Charles Abrams, “The Subsidy and Housing”

Category : Economics, Urban Studies

The subsidy is only a single aspect of housing policy; yet the form it ultimately takes will influence more than the housing program alone. In all its long history, both here and abroad, the subsidy has never been more significant than it is currently. It involves more than monetary outlay. The kind of economy in which we are to live may be influenced by the policy we devise for its dispensation.

Source: The Journal of Land & Public Utility Economics 22.2 (May 1946): 131- 139

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Charles Beard, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States

Category : Economics, Founding, History

The following pages are frankly fragmentary. They are designed to suggest new lines of historical research rather than to treat the subject in an exhaustive fashion. This apology is not intended as an anticipation of the criticism of reviewers, but as a confession of fact. No one can appreciate more fully than I do how much of the work here outlined remains to be done. The records of The Treasury Department at Washington, now used for the first time in connection with a study of the formation of the Constitution, furnish a field for many years’ research, to say nothing of the other records, printed and unprinted, which throw light upon the economic conditions of the United States between 1783 – 1787.

Source: NY: Macmillian, 1921

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Karl Brandt, “The Orientation of Agricultural Economics”

When I chose this subject I had no ambition to shoulder the burden of a critical survey of argicultural economics today-45 years after the founding of our Association. Others have found that such an undertaking requires an extensive committee, large funds, and years of work. Nor was I prompted by misgivings about our profession’s performance in the pursuit of truth or the services it renders. Repeatedly, in recent years, I have seen the work done by American and Canadian agricultural economists from observation points in other parts of the world. I am the more profoundly impressed by what has been achieved within one generation, how much is going on, and how much better public service may confidently be expected in coming years.

Source: Journal of Farm Economics  37.5 (Dec 1955): 415-437

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 Arthur Feiler, “The Evolution of the Consumer”

In the beginning, on the sixth day of His work, God created man-as a consumer. And God blessed him, and said: “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding the seed; to you it shall be for meat … And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food.” Those were the paradisean days, before the serpent beguiled the woman and Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. From that time on, God’s curse has been on the world: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.” Out of the knowledge of good and evil grew-the producer. And the ground ever since has brought forth “thorns also and thistles.”

Source: The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 196 (1938): 1-8  

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Duncan Foley, “Rationality and Ideology in Economics”

Category : Economics

Robert Heilbroner has had a long-standing interest in the issues of rationality and ideology in shaping economic theory (see, particularly, Heilbroner, 1988, chaps. 1 and 8, and Heilbroner, 1999, chap. 11). Heilbroner argues that the conception of rationality underlying economic theory is specific to the emergence of capitalism as a mode of production and that economics as a science cannot avoid confronting issues (especially the distribution of material wealth and power) that are inherently political and ideological. This essay explores these issues in the spirit of Heilbroner’s concerns.

Source: Social Research 71.2 (2004): 329

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Robert Heilbroner, “The Savage Society of Thorsten Veblen,”

Category : Economics, Philosophy

One hundred and twenty-five years had now passed since The Wealth of Nations appeared in 1776, and in that span of time it seemed as if the great economists had left no aspect of the world unexamined: its magnificence or its squalor, its naivete or its sometimes sinister overtones, its grandiose achievements in technology or its often mean shortcomings in human values.

Source: The Worldly Philosophers (NY: Simon and Schuster, 1998)

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Bryn Hovde, “Private Enterprise in Education,” 

Category : Economics, Education

The private institutions of higher education in the United States and the business men who have traditionally supported them are more than a little concerned over the tendency of the State to assume progressively greater responsibilityi n the area which they have themselves until recently dominated. They are particularly alarmed at the recommendations of the President’s Commission on Higher Education that federal and state funds be made available to provide for a great increase of the number of students by 1960. They are worried, too, that if our private institutions accept public funds the State will impose controls upon them which will jeopardize the proud and hard-won and necessary freedom of inquiry that private institutions are alleged to enjoy to a greater degree than public ones.

Source: American Journal of Economics and Sociology  8.4 (Jul 1949): 336

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Adolph Lowe, “The New Institute of World Affairs,”

To contribute to a diagnosis of the present state of world affairs will be the primary task of the new Institute of World Affairs, 66 Fifth Avenue, New York.

Our work is to center in collective research of fundamental trends with special regard to social controls on the international level, and to the dominant forces, material and spiritual, as they foster or impede the establishment of permanent world order. Here the sociologist joins hand with the economist and both are to integrate their findings with those of the political scientist and the moral philosopher.

Source: American Journal of Economics and Sociology 3.2 (Jan 1944): 234

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Adolph Lowe, “The Trend in World Economies”

Public discussion of the economic future of the world is in full swing. After a period of gestation devoted to sweeping  generalities and utopian blueprints for a world economy in the literal sense, we have now entered the realistic phase of planning for the immediate post-war period. Projects for currency stabilization, for relief and rehabilitation, for the development of backward areas, for reform of the commercial regimes follow one another in rapid succession. And it is no longer the exclusive privilege of private observers free from political responsibility to vent their opinions. The governments themselves of the leading United Nations have not only issued concrete plans of their own but are already negotiating about their application.

Source: The Journal of Economics and Sociology 3. 3 (Apr. 1944): 419-433

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Jakob Marschak, “Peace Economics”

As long as friends of democracy, throughout the world, are not all killed or confined to Hitler’s concentration camps, there is one thing they cannot afford. They cannot afford to believe in his ultimate and lasting victory. There is no reason whatever to accept as scientific truth Hitler’s claim of having determined, or being about to determine, mankind’s destiny for the next thousand years. But if we begin to believe it, it may become true. Because it is our resistance that prevents it from becoming true.

Source: Social Research 7.1/4 (1940): 280-298

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Hans Speier, “Class Structure and ‘Total War’ ”

Wars are the products of the civilization in which they are waged. Their specific character is dependent upon the specific organization of society in times of peace. Since it is always a society that is at war with another society, any aspect of war is fully intelligible only when it is seen in relation to the given organization of those societies, their technologies and their institutions, their material resources and their morals.

Source: American Sociological Review, Vol. 4, No. 3 (Jun., 1939), pp. 370-380

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Thorsten Veblen, “Conspicuous Consumption,”

Category : Economics

In what has been said of the evolution of the vicarious leisure class and its differentiation from the general body of the working classes, reference has been made to a further division of labour, – that between different servant classes. One portion of the servant class, chiefly those persons whose occupation is vicarious leisure, come to undertake a new, subsidiary range of duties – the vicarious consumption of goods.

Source: The Theory of the Leisure Class (NY: B.W. Huebsch, 1912)

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