The New Political Economy -- By: Frank Parsons

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 056:221 (Jan 1899)
Article: The New Political Economy
Author: Frank Parsons


The New Political Economy

Prof. Frank Parsons

The science of political economy is undergoing a change almost as remarkable as that which took place in astronomy in the Copernican era. In the old astronomy the earth was the center around which all other things, including the sun and the stars, were made to circle. In the old economy material wealth was the center round which all other things, including even life itself, were made to revolve. The new astronomy knows that the earth is not the center but only a planet moving about the sun, and the new economy knows that material wealth and the desire for it are not the central facts, but only subordinate parts of a great system, of which manhood and womanhood, character, mind, soul, affections, ideals, and development are the controlling elements, the real foci of power. The new astronomy stands off and looks at the world in its true relation to the rest of the universe, and the new economy stands off and looks at material wealth in its true relations to life and progress.

The differences between the new political economy and the old are of fundamental importance; some of them may be stated as follows:—

First. The old economy lived by itself and did business on the individualistic plan. It formed no intimate associations with other sociologic sciences and did not recognize them when it met them on the street. The new economy recognizes its relatives, lives in the family group, and

works in close association with all the other members of it. This is a matter of the utmost moment. It will not do to deal with material wealth as a thing by itself; it must be studied as part of a great whole. The science of wealth must be coördinated with ethics, psychology, government, art, evolution, and every other body of thought that affects human life. If your economy is not in harmony with your morals and your government, if the science of wealth does not conform to the principles of ethics and development, your social science is not an organic whole but a heap of broken fragments. The arch will not stand unless each stone is chiseled with reference to the rest Political economy must be formed so that it will not refuse to fit its fellow sciences, but will take its place as a perfect stone in the arch of sociology.

If your government says, “Democracy, power in the people,” and your economy says, “Aristocracy, plutocracy, power in the few”; if your jurisprudence says, “Justice,” and your economy says, “Get rich”; if your ethics and your religion say, “Love, service, devotion,” and your economy says, “Self-interest, conquest, mastery,”—there is civil war in your social science.

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