Wallwitz offers a new perspective on the history of economic thought and its effect on the ambitions, aspirations and psychology of modern man. The author examines man’s desire to secure his wellbeing as the basic stimulus for economic development.
In his new book Mr Smith and Paradise. The Invention of Wealth, Georg von Wallwitz offers a new perspective on the history of economic thought. More than just an elaborate introduction to economics, the book looks into the origins of – and the connections between – the key economic concepts of today, and how human aspiration to wealth has shaped their development.
What is wealth? Many will agree that our idea of it is intuitive. The word will bring different images of success, comfort, and prosperity to different people's minds. And if we speak of wealth in terms of social wellbeing, the scale of what we imagine becomes much bigger. Either way, any question concerning wealth will make us think of key economic parameters.
Taking the notion of wealth as his starting point, Von Wallwitz guides the reader on a journey from the very beginnings of economics. Starting with Voltaire’s Philosophical Letters and the life of the English colonizers of America, he looks into the debate between Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, fascinates the reader with a new interpretation of Adam Smith, offers a critique of Marx, sheds new light on the founder of utilitarianism John Stuart Mill, and finishes with an analysis of the economic theory of John Maynard Keynes. Providing background information on each of these personalities, Von Wallwitz reveals the human factor in their theories, and shows how the thought of each was influenced by the zeitgeist and the historical context.
In a light and witty manner, Von Wallwitz analyses the development of economic thought to point out its effects on the ambitions, aspirations, and psychology of his contemporaries. A fund manager and a stockbroker, he does not separate theory from real life, often digressing to comment on the present economic situation, Occupy Wall Street, the 2008 financial crisis in Iceland, or the Chinese economy, spelling out the causes and effects, but also inviting readers to conduct their own analysis.
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