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Econ 319 Midterm 2 Review.docx

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University of British Columbia
ECON 319
Margaret Schabas

John Stuart MillPolitical economy threats humans solely as a being who desires to posses wealth one who is capable of judging the comparative efficacy of means of obtaining that end Political economy takes notice of actions in which the acquisition of wealth is the main end Political Economy is the science which traces the laws of such of the phenomena of society as arise from the combined operations of mankind for the production of wealth in so far as those phenomena are not modified by the pursuit of any other objectLaw of composition of causes The law that the joint effect of several causes is identical with the sum of their separate effects A posteriori method requires as the basis of its conclusions specific experience Inapplicable for political economy It can be used for verifying truth but not discover it Used by practitioners A posteriori method is part of the application of the science but not of the science Crucial experiments are a posteriori experiments A priori method reasoning from an assumed hypothesis much like mathematics Used by theorists The method a priori is the legitimate method for political economy We must reason from assumptions and not from facts Assumptions of political economy are true only in the abstract Philosophial findings guide the practical man and the practical man warn the philosopher about the deficiencies of this theory Induction has an important function to fulfill when it comes to the verification of the general propositions that have been developed with the help of hypothetical assumptions Tendency laws There is not a law and an exception to that law there are two lawsPolitical economists rarely think that a real human has no object but the desire of wealth They are justified because no two individual cases are absolutely the same and so no general maxim can be laid out unless some parts of human conduct is left out Abstract Truth Conclusions arrived from assumptions Disturbing causes Circumstances that may exist which have not fallen under the cognizance of the science The effect of disturbing causes can be added to or subtracted from the effect of the general causes The disturbing causes are sometimes driven by laws which do not fall within the province of political economy and belongs to some other science the mere political economist he who has studied no science but political economy if he attempts to apply his science to practice will failFor Mill political economy is an inexact and separate science a priori and deductive concerned with truths in the abstract Mill was a radical empirist Every knowledge comes from sensible experience Art of political economy Has to do with the practice of economics The science has to do with the theoryPolitical economy is a component of liberal utilitarian philosophy that attempts to apply the entire scientific knowledge to promote general happiness Actions are right as long as they promote happiness and wrong as long as they reverse itLaws of production concern nature Laws of distribution concern the laws and customs of society Ideas and institutions of private property and the highly inegalitarian distribution of wealth are a matter of social choice
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