Information Bulletin of the Union of National Economic Associations in Japan No. 17 (1997) pp. 16-23.
(Yoshio NAGAI; Scanned and corrected by Michio AKAMA in 1998)
The Society for the History of Econoomic Thought (SHET), founded in 1950 with an original membership of 123, is now approaching towards the half century anniversary with a membership of 864 at the end of 1996. As the membership has grown, SHET has, from time to time, adapted itself to the growing size in various ways.
It is, however, quite recent that in and out of SHET not a small number of changes have taken place. All the members who graduated from the universities under the pre-war educational regime are giving up their power and influence over the administration of the Society to a much younger generation, almost all of whom were borne after 1940, and with whom a new wave is coming into the Society. It is, of course, natural that the collapse of the East European regimes has had some effects on the Society.
More broadly speaking, different kinds of changes in social situation, in circumstances concerning historical research and in the intellectual concerns of historians have jointly exercised their powers over the Society in different ways such as administrative policies, organizational structures, and deepening, widening and internationalization of research.
(2)Administrative and organizational reforms of SHET
As to the administration, demand for an annual English bulletin has originated among some members as research work has been internationalized and members' abilities in English writing have improved. This led to the reconsideration of the current bulletin (the Annual Bulletin of the Society for the History of Economic Thought ) and its editing system, and in May 1991 the Committee for Examination of the Bulletin, composed of five members (chair: Takumi TSUDA, then Hitotsubashi University), was set up and produced a recommendation to the General Assembly (through the executive committee) that an Editorial Boad of the Bulletin of five members should be established so as to maintain the consistency and continuity of editorial policy. This recommendation was immediately put into practice from bulletin No. 30, 1992, abolishing the former practice of putting the editorial burden on main universities on a rotating system.
Together with this reform of editorship of the Bulletin, as reported in this Information Bulletin No. 13, the Society issued the first number of its biannual Newsletter in 1992, replacing the former News.
The newly born Newsletter absorbed announcements and attendants' papers of relevant international conferences, which were formerly contained in the Bulletin. This virtually was the first stage of the administrative reforms. In June 1993, two committees came into being: one for inquiry into the English Bulletin (chair: Takashi NEGISHI, then University of Tokyo) with five members, the other for reconsideration of the national conference composed also of five members (chair: Hiroji NAKAMURA, Kumamoto Gakuen University). Each committee drew up their respective recomendation for the General Assembly of SHET in the same year.
The former committee rightly found it quite unexpected for the Society's English Bulletin to have some circulation in the Western countries because it was the Society's organ, and hence, in its stead, recommendes us to edit and commercially publish, in three or five years, a volume of the English essays written by selected members on particular subjects. This recommendation was positively received, though accompanied by an increase in subscription for membership of 1,000 yen.-, and the Editorial Board for English Publications of five members (chair: Takashi NEGISHI, Aoyama Gakuin University, succeeded by Toshihiro TANAKA, Kwansei Gakuin University, and then Yuichi SHIONOYA, Institute for Social Securities) was authorised to start by the General Assembly in November 1993. The General Assembly in 1996 recognized it for the volume of English essays entitled Economic Thought and Modernization in Japan, edited by Shiro SUGIHARA and Toshihiro TANAKA and written by eleven members including two editors to be published by Edgar Elgar (London) in September 1998. It is needless to say that this attempt is an example of an internationalization of our studies in a regional country in Asia.
After various discussions and investigations lasting more than a year, the Committee for the Reconsideration of the National Conference, the other of the twin committees, made up the following recommendations, which were affirmatively accepted by the General Assembly in 1994. A symposium, which used to be held in the second day afternoon of the national conference, should hereafter be held once in two years, while instead, in between, some fora should be organized for that afternoon, and that a sub-committee should be set up for both symposium and fora to be smoothly performed. In addition to this, they recommended that two other sub-committees should established: one to arrange the conference programme consisting of probably more than twenty proposed papers, and another to edit, publish and distribute all the papers in full or fairly detailed resumes, including symposium papers.
What led to these administrative reforms was relevant to the sub-divisions of research subjects, the result of which was to deepen inquiries into detailed subjects, at the cost of weakening the concerns of each scholar for broad subjects suitable for being taken up in a symposium.
The remedies, however, of the distribution of papers before the conference and of reducing the time for paper reading by 10 minutes (maximum half an hour) and extending, on the other hand, discussion time by the same length (maximum 25 minutes) were quite adequate for making the discussion in greater depth possible.
