By Louise Sommer
Comprises translations of formerly untranslated essays by means of Carl Menger, Friedrich von Wieser, Jacques Rueff, and Luigi Einaudi.
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Extra resources for Essays in European economic thought
With empirical laws, but also with an understanding of them in their intrinsic relations. Only in this way can the theoretical foundation be laid for the solution of all the problems of economic policy. The inability to abolish poverty is not the only respect in which the science of economic welfare has proved its practical insufficiency in consequence of the present defective theoretical understanding of the nature of economic phenomena and their essential interrelations. The helplessness of administrative authorities in the face of economic crises and the uncertain and fumbling attempts made by even the most distinguished statesmen in dealing with problems of monetary, commercial, industrial, and agricultural policy are only too evident symptoms of the unsatisfactory state of applied economics, which, in its turn, reflects the backwardness of economic theory.
10-11. " (C. Secretan, Etudes sociales, 1889, p. 205). We must distinguish in the domain of economics, just as we do in other fields of human activity, between the so-called practical sciences and practice itself. The former have the task of teaching us the procedures by which certain economic aims, determined only in a general way, can be most effectively realized in different circumstances. In actual A Systematic Classification of the Economic Sciences 35 practice, on the other hand, on the basis of the above-mentioned sciences and of one's own (theoretical) insight into the essential nature of things and their interrelations, one has to determine and to follow the procedure uniquely appropriate to the concrete case with which one has to deal.
See my Untersuchungen uber die Methode der Sozialiuissenschaften, pp. 246 ff. This error is especially obvious in Kleinwachter's characterization of the relationship between economic theory and the principles of applied economics as that of "different parts or chapters" of one and the same science. ) Brentano also makes a distinction between general or theoretical economics and specialized or applied economics. (Die klassische Nationalokonomie, pp. ) Logik (1883), II, 230. On the confusion of economic theory with the general branch and of applied economics with the specialized branch of political economy, see above pp.