How the Dismal Science Got Its Name : Classical Economics and the Ur-Text of Racial Politics
David M. LevyISBN: 0472112198;
It is widely asserted that the Victorian sages attacked classical economics from a humanistic or egalitarian perspective, calling it "the dismal science," and that their attack is relevant to modern discussions of market society. David M. Levy here demonstrates that these assertions are simply false: political economy became "dismal" because Carlyle, Ruskin, and Dickens were horrified at the idea that systems of slavery were being replaced by systems in which individuals were allowed to choose theirown paths in life. At a minimum, they argued, "we" white people ought to be directing the lives of "them," people of color. Economists of the time argued, on the other hand, that people of color were to be protected by the rule of law--hence the moniker "the dismal science." A startling image from 1893, which is reproduced in full color on this book's jacket, shows Ruskin killing someone who appears to be nonwhite. A close look reveals that the victim is...