THE ECONOMIC MIND IN AMERICAN CIVILIZATION by Joseph Dorfman

THE ECONOMIC MIND IN AMERICAN CIVILIZATION

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Scholarly circles will welcome this definitve monumental work on our national history as seen through the pattern of economic thought. Dorfman -- authority on Veblen, professor of economics at Columbia, -- in this work makes one feel the continuity of such problems as wages, labor organizations, protective tariff vs. free trade, foreign commerce as opposed to domestic, and so on, as he traces their origins, first in our colonial inheritance from the mother land, then in the struggle between federal government and states. America had inherited the reign of Order -- had accepted as inevitable the relation of inferior and superior, the pattern of the English upper class. It took almost a century -- and a Civil War -- before the economic foundations became no longer foreign commerce but domestic, and the scheme of the hierarchical order went into eclipse. Subsequent studies may demand another reassessment of values and roots; but this seems to weigh and balance the conflicts, the changes in public opinion, and to arrive at basic values. To me the most interesting aspect of the book -- and I think it will be true of most laymen -- is the new focus on personalities, -- Franklin as economist, Woolman, Quaker humanitarian, Jefferson, Jackson, the founding statesmen as economists, and the shifting pattern in the educational field, up to the point where higher education took cognizance of science and economics and shouldered responsibility to meld that pattern. The country had come full turn. The groundwork was laid for the modern state.

Pub Date: Jan. 4th, 1945
Publisher: Viking