In Economics in Perspective, renowned economist John Kenneth Galbraith presents a compelling and accessible history of economic ideas, from Aristotle through the twentieth century. Examining theories of the past that have a continuing modern resonance, he shows that economics is not a timeless, objective science, but is continually evolving as it is shaped by specific times and places. From Adam Smith's theories during the Industrial Revolution to those of John Maynard Keynes after the Great Depression, Galbraith demonstrates that if economic ideas are to remain relevant, they must continually adapt to the world they inhabit. A lively examination of economic thought in historical context, Economics in Perspective shows how the field has evolved across the centuries.
In his 27th book, Harvard economist Galbraith (The Affluent Society, The Anatomy of Power) chronicles the thought and literature of economics from Aristotle's interest-free lending ethic up to and beyond the 1936 deficit-financing manifesto of John Maynard Keynes. Galbraith compares the latter, in "revolutionary'' importance to Karl Marx (Das Capital, 1867) and Adam Smith (The Wealth of Nations, 1776). In the author's ``parade of personalities,'' some are seen as sonorous, others tragi-comic, as slavery and cottage industries recede before mercantile power in Venice and Amsterdam; colonization with its gold and silver to finance bigger European wars; and the still-baffling corporate and governmental complexities of the industrial revolution. No agreement on economic principles, if any, ever has existed, Galbraith shows, although ``the great truisms of economics . . . . are evident for all to see.''