By Spencer J. Pack

"Aristotle, Adam Smith and Karl Marx" by Spencer Pack
Part of the books by Spencer J. Pack series:
Editions:Hardcover: £ 76.50
ISBN: 978 1 84844 763 9
Pages: 288

In Aristotle, Adam Smith and Karl Marx Spencer Pack compares and contrasts the theoretical systems of these three thinkers on six fundamental issues:

  • exchange value and money
  • capital and character
  • government and change

This book also provides insights on issues concerning the continuing development of world money, saving, managerial capitalism, corrupt governments, and various secular and religious movements for social change.

About Spencer Pack

Spencer PackSpencer Pack is professor of economics at Conneticut College. He is an expert in contemporary economic issues and the history of economic thought, is interested in analyzing the world economic system: both how it is, and how it can be improved. He feels that the best way to understand the present and to prepare for the future is to understand the past.

Reviews:Christopher May on Political Studies Review wrote:

"Overall this book does exactly what the title indicates: Pack conducts a three-way conversation between Aristotle, Smith and Marx before taking the key themes of this conversation and applying them to the political economy of the new millennium. [...] This book would make an excellent foundation for a focused history of political economic thought Masters course; working through in detail the three analysts’ primary work (establishing close reading skills) followed by an application of the ideas informed by the final section. However, as it is only available in hardback it is likely to be prohibitively expensive for most postgraduate cohorts. Nevertheless I can thoroughly recommend this book for its interest to political economists and as an example of how history of economic thought can be made clearly and easily relevant to contemporary political economists."

Robert E. Prasch on Review of Political Economy wrote:

"I enjoyed reading this book for several reasons. Among them was the author’s style of writing. Aside from a few equations in the last section, the prose is disarmingly simple, which suggests that the author wished to write a book that could be read at two levels. On one level, the text is a somewhat informal non-technical introduction to three formative philosopher-economists. On another it is a fairly complex, nuanced and informed exposition of several themes in the history of economic thought that closes with a meditation on the relationship between the ideas of the three featured thinkers and debates still current today. [...] what most distinguishes this book from other studies in the history of economic thought is its highlighting of how each featured author conceived of the interrelationship between economic activities and the formation of character. [...] By giving prominence to such concerns, Pack is implicitly critical of the self-imposed boundaries of contemporary economics and its framing of policy discussions."

Tony Aspromourgos on he European Journal of the History of Economic Thought wrote:

"One may hope to receive a considered judgement from the author as to what elements of these three thinkers’ ideas might be particularly relevant or valid for us today, and, where their thought stands in contradiction vis-a-vis each other, whose ideas are to be preferred. But there is surprisingly little of that. In this respect, the book has something of the smell of having at least partly arisen out of a teaching course. [...] It has somewhat the kind of detachment one would employ teaching, to give students the space to form their own views and conclusions. [...] It should be said that much of Pack’s interpretation of Aristotle, Smith and Marx seems entirely unobjectionable to me and the contrasts between the three are often interesting, though commonalities between them are evoked somewhat too easily and quickly. [...] One unusual aspect of the book, relative to other history-of-thought accounts of these three thinkers, as well as most of the political economy literature, is a degree of focus upon ‘managers’ as a distinct class of agents, evidently partly due to the influence of John Kenneth Galbraith."

Table of Contents

Read chapter abstracts on ElgarOnline

Part I: Aristotle’s Seminal Position

  1. Aristotle on Exchange Value and Money
  2. Aristotle on the Relation between Capital (Chrematistics) and Character
  3. Aristotle on Change and Government

Part II: Adam Smith’s Debate With Aristotle Over Chrematistic/Economic Issues

  1. Adam Smith on Exchange Value and Money
  2. Adam Smith on Money and Capital
  3. Adam Smith on Character
  4. Adam Smith on Government and Change

Part III: Karl Marx’s Modern Return to Aristotle

  1. Karl Marx on Exchange Value and Money
  2. Karl Marx on Capital and Character
  3. Karl Marx on the State and Change

Part IV: Lessons for the 21st Century (download introduction to this part)

  1. Exchange Value and Money in the 21st Century
  2. Capital and Character in the 21st Century
  3. Government and Change in the 21st Century
  4. Concluding Thoughts for the 21st Century (and the Third Millennium)