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History of Political Economy 32.2 (2000) 401-402

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Book Review

The Literature of Political Economy:
Collected Essays II

The Literature of Political Economy: Collected Essays II. By Samuel Hollander. London and New York: Routledge, 1995. xv; 410 pp.

The second volume of Hollander's selected essays ranges more widely than its predecessor, Ricardo: The New View (1995), which was reviewed by Martin Bronfenbrenner in this journal (29.1:161-63) and which contained twenty replies to various critics of his views on classical economics in general and Ricardo in particular. Further examples of Hollander's replies to his critics can be found here too, although they compose a much smaller share of the total.

There are six parts. "Biographical Perspectives" includes an autobiographical essay, a well-argued case for the teaching of the history of economic thought, and a memorial tribute to William Jaffé. Part 2 contains three early papers: "The Representative Firm and Imperfect Competition"; "On The Interpretation of the Just Price"; and "The Classical Economists' View of the Role of the State in Vocational Training: And A Reply to E. G. West." Two articles on Adam Smith ("The Historical Dimension of the Wealth of Nations" and "Adam Smith and the Self-Interest Axiom") constitute the third part. Part 4, "Nineteenth-Century Literature," includes the following essays: "The Post-Ricardian Dissension"; "On Mirowski's 'Physics and the Marginalist Revolution'"; "A. Arnon's Thomas Tooke: Pioneer of Monetary Theory"; and an essay on the corn-law pamphlet literature of 1815.

There are eight pieces on Malthus in part 5, including two reviews of recent editions of Malthus's Works, one on facsimile reprints of the Essay on Population, and four items on the Physiocratic elements in Malthus's work and his treatment of agricultural protection. The final part comprises fifteen short reviews, two-thirds of which examine books dealing with classical economics (broadly interpreted), while the remaining reviews treat much earlier or much later topics. The items in this section are urbane, appreciative, scholarly, and a pleasure to read.

No doubt many, and perhaps most, readers of this journal will already be familiar with Hollander's distinctive style of dedicated, intensive, and at times relentlessly controversial scholarship. Even so, they can hardly fail to gain new insights [End Page 401] from the fascinating, revealing, and enjoyable autobiographical essay that opens part 1. Unfortunately, however, in a new, hitherto unpublished addendum Hollander ends on a bitter note, charging some of his critics with "intellectual fascism," albeit acknowledging that "my inveterate habit of responding to critics" may not have been "to good purpose" (25).

A. W. Bob Coats
University of Nottingham



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