The Committee for Reconsideration of the National Conference was replaced by the Committee for Organising the National Conference, thanks to which, after a year, Proceedings of 120 pages (160 pages in 1996) were published, which made it possible to delete the national conference report from the Bulletin. And in the same year, 1995, the first three fora commenced, the first one on "The light and shade of civilezed society -- the ideal task of the Scottish enlightenment" consisting of three papers, the second forum on "The British 'economic decline' -- Marshall and Keynes" with three papers, and the third one of three papers on "Ethnic problems and economic -- centering on the period before and after the Russian Revolution". Incidentally, the titles of symposia in the two previous years were "The history of economic thought in Japan" in 1993 and "Quesnay?" in commenmoration of the tricentennial anniversary of his birth in 1994. In 1996 the symposium on "The world of the Historical School" was held, as usual, in the afternoon of the second day of the national conference.
The decision was also made, in the General Assembly of 1993, to exchange the English titles of national conference papers with counterpart societies in five countries: Britain, America, Australia, Germany and France. This is another example of the internationalization of our research.
Furthermore, in the autumn of 1994, major organizational reforms were proposed conderning various electoral systems, and resulted in June 1995 in the setting up the Committee for Revision of the Society's Rules and Regulations, composed of seven members (chair: Takumi TSUDA, Toyama International University), whose recommendations were, generally speaking, six in all: first, establishment of the Board of Election Management; second, limitation of the period of serving as an executive up to three successive terms; third, election of the President by executives; fourth, exclusion of executives over 68 years of age; fifth, limitation of the number of standing executives to five, each being; with the exception of the President, chairpersons of the four Standing commitees -- the Editorial Board of the Bulletin, the Committee for Organizing the National Conference, the Editorial Board for English Monograph, and the Board for Projects and Communications; and sixth, no more awards of honorary membership after 2000. Thus democratization of SHET can be said to have fairly been carried into effect, which means a sign of the lost influence of the older generation.
(3)Recent trend of the historical research of economic thought
SHET, as a member society affiliated with the Kenkyu Renraku Iinkai (Research Communication Committee) of the Nihon Gakujutsu Kaigi (Japanese Congress for Arts and Sciences), has held, since 1993, four successive open lecture meetings together with other member societies. The first lecture was given, in March 1993, under the unified theme on "Socialism and Market Economy -- in quest for a desirable economic system," by three scholars including Mistuharu ITO (The University of the Air) of the Society, whose own title was "Reconsideration in the history of economic doctrines". Masatatsu TAKAHASHI (Kyoto University) gave a lecture entitled "Theoretical framework for treating women" at the second lecture meeting in March 1994, whosse common theme was "Economics and Women -- around the solution by market mechanism". In April 1996, Mitsuharu ITO again presided over the third public lecture meeting on "The Twentieth Century and Keynes", whose closing address was delivered by our colleague the late Professor Ryusho TAMAI. "The Twenty-first Century and Capitalism" was the common subject of the fourth public lecture meeting in April 1997.
In the 1995 national conference, another important new trend could clealy be seen, in that Michio AKAMA (Ehime University) appealed in his paper for the rest of the members to form a computer network, SHET, the initials of the Society, which was repeated by Kiichiro YAGI (Kyoto University) in the older News of the Society.
Also in June 1995, the proposals for commenmorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Society in 2000 were passed and (1) Hiroji NAKAMURA (Kumamoto Gakuen University) took charge of editing and publishing a booklet on the half a century history of SHET, (2) Hiroshi TAKEMOTO (Osaka College of Economics) of holding a commenmorative lecture meeting, (3) Yuichi SHIONOYA (Institute of Social Securities) of editing and publishing the English Monograph, (4) Kiichiro YAGI (Kyoto University) of compiling a data-base of studies and achievements on the history of economic thought, and (5) Shoken MAWATARI (Tohoku University) of editing and publishing The Encyclopedia of the History of Economic Thought through Maruzen Publishing Co. in 2000. Comparing these extensive projects with previous memoriable years' events will easily show how much SHET's capacities have increased in these years, and in what direction the various circumstances in and out of SHET are moving.
New trends in studies of the history of economic thought can also be seen in the Special Issues of our recent Bulletins. The title of No. 33, Oct. 1995, was "Smith, Ricardo and Marshall: illuminations from the environs" written by Daisuke ARIE (Yokohama National University), Masaharu HATTORI (Rikkyo University) and Tamotsu NISHIZAWA (Hitotsubashi University); No. 34, November 1996, contained four articles on Evolutionary Thought and Theory of Institutions by Akinori ISOGAI (Kyushu University) and Hiroshi ISOKAWA (Kinki University), Tetsuo TAKA (Kyushu University) and Yukihiro IKEDA (Keio University). What can be seen in these titles is the trend of widening of research; that is, not only main subjects in our studies but also a number of minor figures around them and not only the orthodox school but also other schools outside of the Classical and Marxian Schools have become the popular objects of research, not for abandoning the main and orthodox subjects, but rather for throwing more light on them from the environs and abroad.
The following short lists are the product of recent years, expressive of the new trends.
