B. Pre-Classical Thought
1. Confucius (551BC-479BC): The teachings of Confucius are a guide to appropriate personal behavior and good government. They stress the virtues of self-discipline and generosity. He wrote and taught during an era of economic and social tension when the gulf between the rich and poor was enormous. His most notable works were the Analects, a series of writings taken down by his disciples.
2. Mencius (372BC-289BC): A leading exponent of Confucianism, Mencius lived during the period of the Warring States, a time when a handful of competing states were fighting against each other for the hegemony of China. Traveling from one state to another as a roving political advisor, Mencius spent 40 years trying to persuade the contending kings to be righteous rulers rather than to rely on military conquests.
3. Plato (427BC-347BC): A "follower" of Socrates', Plato’s life was probably dedicated to teaching and running his school, called the Academy. Here he taught young men of Athens the vision of reality that sees the changing world around us and the things within it as mere semblance’s of a separate ideal world of independently existing, eternal, and unchanging entities. By analyzing real things against the ideal he taught "truth".
4. Aristotle (384BC-322BC): Both a student and associate of Plato's Academy, Aristotle spent twenty years trying to comprehend and teach the fundamental nature of objective reality. He applied this method to the study of ethics, politics, human action, and the productive and theoretical sciences. He was outcast of Athens for the same "crime" (impiety) as Socrates and died in exile.
5. St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274): Born in Italy, he was educated at a Benedictine abbey and the University of Naples (liberal arts). He joined the Dominican Order of friars and traveled the country spreading the Gospel. In 1245, Aquinas became a lecturer and professor at Paris and in subsequent years he served under three popes. He was a champion of the, then thought, lost works of Aristotle.
6. Francois Quesnay (1694-1774): A French economist who is attributed to be the father of the Physiocratic School of economics. He was a formally trained surgeon, but also studied medicine, philosophy and mathematics. He wrote for the intellectual movement of the age known as the "Encyclopedia", but his chief work was, "The Economic Table".
7. Short essay on the life and works of Carl Menger.
Born in Austro-Hungary he is best known for being the founder of the school of marginal analysis. He was a full Professor at the University of Vienna and held a Doctorate of Law from the University of Cracow. In his works , he succeeded in explaining the fundamentals of economics in a clear and concise manner (bringing economics to the masses as it were). The work Principles of Economics is about 330 pages, and makes very easy reading because of its universal clarity. Unlike later Austrian economists, Menger did not argue that economic value was completely subjective. And further unlike prior economists, he did not hold that value was intrinsic either. Instead, he arrived at an objective concept of value, where value is the result of a human evaluation of reality based on a standard of value. Menger also gave us the concept of Marginal Utility that has made its way into today's Economic text-books and classrooms.
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