chapter  30
19 Pages

Jacob Viner and the history of economic thought

Jacob Viner has been described as the ‘greatest authority of the age on the history of economic and social thought’, with ‘no equal over the range of the history of the discipline he had at his command or of his exact knowledge of bibliographic detail and in the general sweep of perspective and appraisal he brought to bear on his subject’ (Robbins 1970: 6-7). Mark Blaug (1985: 256) more simply described him as the greatest historian of economic thought who ever lived. Sraffa drew on Viner’s expertise on several occasions while editing the works of Ricardo, and Viner’s name is recalled in countless other prefaces for the guidance and assistance he provided to scholarship over the more than fifty years he was active in academic life at Chicago and Princeton.