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“Political Economy is a Mere Skeleton Unless…”: What Can Social Economists Learn From Charles Dickens?

Authors
Disciplines
  • Economics

Abstract

Charles Dickens was a reformer who sought to reform economic conditions. Convinced that the reforms proposed by the economists of his day would not benefit those victimized by the Industrial Revolution, he also sought to reform economics. Dickens' prime targets were McCulloch, Malthus, and Nassau Senior. Reviewing Dickens's efforts at social reform, Chesterton made the distinction between pessimistic reformers, who describe how bad people are under bad conditions, and optimistic reformers, who describes how good people are under bad conditions. The author draws similar parallels between mainstream economists and social economists.

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