Great Economists Since Petty and Boisguilbert
Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz
Chapter 47: John Bates Clark (1847–1938)
John Bates Clark was born in Providence, Rhode Island on 26 January 1847. His childhood was characterised by a strict and religious upbringing and his parents set high value on the education of their three children. Clark was educated at Brown University, Rhode Island and Amherst College, Massachusetts and graduated from Amherst in 1872 at the age of 25. During his studies at Amherst College, J. Seelye, president of the College at that time, piqued Clark’s interest in political economy when Clark participated in one of his lectures. Clark spent three years of his studies (1872–75) in Heidelberg as well as in Zurich. In Heidelberg he was taught by C. Knies, a representative of the German Historical School. After returning to the United States in 1875, Clark was appointed to his first chair for political economy and history at Carleton College in Minnesota. In the same year he married Myra Smith with whom he had three children. His time at Carleton College was important for two reasons (Henry 1999): first, he met T.B. Veblen – one of his most famous students – and, second, he published a range of articles (Clark 1879a, 1879b, 1882, and so on) which made him known to the economic community and to the public. In these articles Clark clarified his view on the capitalist order in consideration of the transformation of the US economy at that time from a system of free competition to one with oligopolistic and monopolistic tendencies (‘trusts’). He was convinced that these...
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