Teaching, spreading and preaching: textbooks of political economy in Spain 1779–1936
The writing, translation, publication and spread of textbooks on political economy in Spain, as in other countries, represents a crucial aspect of the generation and socialisation of economic knowledge through different and interrelated processes in the diffusion of economic ideas: the institutionalisation of political economy in education, the spread across journals and books, and the economic, social and political debates in both the formal and informal spheres. This chapter integrates previous contributions to the subject, promoted by Professors Massimo Augello and Marco Guidi, with the results of a specific research on the textbooks, including texts translated into Spanish. The first section deals with the overall relationship between the process of institutionalisation and the published texts on political economy, their format, their readership and their use in Spain. The second section examines the transition from the early manuals of civil economy to the consolidation of classical political economy (the ‘Say era’) in the 1830s. The third section considers the adoption and abandonment of ‘eclecticism’, and the hegemony of the postulates of the individualistic and free-trade ‘economist school’ between 1840 and 1874. The fourth section traces the development of diverse focuses and revisions on the classical individualistic tradition between 1875 and 1910. The fifth section examines the consolidation of the realistic historical approach, and the late beginnings of marginalist economics in teaching.