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The Beginnings of Political Economy

by Jürgen Georg Backhaus

This volume contains eleven essays on Johann Heinrich Gottlob von Justi's concepts of the modern economy. These essays reflect both Justi's life and professional work, focusing on his ideas on economics and social sciences. Interesting are the aspects of his biography that gave rise to the development of his economic thought. Apart from Justi's personal background, this book contains the beginning of modern economics because Justi's philosophy was linked to government, labour, morality, health and finally the good society. Justi, throughout his life, had a dual career of being on the one hand a prolific writer and educator, on the other hand an administrator in the core state business of mining, then an important revenue source, and he typically combined the two. He gave two inaugural lectures in 1750 in front of Queen and Empress Maria Theresia. The lecture on cameral sciences is truly the beginning of modern economics: Justi was of the opinion that the happiness of the state would be increased if the number of happy and healthy persons would increase. For this reason, health was a major focus of his attention long before the advent of health economics. The main benefit the reader will derive from the book is an understanding of how economics developed as a separate science. Furthermore, they will see how Justi laid the foundation for policy sciences, the specialty of many schools of governement today.

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