearly stated by the social thinkers of the 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries, often referred to (admiringly or disparagingly) as the "Classics". The "Classics" lacked the analytic techniques of contemporary social science. They had no access to statistical data and had no knowledge of quantitative methods. They lived in a universe much simpler than ours. They often failed to distinguish between the normative and the positive approach. Yet despite such limitations (or perhaps because of them) they often had an extraordinary clarity of vision. The insights of Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Adam Smith, of Madison and of Marx, are signal posts for to-day's Political Economists.



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Academic Units
Department of Economics, Columbia University
Department of Economics Discussion Papers, 0102-35
Published Here
March 22, 2011


March 2002