This landmark treatise of 1817 formulated the guiding principles behind the market economy. Author David Ricardo, with Adam Smith, founded the "classical" system of political economy, a school of thought that dominated economic policies throughout the nineteenth century and figured prominently in the theories of John Stuart Mill and Karl Marx.
The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith It is symbolic that Adam Smith's masterpiece of economic analysis, The Wealth of Nations, was first published in 1776, the same year as the Declaration of Independence.
Distinguished British economist John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) set off a series of movements that drastically altered the ways in which economists view the world. In his most important work, The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (1936), Keynes critiqued the laissez-faire policies of his day, particularly the proposition that a normally functioning market economy would bring full employment.
Economic history states that money replaced a bartering system, yet there isn't any evidence to support this axiom. Anthropologist Graeber presents a stunning reversal of this conventional wisdom. For more than 5,000 years, humans have used elaborate credit systems to buy and sell goods. Since the beginning of the agrarian empires, humans have been divided into debtors and creditors. Through time, virtual credit money was replaced by gold and the system as a whole went into decline. This fascinating history is told for the first time.
What are the grand dynamics that drive the accumulation and distribution of capital? Questions about the long-term evolution of inequality, the concentration of wealth, and the prospects for economic growth lie at the heart of political economy. But satisfactory answers have been hard to find for lack of adequate data and clear guiding theories. In Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty analyzes a unique collection of data from twenty countries, ranging as far back as the eighteenth century, to uncover key economic and social patterns. His findings will transform debate and set the agenda for the next generation of thought about wealth and inequality. Piketty shows that modern economic growth and the diffusion of knowledge have allowed us to avoid inequalities on the apocalyptic scale predicted by Karl Marx. But we have not modified the deep structures of capital and inequality as much as we thought in the optimistic decades following World War II. The main driver of inequalityâe"the tendency of returns on capital to exceed the rate of economic growthâe"today threatens to generate extreme inequalities that stir discontent and undermine democratic values. But economic trends are not acts of God. Political action has curbed dangerous inequalities in the past, Piketty says, and may do so again. A work of extraordinary ambition, originality, and rigor, Capital in the Twenty-First Century reorients our understanding of economic history and confronts us with sobering lessons for today.