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Reckoning with MarketsThe Role of Moral Reflection in Economics$
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James Halteman and Edd S. Noell

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199763702

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199763702.001.0001

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The Secularization of Political Economy

The Secularization of Political Economy

(p.90) Chapter 5 The Secularization of Political Economy
Reckoning with Markets

James Halteman

Edd Noell

Oxford University Press

Following Adam Smith’s vision of a self-regulating moral economy the focus turned toward these self-regulating features and away from moral concerns. The chapter traces the development of the classical and neoclassical economists who emphasized the rational discovery of underlying natural principles in a social order and the fitting of human law to those principles. The Industrial Revolution brought with it issues of income distribution and controversy over whether poor people should receive public assistance. Population growth was viewed by many as an inevitable deterrent to increases in living standards. Bentham’s utility view of value and Marshall’s merging of supply and demand cemented the neoclassical view of value and left moral questions to the philosophers and theologians. Finding equilibrium states rather than economic processes became the research agenda. Vignettes on “Alfred Marshall and the Value of Something” and “Mill: The Life of Homo EconomicusIs Depressing at Best” conclude the chapter.

Keywords:   david ricardo, thomas malthus, jeremy bentham, alfred marshall, industrial revolution, classical economics, neoclassical economics

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