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The Limits of Economics

The Limits of Economics by Oskar Morgenstern

Tags Calculation and KnowledgeEntrepreneurship

03/29/1937Oskar Morgenstern

From the author:

The prevailing lack of understanding as to the significance of economics for practical economic life, and its usefulness for purposes of economic policy, makes it apparent that there are many unsettled problems connected with theoretical analysis and its application to concrete circumstances. The study which follows is intended for the general reader as well as the specialist, and it seemed therefore appropriate to refrain from any detailed discussion of the underlying theoretical apparatus since this would have introduced unnecessary complications into the exposition of the main theme. The really essential references are given in an appendix.

The book will have served its purpose if it succeeds in making clear that theoretical economics is neutral as between all the possible circumstances to which it may be applied. Economics can never, and should never, be made dependent on any particular ideology or attitude towards economic policy. Those who are concerned for the future of research in the sphere of economic science are becoming increasingly aware of the need for the clear recognition of this point. A further point which is emphasized in the subsequent pages is that although scientific formulations relating to economic policy are admittedly subject to limitations, there is little chance of achieving any sort of rationality in economic policy without the aid of economics: the obstacles that scientific analysis is unable to overcome can be dealt with no more effectively by any other conceivable means.


Oskar Morgenstern

Oskar Morgenstern (1902–1977) was a German economist who — along with John von Neumann — founded the mathematical field of game theory and its application to economics.


William Hodge and Company, London, 1937

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