This essay identifies A. C. Pigou’s welfare economics as an attempt to bring order to the political debate in the context of the emergence of a more inclusive democracy in the United Kingdom associated in particular with the success of the Labour Party in the 1906 general election. To establish this identification the essay discusses Pigou’s contacts, both direct and indirect, with contemporary political movements and argues that his academic work was intertwined with his participation in policy debates. First, as a prologue, his disagreement with the historical economists ran parallel with his involvement in the tariff controversy. Second, Pigou became embroiled in a quarrel with an MP who was a representative critic of liberal social legislation and cooperated with an antisocialist organization. Third, Pigou had indirect contact with a student socialist movement. I conclude that Pigou’s welfare economics should be situated as part of a widespread and simultaneous movement toward broader democracy.
Research Article|September 01 2014
Norikazu Takami; The Sanguine Science: The Historical Contexts of A. C. Pigou’s Welfare Economics. History of Political Economy 1 September 2014; 46 (3): 357–386. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182702-2796185
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