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Colm, 1937. Social Research 4(2):191-202

Economics Today
Gerhard Colm

Social Research: An International Quarterly

Arien Mack, Editor

Volume 4, No. 2 (Summer 1937): 191-202

EXCERPT: The economist is not merely an observer, detached from the stream of economic events. The great economic systems, such as mercantilism, liberalism, Marxism, or even that most recent development of economics -- interventionism -- are all systems of economic theory, yet they are not the abstract creation of scholars floating on air above the struggle waged in the field of actual social life. These systems developed out of historical situations and in turn had an influence on historical development. It is a situation similar to one that is familiar in the physical sciences: the object of study is modified by the fact that it is under observation and by the type of observation. -It may be objected that this is confusing economic theory and economic policy. Certainly mercantilism, liberalism, and Marxism are systems of economic and social policy, but each involves a certain special theoretical approach to reality. I am concerned with them here only in so far as they represent thes
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