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Aristotle, Adam Smith and Karl Marx

On Some Fundamental Issues in 21st Century Political Economy Spencer J. Pack, Professor of Economics, Connecticut College, US
Spencer Pack compares and contrasts Aristotle’s, Smith’s and Marx’s theoretical systems on six fundamental issues: exchange value, money, capital, character, government, and change. This book also provides insights on issues concerning the continuing development of world money, saving, managerial capitalism, corrupt governments, and various secular and religious movements for social change.
Extent: 288 pp
Hardback Price: $136.00 Web: $122.40
Publication Date: 2010
ISBN: 978 1 84844 763 9
Availability: In Stock
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Economic History
  • Political Economy
  • Politics and Public Policy
  • Political Economy
Spencer Pack compares and contrasts Aristotle’s, Smith’s and Marx’s theoretical systems on six fundamental issues: exchange value, money, capital, character, government, and change. This book also provides insights on issues concerning the continuing development of world money, saving, managerial capitalism, corrupt governments, and various secular and religious movements for social change.
‘. . . a very valuable introduction to Aristotle’s economics.’
– History of Economic Ideas

‘I can thoroughly recommend this book for its interest to political econo-mists and as an example of how history of economic thought can be made clearly and easily relevant to contemporary political economists.’
– Christopher May, Political Studies

‘Spencer Pack is completely at home with the difficult works of Aristotle, Adam Smith and Karl Marx. To walk with him through their writings is to discover that they are surprisingly helpful in understanding the modern world of computers, credit crunches, religious differences, international conflicts, and unemployment due to oversaving in China and undersaving in America. One is left after reading them with growing admiration for the giants of past intellectual history. This is only one lesson that Pack teaches in this illuminating book.’
– The late Mark Blaug, formerly of the University of London and University of Buckingham, UK

‘This is an unusually ambitious and unpretentious work. And it is successful. Pack effectively compares the ideas of each of the three great men without forcing those of one upon the others. The topics are exchange value, money, capital, character, government, and change, which the author considers to be the fundamental issues in 21st century political economy. Pack is especially successful in utilizing a wide spectrum of secondary (including contemporary) sources to enrich the analysis of the expected primary sources. Student readers will be exposed to the opportunities and problems of variation in interpretation. The author has studiously avoided insinuating and privileging his own views and naively repeating well-worn and misleading, if not also erroneous, ideology-laden positions.’
– Warren J. Samuels, Michigan State University, US

‘Spencer Pack has written a most illuminating and insightful book. Beginning from Aristotelian foundations, Pack focuses our attention on an essential economic and moral issue: the difference between value in use and value in exchange. From this vantage point, he evaluates the arguments of Smith and Marx, demonstrating how their theories, both drawing on Aristotle, unfold into a general analysis of capitalism. His account forces us to think deeply about the nature of capitalist society. I recommend it highly.’
– John F. Henry, University of Missouri-Kansas City, US
Contents: Introduction Part I: Aristotle’s Seminal Position 1. Aristotle on Exchange Value and Money 2. Aristotle on the Relation between Capital (Chrematistics) and Character 3. Aristotle on Change and Government Part II: Adam Smith’s Debate With Aristotle Over Chrematistic/Economic Issues 4. Adam Smith on Exchange Value and Money 5. Adam Smith on Money and Capital 6. Adam Smith on Character 7. Adam Smith on Government and Change Part III: Karl Marx’s Modern Return to Aristotle 8. Karl Marx on Exchange Value and Money 9. Karl Marx on Capital and Character 10. Karl Marx on the State and Change Part IV: Lessons for the 21st Century 11. Exchange Value and Money in the 21st Century 12. Capital and Character in the 21st Century 13. Government and Change in the 21st Century 14. Concluding Thoughts for the 21st Century (and the Third Millennium) Bibliography Index