Studies on the Scottish Enlightenment, however, are still thriving. Main products on the subject are: Yasuo AMOH, Ferguson and the Scottish Enlightenment, Keiso Shobo 1993; do., Adam Ferguson, Collection of Essays, Kyoto 1996; Tatsuya SAKAMOTO, The Civilised Society in Hume: Industry, Knowledge and Freedom, Sobun sha 1995; Gentaro SEKI, Economic Thought for Forming a Market Society: A Study on the Ideas of Economic Reform in Eighteenth Century Scotland, Minerva Shobo 1994; Shoji TANAKA, Adam Smith's Natural Theology: A Foundation for Establishing the Social Sciences of Enlightenment, Ochanomizu Shobo 1993 (this should be read together with his Adam Smith's Natural Jurisprudence, Ochanomizu Shobo 1988); do., Thories of Civil Society and Modern Times: The Present Tasks of Ideas and Re-interpretation of Modern Thoughts, Ochanomizu Shobo 1994; Satoshi NIIMURA, The Making of Political Economy: Adam Smith and Modern Natural Jurisprudence, Ochanomizu Shobo 1994; Akio HOSHINO, Systems of Market Society: Hume and Smith, Shin Hyoron 1994; Hiroshi TAKEMOTO, The Initiation of the Political Economy Systems: Studies of James Steuart, Nagoya Daigaku Shuppan Kai 1995 (TAKEMOTO and others discharged the difficult task of translationg James Steuart's Principles of Political Economy in 1993), Kyoji TAZOE, Some Groups in the European History of Economic Thought, Hakuto Shobo 1995 (includes W. Petty and Karl Marx); Chikakazu TADAKOSHI, "History of Astronomy" and the Moral Philosophy of Adam Smith, Taga Shuppan 1995; Hideo TANAKA, Civilized Society and the Public Mind: A Ground for the Scottish Enlightenment, Showado 1996; Ikuo OMORI, Steuart and Smith, Minerva Shobo 1996; Takeo NAKATANI, State and Finance in Adam Smith's Political Economy, Nakanishiya Shuppan 1996.
Other topics of the history of economic thought in England:
Toshihiro NAKAYA, Studies on Cambridge Economics: Malthus, Keynes and Sraffa, Dobunkan 1997; Saburo SHINOMIYA, J. S. Mill: Development of Ideas, Ochanomizu Shobo 1997; Hiroji NAKAMURA, Studies on Ricardian Economics, Kyushu Daigaku Shuppankai 1996; Naobumi HIJIKATA, The Growth of Co-operative Ideas: Studies on Robert Owen in the Former Half of His Career, Chuo Daigaku Shuppanbu 1993; Etsuko YASUKAWA, Irish Questions and Socialism: Studies on the Socialist Revival in Britain and Contemporary Social Thought, Ochanomizu Shobo 1993; Izumi HISHIYAMA, Contemporary Assessments of Sraffian Economics, Kyoto Daigaku Gakujutsu Shuppankai 1993; Takuyoshi INOUE and Masashi SAKAGUCHI (eds.), Marshall and the Contemporary Economics, Minerva Shobo 1993; Ryoichi EBIHARA, Ricardian Socialism: Some Arguments on Early English Socialism, Sekai Shoin 1994; Tadao OHNO, Liberty, Justice and Market: Essays on the History of Economic Thought, Sobunsha 1994; Jiro KUMAGAI, History of the Free Trade Movement in the British Cotton Industry: Manchester Chamber of Commerce, 1820-1932, Minerva Shobo 1995; Tamotsu NISHIZAWA, Unorthodoxy Economists: Nineteenth-century Birmingham Schools Ideas of Economic Policy, Iwanami Shoten 1993; Tsutomu HASHIMOTO, Some Arguments on Freedom -- Popper, Mises and Hayek, Sobunsha 1994; Toshio OGATA Undercurrent of Modern Economics -- Marshall, Keynes and Kaletzki, Chudai Seikyo Shuppankyoku 1995; Yuichi SHIONOYA, Schumpeterian Ideas, Toyokeizai Shinposha 1995; Takuya HATORI, Theoretical Range of Ricardo, Sekai Shoin 1995; Hideo TAMURA, Thomas More, Kenkyusha Shuppan 1996; Masao HAMABAYASHI, Locke, Kenkyusha Shuppan 1996; Sonoko YAMADA, Religious Ideas in the English Revolution, Ochanomizu Shobo 1994.
