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The Beginnings of Scholarly Economic Journalism

by Jürgen Backhaus

The twin journals, Der Österreichische Volkswirt (The Austrian Economist) and Der Deutsche Volkswirt (The German Economist) were created by Gustav Stolper, godfather of Joseph Schumpeter, first in Vienna and then after the First World War, in Berlin. Schumpeter was to become a frequent contributor of the Berlin-based journal, which combined a successful blend of economic analysis and political and business insider knowledge which Stolper gained with his famous and sought after parties at his Wannsee villa. The two publications offer a kaleidoscope of many different ideas and concepts, some of which are addressed in this book, including philosophy, demography, monetary aspects, foreign developments, employment policy, and politics. The personal and professional contributions of Gustav Stolper and his secretary, Lilo Linke, are also discussed. Very little has been published on these early ventures into economic journalism, and this book will appeal to anyone studying economic journalism or the economic history of early twentieth century Europe.

Handbook of the History of Economic Thought

by Jürgen Backhaus

This reader in the history of economic thought challenges the assumption that today's prevailing economic theories are always the most appropriate ones. As Leland Yeager has pointed out, unlike the scientists of the natural sciences, economists provide their ideas largely to politicians and political appointees who have rather different incentives that might prevent them from choosing the best economic theory. In this book, the life and work of each of the founders of economics is examined by the best available expert on that founding figure. These contributors present rather novel and certainly not mainstream interpretations of the founders of modern economics. The primary theme concerns the development of economic thought as this emerged in the various continental traditions including the Islamic tradition. These continental traditions differed substantially, both substantively and methodologically, from the Anglo-Saxon orientation that has been dominant in the last century for example in the study of public finance or the very construct of the state itself. This books maps the various channels of continental economics, particularly from the late-18th through the early-20th centuries, explaining and demonstrating the underlying unity amid the surface diversity. In particular, the book emphasizes the writings of John Stuart Mill, his predecessor David Ricardo and his follower Jeremy Bentham; the theory of Marginalism by von Thünen, Cournot, and Gossen; the legacy of Karl Marx; the innovations in developmental economics by Friedrich List; the economic and monetary contributions and "struggle of escape" by John Maynard Keynes; the formidable theory in public finance and economics by Joseph Schumpeter; a reinterpretation of Alfred Marshall; Léon Walras, Heinrich von Stackelberg, Knut Wicksell, Werner Sombart, and Friedrich August von Hayek are each dealt with in their own right.

The Liberation of the Serfs

by Jürgen Backhaus

In Europe, the liberation of the serfs was a project initiated in 1806 with a scheduled completion date of 1810. It was obvious to those who planned the project that the liberation of the serfs involved a complete overhaul of agriculture as it was then known as Europe moved from feudalism to capitalism. For this reason, Prussia was careful in implementing the reform, and did not rush, after seeing the Kingdom of Westphalia perishing under its crushing debt accumulated in part from Napoleon's failed Russian campaign. The basic hypothesis of this book is that slave labor can never be efficient and will therefore disappear by itself. However, this process of disappearance can take many years. For instance, two generations after the importation of slaves to North America had ended, the states still fought over the issue, and this despite the fact that Ely Whitney had invented the Cotton Gin in 1793 and already then made slavery in cotton production literally superfluous. While there have been several books on the economics of American slavery, few studies have examined this issue in an international context. The contributions in this book address the economics of unfree labor in places like Prussia, Westphalia, Austria, Argentina and the British Empire. The issue of slavery is still a hotly debated and widely studied issue, making this book of interest to academics in history, economics and African Studies alike.

Physiocracy, Antiphysiocracy and Pfeiffer

by Jürgen Backhaus

Physiocracy, or the economic theory that a nation's wealth comes from is agricultural and land development, was a popular school of thought in France in the 18th century. The contribution and significance of the Physiocrats and Antiphysiocrats are explored in detail through chapter contributions by economists, philosophers, and social historians. The book concludes that neither the Physiocrats, nor the Antiphysiocrats were pure profit maximizers and that they all had the well-being of the commonwealth in mind. It brings to light previous studies only conducted in German and is the first analysis of Pfeiffer in a century, making the book of interest to any student or scholar of political economy and the history of economic thought. The contribution and significance of the Physiocrats and Antiphysiocrats are explored in detail through chapter contributions by economists, philosophers, and social historians. It brings to light previous studies only conducted in German and is the first analysis of Pfeiffer in a century, making the book of interest to any student or scholar of political economy and the history of economic thought.

The State as Utopia

by Jürgen Backhaus

This book examines utopias in classical political economy and is based on the papers presented by leading scholars at the 22nd Heilbronn Symposium in the Economics and the Social Sciences. The book focuses on the tension between the State and utopia (the State as utopia vs. utopia instead of a state). The contributors also study the question of whether seafaring and landlocked states visualize the commonwealth differently and develop different utopias, and it is concluded they do not. The volume therefore follows the refutation of the Schumpeterian Hypothesis that more concentrated industries stimulate innovation. Though the hypothesis is refuted it still remains important, the chapters argue, because it charts out an entire research program, serves as a benchmark of definite public and private sector boundaries, and defines the grammar of discourse for constitutional economic policy in OECD states. These themes are explored in detail through contributions by economists, philosophers, and social historians. The contributors examine utopias hitherto never or rarely reviewed in the English language, making this book of interest to students and scholars in economics, political science and the history of economic thought.

Two Centuries of Local Autonomy

by Jürgen Backhaus

One of the last Prussian Reforms during the Napoleonic Era was the constitution of local autonomy for the cities. Proof of its lasting importance is that it was the cities that carried out the deficit-based employment policies of the early 1930s also had to carry the burden of a democratic reconstitution of Germany in the postwar period. After the crushing defeat at Napoleon's hands, likewise the reconstitution of Prussia fell to the cities. Today, the same constellation of problems can be found on different stages. Europe, as it is growing together, faces a democracy deficit which ultimately will have to be addressed by the cities. The countries in transition and undergoing transformation likewise will have to find arenas for democratic decision making, which likely will be at the municipal level. Finally, the United States of America also faces a quagmire at the federal level which ultimately will have to be resolved at the state or local level. Contributions to this book examine all of these issues, making it of interest to students in urban studies, public administration, history and political science as well as policy-makers concerned with local government and autonomy.

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