The study of the way in which man makes a living — a short definition of economics — or of how he makes use of limited resources to satisfy unlimited wants -- another definition — has been traced in this work from Aristotle through the Middle Ages and mercantilism to the nineteenth century, when the classicists and their numerous critics, under the influence of industrialization and the intellectual trends of the day, created a large body of economic thought. In Chapter XIV we saw how, at the end of the century, Alfred Marshall (1842-1924) attempted to reformulate classical theory to bring it up to date. He was aware of the criticism that what the classicists had produced was a science of wealth which was not at all a science of welfare. This, many of them had insisted, was their true purpose, to limit themselves to treating what is to the exclusion of what ought to be. [excerpt]
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Bloom, Robert L. et al. "1. Economics. Pt. XXI: Meaning in the Social Sciences." Ideas and Institutions of Western Man (Gettysburg College, 1958), 5-23.