German history of economic thought, including Marxism and Marxian economics:
Shin-ichi AIDA, Kautzky Studies: Races and Decentralization of Powers, Showado 1993; Kunihiro UEMURA, Assimilation and Emancipation: Nineteenth-Century "Jewish Questions" Controversy, Heibonsha 1993; Toshihiko HOZUMI, Political and Economical Ideas of German Socialism, Horitsu Bunkasha 1993; Shin-ichi TAMURA, Studies on Gustav Schmoller, Ochanomizu Shobo 1993; Isamu KAMIJO, History of Social Thought of Ethnicity and Ethnic Questions: re-assessment of Otto Bauer's theory of Ethnicity, Azusa Shuppansha 1994; Ichiro TAMURA, State and People in Modern Germany: the Young Edgar Bauer Studies, 1842-1949, Shin Hyoron 1994; Masaaki KUROTAKI, Rudolf Hilferding's Thoretical Legacy: From Finazkapital to Posthumous Manuskripts, Kindai Bungeisha 1995; Shiro SUGIHARA and others (eds.), Engels and Modern Times, Ochanomizu Shobo 1995; Akihiro MATOBA, Marx in Paris: Marx and Paris in 1840's, Ochanomizu Shobo 1995; do., Germans in France: Immigrants, Refugees and Tramps with Regard to the Socialist Movements around the 1848 Revolution, Ochanomizu Shobo 1995.
Jun-ichiro KUROSU, The History of Italian Social Thought: Ideas and Behavior of the Democratic Section of the Risorgimento, Ochanomizu Shobo 1997; Seizo HOTTA, Beccaria and the Italian Enlightenment, Nagoya Daigaku Shuppankai 1996.
With regards to France:
Toshimi MORIMURA, Honours and Pleasures: Helvˇtius's Utilitarianism, Hosei Daigaku Shuppankyoku 1993; Katsujiro FUJITA, Proudhon and Modern Times, Sekai Shoin 1993; Shigeyuki SATO, Ideology and Mythology: Parato's Theories of Social Sciences, Bokutakusha 1993; Takashi UENO, Studies on Michel Chevalier, Bokutakusha 1995.
Toshihiro TANAKA, Studies on the American History of Economic Thought: focused on the Neo-classical School and the Institutional School, Koyo Shobo 1993; Kenji SASANO, Institutionalist Economist Mitchel, Nakanishiya Shuppan 1995; Tetsuo TAKA (eds.), Economic Society as the Institution, Kyushu Daigaku Shuppankai 1996.
Shiro SUGIHARA (ed.), Modern Japan and British Ideas, Nihon Keizai Hyoronsha 1995; Takashi FUJII, Yanagida Kunio's Theories of Government and Relief of the Poor: Economics, Ethics and Paedagogy, Nagoya Daigaku Shuppankai 1995; Norio YOSHIDA, Ideas of Das Kapital: Marx and Hiromatsu on Theory of Fetishism, Tokyo Shuppan 1995.
Other works of importance:
Fumitaka WAKAMORI, Political Economy of Capitalistic Development, Kansai Daigaku Shuppanbu 1993; Takao KATSURAGI, Philosophy on Market Economy, Sobunsha 1995; Atsushi SHIRAI, Universities and the Asian-Pacific Ocean War, Nihon Keizai Hyoronsha 1996; Nobuo SUZUKI and others (eds.), The World of Transition, Nihon Keizai Hyoronsha 1997; Kiyoshi TAKASE, The Range of Contemporary Social Science, Nihon Keizai Hyoronsha 1997; Yuichiro NAKAGAWA, Kenji TOMIZAWA and others (eds.), New Horizon of Workers' Co-operative Union, Nihon Keizai Hyoronsha 1996; Shigeatsu MATSUSHIMA, The History of Modern Economics, 1870-1970: Developments of Competitive Paradigm, Nagoya Daigaku Shuppankai 1996.
(4)Assessment and re-assessment
As to the Scottish political economy studies, I would like to make two points here: first, it is quite remarkable that James Steuart has entirely been re-assessed as the first builder of economic science in Britain, and second, natural theology and natural jurisprudence are now indispensable to Smith studies.
I do expect, however, that Scottish Studies should be united with the eighteenth century English studies to understand eighteenth century Britain as a whole under the Union Act of 1707. Also, in spite of the rapid advancement of Scottish Enlightenment studies, James Steuart is still not seen in terms of it.
I should be quite happy to find (1) that minor figures and peripheral topics are now more and more becoming the research subjects, (2) that original studies based on mamuscripts are recently increasing, (3) that solid studies backed by literary and bibliographical evidences are also increasing and (4) that these tendencies are able to get great help from computers.
However, I am, at the same time, quite sorry to see (1) that still vast area as of East Europe, most of Asia, and Africa are outside our research, (2) that most of our researches still remain disciplinary studies and are not oriented towards intellectual history, (3) that we are abusing the terms "market", "market society", "market system", or "market economy" with no clear difinitions, and (4) that our attention to the critiques of economics by outsiders or protectionists of circumstances such as English romantics seems to me fairly weak. These seem to be remaining to be tackled as soon as possible.
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