The Worldly Philosophers By Robert Louis Heilbroner Study Help Essay Questions

1. Explain the common interest that bound the worldly philosophers under a single heading.

2. Contrast the family and educational backgrounds of Thorstein Veblen, David Ricardo, Joseph Schumpeter, and John Maynard Keynes.

3. Explain how economists such as Paul Samuelson and John Kenneth Galbraith can evolve economic theories that oppose each other diametrically.

4. Forecast how the market system is affected by significant change, such as the dearth of labor during wartime, the increase of women workers, the passage of child labor laws, competitive price wars between nations, the displacement of human workers by robots, the creation of new fuels, potential ecological disaster, depletion of natural resources, the exploration of outer space, and the failure of a major crop, such as cotton or soybeans.

5. Explain why "laissez faire" was a significant concept in Adam Smith's time.

6. Describe current attempts to solve the twofold problems of overpopulation and world hunger.

7. Explain why utopian philosophers fail to achieve their goals.

8. Discuss why division and specialization of labor are beneficial to society.

9. Show how recent events in world affairs indicate major flaws in Karl Marx's predictions about the downfall of capitalism.

10. Explain why World War II helped to end the Great Depression.

11. Discuss how John Stuart Mill's economic laws differed from those of his predecessors.

12. Analyze how modern consumers resemble their prehistoric ancestors.

13. Explain Keynes' philosophy of "priming the pump."

14. Explain the differences and similarities between socialism and communism.

15. Discuss the role of the entrepreneur.

16. Explain how President Franklin D. Roosevelt dealt with the problems of the Great Depression.

17. Debate the pros and cons of Pierre Proudhon's belief that "property is theft."

18. Explain why David Ricardo described the landlord as a villain.

19. Characterize Thorstein Veblen's comments on technology.

20. Explain why economics differs from the other social sciences and why it can never be reduced to simplistic formulas.

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