Book Notes: "The Worldly Philosophers" by Robert L. Heilbroner

The Worldly PhilosophersThe Worldly Philosophers by Robert L. Heilbroner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What I particularly like about this book is how Heilbroner begins with the term “political economy”, then relegates it to “economics” (as happened in history), only to revive the term at the end where he tells us that Schumpeter is the last worldly philosopher as we have – more or less – learnt all we can through a scientific approach based significantly on grand assumptions about the behaviour of homo economicus, and it is time to reintroduce politics. That Heilbroner ends with Schumpeter is interesting. I am not sure if his eschewing of Hayek (who gets a few mentions in the book) is ideological. Nonetheless, it is an interesting approach to understanding the economy although a newer edition (the seventh was released in 1999) might be useful to mention the impact of the return to free trade and back again with the recent Global Financial Crisis. Regardless, this should be the first port of call for novice economists or political scientists alike. As a second reading, I found the suggested reading list at the end of the book to be most helpful to guide a revisit to the many classics which are now readily available for free on the Net. Indeed, it was well-worth revisiting Heilbroner and I may do so yet again.

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