Past & Present - '...The right to own property - freedom of thought and to human dignity'
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Past & Present - '...The right to own property - freedom of thought and to human dignity'

Posted by ProjectC 
"The juridical doctrine of the School of Salamanca represented the end of medieval concepts of law, with a revindication of liberty not habitual in Europe of that time. The natural rights of man came to be, in one form or another, the center of attention, including rights as a corporeal being (right to life, economic rights such as the right to own property) and spiritual rights (the right to freedom of thought and to human dignity)."
- School of Salamanca

"In ... Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth (1920), Mises irrefutably demonstrated that socialism was doomed to fail. This argument was developed further in his most remarkable book Socialism (1922). Mises showed the impossibility of economic calculation in the socialist commonwealth."
- Thorsten Polleit, Ending the Monetary Fiasco — Returning to Sound Money, April 17, 2009

"...if the standard romantic or Panglossian view does not work even in the hard sciences, a fortiori it must be totally off the mark in such a 'soft science' as economics, in a discipline where there can be no laboratory testing, and where numerous even softer disciplines such as politics, religion, and ethics necessarily impinge on one's economic outlook.

There can therefore be no presumption whatever in economics that later thought is better than earlier, or even that all well-known economists have contributed their sturdy mite to the developing discipline. For it becomes very likely that, rather than everyone contributing to an ever-progressing edifice, economics can and has proceeded in contentious, even zig-zag fashion, with later systemic fallacy sometimes elbowing aside earlier but sounder paradigms, thereby redirecting economic thought down a total erroneous or even tragic path. The overall path of economics may be up, or it may be down, over any give time period.

In recent years, economics, under the dominant influence of formalism, positivism and econometrics, and preening itself on being a hard science, has displayed little interest in its own past. It has been intent, as in any 'real' science, on the latest textbook or journal article rather than on exploring its own history. After all, do contemporary physicists spend much time poring over eighteenth century optics?

In the last decade or two, however, the reigning Walrasian-Keynesian neoclassical formalist paradigm has been called ever more into question, and a veritable Kuhnian 'crisis situation' has developed in various areas of economics, including worry over its methodology. Amidst this situation, the study of the history of thought has made a significant comeback, one which we hope and expect will expand in coming years. For if knowledge buried in paradigms lost can disappear and be forgotten over time, then studying older economists and schools of thought need not be done merely for antiquarian purposes or to examine how intellectual life proceeded in the past. Earlier economists can be studied for their important contributions to forgotten and therefore new knowledge today. Valuable truths can be learned about the content of economics, not only from the latest journals, but from the texts of long-deceased economic thinkers."
- Murray N. Rothbard, Economic Thought Before Adam Smith (pdf), page ix & x (Source)