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Economics in PerspectiveA Critical History$
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John Kenneth Galbraith

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691171647

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691171647.001.0001

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The Great Classical Tradition, 3

The Great Classical Tradition, 3

The Defense of the Faith

(p.124) Chapter 10 The Great Classical Tradition, 3
Economics in Perspective

John Kenneth Galbraith

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the ideas elaborated specifically in the refinement and defense of the classical tradition in economics. There were points of vulnerability and fault that required a defense of the classical tradition, including the pronounced difference between the wages and resulting living standard of the workers and those of the employers or capitalists, the unequal distribution of power inherent in the system, and the phenomenon referred to as a panic, crisis, depression or recession, with its associated unemployment and general despair. The chapter considers how the classical tradition dealt with inequality and oppressive power, focusing on the initial defense advanced for the low wages of the laborer in comparison with the revenues of the employer and landlord. It also discusses the defense from Utilitarianism, led by Jeremy Bentham, and the views of John Stuart Mill, Herbert Spencer, Nassau Senior, and William Stanley Jevons.

Keywords:   classical tradition, wages, recession, unemployment, inequality, oppressive power, Utilitarianism, Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, Herbert Spencer

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