Money and Growth: Collected Essays of Allyn Abbott Young by Perry Mehrling

By Perry Mehrling

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Extra info for Money and Growth: Collected Essays of Allyn Abbott Young (Routledge Studies in the History of Economics, 29)

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The second article of that creed is that the one way to come to a knowledge of these hidden uniformities is by means of those patient and methodical inquiries which we call research. The social sciences, however have to be distinguished from the physical sciences, not only because the phenomena with which they deal are more complex, because their data are less exact, and because the experimental method which the more rigorous physical sciences employ is generally not available to them, but also because they encounter problems of orientation which are peculiar to them and from which the physical sciences are free.

Inaugural lecture delivered at the London School of Economics and Political Science on October 11th, 1927. Two thoughts contend for the uppermost place in the mind of an economist who turns aside from whatever special problems have been engaging his energies and steps away a little so as to get a general view of the present state of economic science. In the first place there is an oppressive sense of the utter inadequacy of his own knowledge, and even of the knowledge which he could anywhere lay hold of.

It is far from my purpose to belittle the importance of historical and genetic inquiries for the social sciences. I am merely trying to correct what seem to me to be prevalent misconceptions respecting the part they play in increasing our knowledge. ” There can be no doubt, however, that the sort of knowledge that we get from those historical inquiries which assume the institutional view of the structure of society, is not the sort of knowledge that we get from those inquiries into abstract general relations which assume a mechanistic or contractual view of the structure of society.

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