The Dawn of Economic Thought in the West and in Russia

Diogenes 34 (135):105-130 (1986)
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The development of the science of economics is closely linked to the structure of capitalism. Even though ancient and medieval thinkers had already stated a certain number of ideas in this domain, the science of economics, in the modern sense of the word, did not truly begin until the 17th Century and the early 18th Century. At that time the methodology for research in the natural sciences was developed, and the first scientific academies and societies were founded (England, France, Prussia, Russia). The initial step in the development of the science of economics occurred in conjunction with this process. Moreover, the ideas of the first economists were, as a general rule, centered on the practical problems and needs of the State. And in that period the prevalent state structure in Europe was the absolute monarchy. Consequently, the first economists were, for the most part, counsellors to the sovereign, authors of studies and reports containing a variety of proposals regarding economic policy. With regard to a great many distinguished economists of the 17th and 18th Centuries, we can speak of them being “men of proposals”.



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