perts, “political arithmeticians.” Othersncan argue what should be done;neconomists will advise how to do itnwith the least cost in resources. Stiglernis proud that economists in general donvery little “preaching.”nThis theme of positive economics isnpursued in many of the essays. Annimportant factor Stigler feels is oftennoverlooked is the role of politics. Economicnpolicy cannot be fruitfully debatednin a vacuum. Economists whondo so find that they have little influencenon events. In theory, “we live inna world full of mistaken policies, butnthey are not mistaken for their supporters.”nHe rejects the notion that peoplenwill long support policies which produceneffects opposite to what theynwant. Interest groups need economistsnto explain alternative results so thatnthey can determine which policies tonsupport.nStigler is a loyal “friend of AdamnSmith” but points out in three essaysnthat Smith had a blind spot on politics.n”Smith gave a larger role to emotion,nprejudice and ignorance in politicalnlife than he ever allowed in ordinaryneconomic affairs.” Smith blamed mercantilismnon “national jealousy andnanimosity” defining power politicsnmerely as emotions. Smith, of course,ndid not completely overlook politics.nStigler lists more than two dozen instancesnwhere Smith links legislationnto particular interest groups. Smithnwas a harsh critic of the merchants andnindustrialists whom he thought con-n’olled Parliament. However, Stiglernslieves that Smith did not fully adoptne view that “the procuring of favorlenlegislation is a commercial undertaking.”nThe classical economists of the 19thncentury, despite their reputation fornlaissez faire, were not opposed to allngovernment intervention in the economy.nSmith supported the NavigationnActs and usury laws. J. S. Mill supportednpublic education and called fornlimits on hours of work for children.nAlfred Marshall endorsed public housing.nStigler concludes that “the sameneconomist could and did repel thenstate with one hand and beckon it withnthe other.” To understand this, onenfirst has to reject classical economicntheory as an ideology. It is a tool, anmeans, not an end. An economistnsupports or opposes a particular policynon the basis of whether he believes itnwill produce a desired result.nThus when Nassau Senior and RobertnTorrens opposed limits on hours ofnwork for women, it was not on groundsnof natural rights, but because theynthought such limits would reduce familynincome, raise production costs, andngenerate unemployment if British industrynbecame less competitive in foreignntrade. Stigler quotes Smith’s acknowledgmentnthat certain regulationsnwhich he endorsed were violations ofnnatural liberty, but that the benefits tonthe community outweighed this cost.nHowever, such choices can only benratified by empirical analysis. Stigler isnconcerned because public policy is notnoften subjected to such analysis. Debatesnare based on opinions and intentions,nnot evidence.nStigler does not have a high opinionnof those schools of thought which arenbased on ideology rather than performance.nMarxism is an obvious example,nand Stigler cites praise for thenpolicies of Joseph Stalin found in thenworks by Ronald Meek and OskarnnnLange to illustrate the absurd lengthsnto which ideological partisanshipncan go under the guise of economics.nHe also criticizes the Austrian schoolnon the other end of the ideologicalnspectrum.nThe Austrian school couldnsurvive into the twentiethncentury only because its mainnbonds were opposition tonhistorical and empiricalnresearch and loyalty toneconomic liberalism—the earlynagreement of its members onnvalue theory did not persist,nnor extend to capital theory ornmonetary theory.nStigler spends a considerablenamount of time on the history ofneconomic thought and its role in theneducation of economists, yet he saysnlittle about the study of economicnhistory. Virtually every economics departmentnhas courses in economicnthought for its majors, but many neglectneconomic history. Economic historynis the study of how economicnOCTOBER 1985115n