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Books, periodicals, and manuscript to be addressed, EDITORS of QUARTERLY
JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS, Cambridge, Mass.'
Business letters to be addressed, HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2 Univer
I. The Necessity of Prohibition or Regulation
II. The Possibility of Preventing Combination
II. DAVENPORT'S ECONOMICS AND THE PRESENT PROB-
III. FIRE INSURANCE RATES AND STATE REGULATION
IV. RENT UNDER THE ASSUMPTION OF EXHAUSTIBILITY
VI. THE LITERATURE OF SCIENTIFIC MANAGEMENT
Bernhard's Unerwünschte Folgen der deutschen Sozialpolitik and
The German Potash Law of 1910.
Public Ownership of Telegraphs and Telephones
III. Ultimate Results of Permitting and Regulating Combinations
IV. The Alleged Advantages of Combination
AGRICULTURAL CREDIT IN THE UNITED STATES
Alvin S. Johnson
L. C. Gray
A. N. Holcombe
HUMAN BEHAVIOR AND ECONOMICS: A
Introduction: psychology and economics, 1. I. Parmelee, Science of Human Behavior, 3. — II. Thorndike, The Original Nature of Man, 6. III. Wallas, The Great Society, 12. - IV. Veblen, The Instinct of Workmanship, 19.-V. Sombart, Der Bourgeois, 29. VI. Lippmann, A Preface to Politics, 37.-VII. Walling, Progressivism and After, 41. - VIII. Conclusion, 46.
A SLIGHT but significant change seems to be taking place in the attitude of economic theorists toward psychology. Most of the older writers made no overt reference to psychology, but tacitly imputed to the men whose behavior they were analyzing certain traits consistent with common sense and convenient as a basis for theorizing. By recent writers, on the contrary, non-intercourse with psychology, long practised in silence, is explicitly proclaimed to be the proper policy.
This definite pronouncement has arisen from a somewhat tardy recognition that hedonism is unsound psychology, and that the economics of both Ricardo and Jevons originally rested on hedonistic preconceptions. Since hedonism is unsound, either we must admit that both the classical and the marginal analysis
is invalid, or we must argue that the hedonistic preconceptions can be given up without compromising the validity of the analysis. The latter horn of the dilemma is chosen. Then we must choose again between providing a sounder psychological basis for our analysis, and holding that its psychological basis does not concern the economist. Again, the latter course is generally preferred. Thus, economic theory is said to rest upon the simple facts of preference or choice, and the psychological explanation of these preferences or choices is said to be a matter of indifference to our science. I have come across passages of this tenor in the recent writings of Professors Wicksteed, Chapman, Pareto, Schumpeter, Čuhel, and Davenport.1 Probably a search made for the purpose would discover other cases.
Now, if economic theory really has no concern with psychology, perhaps a survey of recent literature upon human nature is out of place in this Journal. But that is not a necessary conclusion. For when economic theory has been purified so far that human nature has no place in it, economists become interested perforce in much that lies outside their theoretical field. Further, it is possible that the effort to keep the study of human nature out of economic theory may break down. The admitted deficiencies of hedonism may stimulate future economists, not to disavow all psychological analysis, but to look for sound psychological analysis. It may
1 P. H. Wicksteed, The Common Sense of Political Economy (1910), pp. 33, 36, 169, 435; S. J. Chapman, Political Economy (Home University Library), 1912, pp. 34, 35; also Outlines of Political Economy, 1911, pp. 24-26; J. Schumpeter, Wesen und Hauptinhalt der theoretischen Nationalökonomie, 1908, pp. 64, 72, 542-544: Čuhel, Lehre von den Bedürfnissen, 1907, pp. 56-61; H. J. Davenport, Economics of Enterprise, 1913, pp. 99-101. Pareto's position is substantially similar, since he bases his theory of equilibrium on curves of indifference, and treats these curves as factual data. See his Manuel d'Économie politique, 1909, p. 169 n. Böhm-Bawerk thinks that Cubel and Schumpeter draw too sharp a line between economics and psychology; but he tries to clear his own skirts of hedonism. See his Positive Theorie des Kapitales, Zweiter Halbband, 3d ed., 1912, pp. 310-330.
even be that economists will find themselves not only borrowing from but also contributing to psychology. For if that science is ever to give a competent account of human behavior it seems necessary that economists should do a part of the work. Human nature is in large measure a social product, and among the social activities that shape it the most fundamental is the particular set of activities with which economists deal.
Those economists who are loath to abandon psychological inquiry may well feel encouraged by the vigor with which the study of human nature is now being prosecuted. Physiologists, neurologists, psychologists, ethnologists, sociologists, political scientists, economic historians, even a few economic theorists, are not only working at the problem from their several viewpoints, but also endeavoring to pool their contributions. Whether the results of such work can be incorporated into economic theory with good effect, and whether economists have contributions of their own to make to the study of human nature, are questions of great import. Nothing which we are doing ourselves along traditional lines concerns us more than these manysided investigations of human behavior.
Professor Parmelee1 plans "a series of works dealing "with the evolution of human culture and of human nature." His present volume provides the basis for this series by assembling the results of recent investigations bearing upon the evolution of behavior. Starting with the physico-chemical peculiarities of organic matter, he reviews the leading theories con
1 The Science of Human Behavior, Biological and Physiological Foundations. By Maurice Parmelee, New York, The Macmillan Company, 1913, 8°, pp. xvii +443.
cerning the origin of species, the behavior of the lower animals, the evolution and functions of the nervous system, the rise of instincts and intelligence, and finally, the beginnings of social evolution among insects, vertebrates, and men.
Now the road from physical-chemistry to sociology is long and many are the scientific fields that must be traversed in passing from one to the other. No single man is a competent guide across all the subdivisions of biology, physiology, and psychology. Yet we may be glad that Mr. Parmelee has the courage of a sociologist rather than the caution of a scholar. For to most students of the social sciences the hypotheses that human behavior has evolved from the simple reactions of unicellular organisms, and that the latter behavior is reducible to mechanistic terms, to most students of the social sciences these hypotheses are as vague as they are seductive. An attempt to bring together the evidence bearing upon them serves at least to make them more definite, to show where they fit in among the other fragments of our knowledge, and to suggest possible bearings upon our proper problems. Besides this general interest, Mr. Parmelee's book has many diverting details: for example, the sections of scissors and paste which summarize the fascinating researches of Loeb into tropisms, which indicate why Jennings, in opposition to Loeb, imputes attention and choice even to the protozoa, which outline Sherrington's conception of the nervous system, W. M. Wheeler's studies of ant communities, and Espinas's speculations about the tendency of the family to obstruct the formation of large social groups.
For social psychology the most important part of Mr. Parmelee's book is his treatment of the relations between the four types of behavior tropisms, reflexes,