2. Economics

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Book Chapter

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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]


This is a part of Section XXI: Meaning in the Social Sciences. The Contemporary Civilization page lists all additional sections of Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, as well as the Table of Contents for both volumes.

More About Contemporary Civilization:

From 1947 through 1969, all first-year Gettysburg College students took a two-semester course called Contemporary Civilization. The course was developed at President Henry W.A. Hanson’s request with the goal of “introducing the student to the backgrounds of contemporary social problems through the major concepts, ideals, hopes and motivations of western culture since the Middle Ages.”

Gettysburg College professors from the history, philosophy, and religion departments developed a textbook for the course. The first edition, published in 1955, was called An Introduction to Contemporary Civilization and Its Problems. A second edition, retitled Ideas and Institutions of Western Man, was published in 1958 and 1960. It is this second edition that we include here. The copy we digitized is from the Gary T. Hawbaker ’66 Collection and the marginalia are his.