Thomas Léonard

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Oliver Wendell Holmes was made a Progressive lion upon his pithy dissent to the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision to overturn a New York statute restricting (male) bakers' working hours. " The 14th Amendment , " said Holmes famously, " does not enact the Social Statics of Mr. Herbert Spencer. " 1 Twenty-two years later, in another well-known case,(More)
In this paper we present a model in which individuals act in their own best interest, to explain many behaviors associated with cigarette addiction. There are two key features of the model. First, there is an explicit representation of the withdrawal effects experienced when smokers attempt to quit smoking. Second, there is explicit recognition that the(More)
(1847–1938), the most eminent American economist of a century ago, was, in his own day, caricatured as an apologist for laissez-faire capitalism (Veblen 1908). 1 The caricature has shown staying power, a measure, perhaps, of the relative paucity of scholarship on Clark and his work. Recent Clark research signals a welcome attempt at a more accurate(More)
Distribution concerns who gets what. But does " who " refer to the personal distribution of income among individuals or the functional distribution of income among suppliers of productive factors? For nearly 150 years, Anglophone distribution theory followed the Ricardian emphasis on functional distribution – the income shares of labor, land, and capital.(More)
Disagreements among economists rarely breach the academy's walls. The recent minimum-wage controversy is a significant exception. At first glance, all the sound and fury is a puzzle. 1 Minimum-wage effects, at least for current U.S. magnitudes, are small potatoes. 2 Of several more important policy concerns—entitlement reform, health insurance, CPI(More)
The term " social Darwinism " owes its currency and many of its connotations to Richard Hofstadter's influential Social Darwinism in American Thought, 1860–1915 (SDAT). The post-SDAT meanings of " social Darwinism " are the product of an unresolved Whiggish tension in SDAT: Hofstadter championed economic reform over free markets, but he also condemned(More)
American economics came of age during the Progressive Era, a time when biological approaches to economic reform were at their high-water mark. Reform-minded economists argued that the labor force should be rid of unfit workers—whom they labeled " unemployables, " " parasites, " and the " industrial residuum " —so as to uplift superior, deserving workers.(More)