By Adam Kuper
A serious and old account of British social anthropology from the mid-nineteenth century to the current day, excellent for the coed.
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Additional resources for Anthropology and anthropologists: the modern British school
Both approaches sought to move beyond the limits of classical economics by refusing to separate economic research from its institutional context, and by situating economic analysis in an historical context. The influence of the German intellectual tradition can be seen in these similarities. For German idealism, and for Hegel in particular, history was a continuous act in progress, which, as it went through different phases, led to a progressive realization of human reason – considered as a super-individual entity.
In these cases, wide scale redistribution went together with the introduction of differentiated political structures, of a “center” that established the rights and duties of people with regard to the economy. Over time, the level of economic activity increased, and money began to be used. Economic behavior began to be constrained not only by shared social duties, but also by specific formal rules that were given force by political power, although this was usually legitimized in religious terms.
In contrast, in Smith’s analysis of economic development, institutions were not a given but a variable. The wealth of nations was linked to the amount of capital invested in economic activities. As this increased, so did the market for the goods produced and exchanged, which enhanced the division of labor. According to Smith, this was important because this division favored the growth in productivity, that is, the amount of goods that could be produced by each single worker with a greater level of specialization.