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Samuel Bailey and classical economics

Rauner, Robert M. (1956) Samuel Bailey and classical economics. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The purpose of this study is to evaluate the place of Samuel Bailey in the development of the economic thought. Bailey's greatest gains were scored on the matter of economic value. His perception and exposure of value as an absolute notion in the writings of his early nineteenth century contemporaries was a notable advance. However, his own view of value as essentially relative involved, with varying degrees of success, (1) generalising the theory of value to the value of the factors of production, and (2) plumbing the depths of the measure of value controversy, which in more modern times became the index number problem. His contemporaries' failure to appreciate his message is striking from present vantage points. In monetary theory, Bailey generally furnished answers which were logically consistent with the value theory he had earlier laid down. Hence, the judgement can be reached that he thereby moved suggestively toward an integration of his value theory with a theory of the value of money. Once again, the relevance to modern attitudes is important. Bailey's work on banking derived from the proposed bank legislation which succeeded the Bank Act of 1826. In it he urged freedom in banking functions, particularly note issue. His somewhat restricted individualist approach did not permit him to rise to an analytic par with his other work, however. In treating scope and method, Bailey generally adhered to the noon-interventionist attitude, although, as a Utilitarian he was not above urging governmental action of benefits from it could be proved clear and indisputable. Having found the rationale of economic activity in mental phenomena, he rejected the physical, material conceptions held by most of his fellow economists. Thus, his system of thought possessed a wider and more general application, akin to that of the late nineteenth century marginal utility theorists.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 1956 Robert M. Rauner
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory

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