Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Economics as the Queen of all Sciences by Henry Dunning Macleod 1896



Economics is the Queen of all Sciences By Henry Dunning Macleod 1896

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Economics as a Liberal Science.

Some idiot nick-named Economics the "dismal science." It would be impossible to conceive a more complete misnomer. Economics is the Queen of all sciences, it is in itself a complete liberal education.

To comprehend Economics it is indispensable to have:

1. An adequate knowledge of Latin and Greek, so as to read the classical writers in the original: because they abound in notices of Economical questions, and they contain most of the fundamental concepts of Economics.

2. But a mere knowledge of classical Latin and Greek is not sufficient, it is necessary to have a knowledge of Juridical Latin and Greek, because in the Pandects of Justinian and the Basilica, which are the sources of our Mercantile Law, there is a class of words which, in classical Latin and Greek, mean material commodities, but in Juridical Latin and Greek, and in modern Mercantile Law, mean only abstract Rights and Duties.

3. A general knowledge of the Law of Property, because Economics deals with property of every description.

4. But modern Commerce is carried on almost exclusively by Credit, consequently it is necessary to have a thorough knowledge of the Juridical principles of Credit, the most abstruse and profound branch of Mercantile Law.

5. A thorough knowledge of the principles and mechanism of Commerce, both agricultural and mercantile.

6. A thorough knowledge of the principles of Natural Philosophy and modern Algebra, and the capacity of seeing how they are to be applied to the phenomena of Economics.

7. A knowledge of the history of all nations, because it supplies the materials for Economics.

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There are numberless Mercantile Lawyers who are perfectly well versed in special points of Mercantile Law, but very few have any knowledge of the actual mechanism of Commerce.

There are multitudes of Bankers who have a perfect knowledge of practical business, but who were never trained in the abstruse principles of Mercantile Law on which their business is based.

Some Mathematicians have attempted to apply mathematics to Economics; but as they never had the slightest knowledge of Mercantile Law nor of practical business, their attempts are mere midsummer madness.

And those who have undertaken to write general treatises on Economics never had the slightest knowledge of Mercantile Law, nor of practical business, nor had the faintest knowledge of the fundamental principles of Natural Philosophy, nor how to apply them to the phenomena of Economics.

Every science is greater than any of its cultivators. Astronomy is greater than Hipparchus, than Ptolemy, than Copernicus, than Kepler, greater even than Newton himself. So Economics is greater than Turgot, than Quesnay, than Smith, than Ricardo, than Say, than Mill.

To every one who has done good service let us pay rational respect, but not abject idolatry. He who studies Philosophy must be a freeman in mind. No one, however eminent, is now permitted to be a despot in science, and chain up the human intellect, or arrest the progress of thought.

Economics is the noblest and grandest creation of the human intellect. It is the crown and the glory of the Baconian Philosophy. No one can thoroughly realise the awful sublimity of the genius of Bacon until he studies Economics, because it is the literal realisation of his matchless discovery that the same principles of Mathematical and Physical Science which govern the phenomena of nature equally govern the practical business of life.

Time's noblest offspring is its last.

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