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Economists, Entrepreneurs and the Pursuit of Economics

An Analysis of the Views of the Entrepreneur among the Economists of the Classical Period and their Differences


Urmila Goel and Urmila Goel

The entrepreneur - good or evil? Necessary for a prospering economy or the unscrupulous exploiter of workers and the environment? There is probably no other economic agent as disputed in political discussion as the entrepreneur. In mainstream economics, nonetheless, one can hardly find any treatment of this figure. The allusion to Smith's invisible hand is thought sufficient to acquit the employer and decision-maker of any harm done. But is this support from the past properly chosen, was Smith actually that little critical of the entrepreneurs and what view of this economic agent had other eminent thinkers in the first century of economic science (1776-1870)? This work provides a comprehensive analysis of the treatment of the entrepreneur by the early economists. It is uncovered that the diversity of ideas developed in that period is not only a valuable source for modern theories of entrepreneurship, but also raises questions about the objectivity and the progress of economic science.
Contents: The Framework: Discussion of the Topic, Research on Entrepreneurship, The Classical Period - The Analysis: Defoe, Mandeville, Cantillon, Adam Smith, Say, Ricardo, Malthus, John Stuart Mill, Mangoldt, Ruskin, Marx - The Discussion: A Comparison, Reasons for Diversity, Some Implications.