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THE NEW SCIENCE OF ECONOMICS: An Introduction by George Soule Kirkus Star



Pub Date: May 11th, 1964
Publisher: Viking

Mr. Soule's subtitle is too modest. His book is more than an introduction; it is a definitive statement and an eloquent plea. Economics as an academic subject is, of course, old. What is new, according to Mr. Soule, is the application of principles of modern science to observation of the economy, and to a reasoning process which begins with the systematic charting of observed data, reaches an intellectual fruition with the inferring of conclusions therefrom, and becomes pragmatically relevant with the application to the economy of rationally derived remedies. Thus, it is the discipline of political economy that is new, arguing as it does for rational planning and direction--the antithesis of classical laissez faire metaphysics. The unceremonious burial of Adam Smith's mythical economic model of perfect competition as the infallible arbiter of prices through a naturalistic response to supply and demand, and its replacement by an economic heresy with Lord Keynes as its prophet, have been described and debated ad nauscum. But Mr. Soule brings to the debate a freshness of style, a clarity of thought and a freedom from cant and jargon which together comprise a persuasive new weapon for economists who believe that rational men can be creators--rather than mere creatures--of their economy. He explains how we have developed institutions and techniques which allow us at last to approach economic problems empirically and inductively, rather than, as in the past, through deductions from sanctified premises about an equilibrium-oriented, perfect, competition which exists only in fantasy. Along the way, Mr. Soule explains deficit spending, economic growth, fiscal policy, elasticity of the money supply, and other mystifying subjects with crystal clarity. The book may become a modern classic.