Technological progress and economic analysis from Petty to Smith

Goodacre, H. 2010. Technological progress and economic analysis from Petty to Smith. European Journal of the History of Economic Thought. 17 (5), pp. 1149-1168.

TitleTechnological progress and economic analysis from Petty to Smith
AuthorsGoodacre, H.
Abstract

Both William Petty (1623 to 1687) and Adam Smith (1723 to 1790) were concerned with the question of how to increase productivity. In this connection, they both addressed the issues of technological invention and the organisation of the production process, but in very different ways. Petty represents both these aspects of the productivity question as instances of another, conceptually dominant, consideration – the benefits of spatial compactness. Smith, in contrast, subordinates both technical and spatial considerations to the division of labour, thus narrowing the focus onto his central message that productivity can ultimately only proceed in step with the extension of the market.

JournalEuropean Journal of the History of Economic Thought
Journal citation17 (5), pp. 1149-1168
ISSN1469-5936
Year2010
PublisherRoutledge
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1080/09672567.2010.522240
Publication dates
Published2010

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