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THE SCIENTIFIC FOUNDATIONS OF MODERN ECONOMICS

By the middle of the nineteenth century, the industrial revolution had done its work. Society, which.a hundred years before had seemed to develop into a peaceful community of independent peasants and artisans who, serving each other, served themselves, was now torn by violent class struggles. Instead of the hoped-for harmony, a terrible antagonism had sprung up: the antagonism between factory-owners and factory-hands, between the lucky heirs and the unlucky disinherited, between capital and labour which John Locke had fondly hoped to see for ever united. . This, surely, was not the best of all possible worlds, annun-

ciated by Gottfried Leibniz, which the classical economists had believed to be in the making! Their doctrine was disproved by· the hard facts of reality: a new philosophy of economics was needed. Yet the real and the ideal were no longer near to each other, and there seemed to be only one alternative: either to take up the sordid. task of capitalist apologetics, or to embrace the dangerous cause of socialist revolution. Faced with this decision, the majority of modern econoinists resolved to shirk the issue. It became fashionable to insist that political economy was not concerned with the happiness of human kind: that it is not a social philosophy, but a physical science.