Marshall arrived at Cambridge at a time of some crisis in the discipline. The Times, on 30 May 1885, was doing no more than stating the obvious when it commented as follows on his Inaugural Lecture, ‘The Present Position of Economics’: ‘Political Economy is on its trial. It is not merely its relation to other branches of science which is under dispute. Its worth, its substance, its vitality are all denied.’1 Less than a decade had passed since Francis Galton (founder of eugenics and for five years General Secretary of the British Association) had, in 1877, laid before the Council of the BA a paper proposing the abolition of Section F on the grounds that the discipline was simply not capable of prosecuting its inquiries in a scientific spirit: ‘The general verdict of scientific men would be that few of the subjects treated fall within the meaning of the word “scientific”.’2 The status of economics was hardly improved by John Kells Ingram’s impassioned reply, in his Presidential Address to the Dublin Meeting of the following year, that economics was in fact the science that ‘has the most momentous influence of all on human welfare’,3 but admittedly not the narrow and abstract economics of Senior and Ricardo such as had caused sceptical public opinion quite rightly to regard the study of wealth and exchange with ‘uneasy distrust’4 and had brought upon the Section the justified contempt of Galton and other pure scientists whom the proper methodology of Comtean sociology would easily have been able to satisfy: ‘If the proper study of mankind is man, the work of the Association, after the extrusion of our Section, would be like the play with the part of the protagonist left out.
Weitere Kapitel dieses Buchs durch Wischen aufrufen
- Economics and Principles
- Palgrave Macmillan UK
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