A review essay on E. K. Hunt, History of Economic Thought: A Critical Perspective, updated second edition. Armonk, NY and London: M. E. Sharpe, 2002. xxii+543 pp. ISBN 0-7656-0606-2 (hard cover); 0-7656-0607-0 (paper). As Kay Hunt writes in the preface, “This book…is very different from any other history of thought now in print” (p. xvii). It is written from an explicitly Marxian viewpoint and is consistently – and vehemently – anti-utilitarian. Hunt begins with a definition of capitalism (pp. 3–8) and ends with “comments on the social perspective underlying the present book” (pp. 514–520), in which he denounces utilitarian psychology and ethics as a conservative ideology for capitalism. No social theory, he argues, can possibly be value-free. His own ethical position is derived from Veblen, Marx and Maslow. There exists a hierarchy of human needs, and they are rarely satisfied under capitalism, which encourages us to treat other people as means, not ends, and thereby promotes alienation and social fragmentation. “I believe,” Hunt concludes, “with Veblen and Marx, that capitalism is not the highest stage of human development and that if human beings ever assert their collective humanity against the irrationality of capitalism, they will open a vista of passionate possibilities hardly dreamed of during the reign of capitalism” (p. 520).
King, J.E. (2005), " CRITICAL HISTORY OF ECONOMIC THOUGHTHunt’s", Samuels, W.J., Biddle, J.E. and Emmett, R.B. (Ed.) A Research Annual (Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology, Vol. 23 Part 1), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 167-171. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0743-4154(05)23006-7Download as .RIS
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