Henry Rogers Seager
|Born||July 21, 1870|
|Died||August 23, 1930|
|Field||Political Economy, and economic organization|
|Alma mater||University of Michigan|
|Horace Bookwalter Drury, Mary van Kleeck|
|Contributions||"Principles of Economics" in 1913.|
Henry Rogers Seager (July 21, 1870 – August 23, 1930, Kiev, Russia) was an American economist, and Professor of Political Economy at Columbia University,who served as president of the American Association for Labor Legislation.
Inspired by the work of the Austrian School, Seager published his main work "Principles of Economics" in 1913. Inline with the institutional economics this textbook was typical "empirical and institutional in applied work, that dealt with real markets."In 1929 he published his most cited work, entitled "Trust and corporation problems."
Seager was born to Schuyler Fiske Seager and Alice (Berry) Seager in Lansing, Michigan, where his father worked as a lawyer. He studied at the University of Michigan, where he obtained his P.h.B. in 1890. He continued his studies at Johns Hopkins University under Herbert Baxter Adams and Richard T. Ely for a year, in Europe at Halle, Berlin, and Vienna for two years, obtaiting his PhD back in the US from the University of Pennsylvania in 1894 under Simon Patten.
In 1894 Seager started his academic career as an instructor in economics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and was promoted to assistant professor in 1896. In 1902 he moved to Columbia University, serving as adjunct professor until 1905 when he was appointed professor of political economy.
Seager was a member of several commissions in New York to investigate labor conditions. He served as president of the American Association for Labor Legislation, which he had co-founded in 1906 with other economists, [ citation needed ]and served on the board of editors of the Political Science Quarterly .
He died in 1930 in Kiev, Russia when he was visiting to study Soviet economic philosophy.
Seager's work as economist was influenced by his training in "English classicism, in the German historical method and in the peculiar Austrian approach"of the Austrian School. In 1904 he published "Introduction to Economics" in 1904, which he later developed into his main work "Principles of Economics," published in 1913.
In the preface to Introduction to Economics, Seager explains, that "the principal feature which distinguishes it from other college text-books is its full treatment of the subject of distribution. This is the part of the study which is of greatest interest and importance ; yet it is the part most neglected in current manuals..."
In a review of this work the American economist Herbert J. Davenport (1904) commented:
Seager (1904) expressed a specific view on the production and distribution in modern community. Modern business can be divided into twelve branches or principal businesses, as he expressed:
According to Seager, the best adapted form of business organisation is different. In hunting, stock-raising, farming, building, broking, and trading the dominant form is the single-entrepreneur and partnership systems. In lumbering, mining, and manufacturing single entrepreneurs, partnerships, and corporations exist side by side, and in transportation, banking, and insurance the "corporate form of organisation holds undisputed sway. In general the corporate form of organisation is that preferred in branches of business where large-scale production is found to be most economical, while in businesses for which small-scale production is better adapted single entrepreneurs and partnerships still have the advantage."
According to Seager, production and distribution in the modern community can be analysed, and graphically pictured, by distinguishing three more basic branches of production:
About the basic interaction, Seager further explained:
In the chapter about "Value, Price, and Distribution" Seager explains, that his model of the modern production and distribution can be used to "restate the laws determining rent, wages, and interest."He stated:
Later in the 20th century the model of the circular flow of income has been developed, which comprehends similar concepts.
In his 1913 Principles of economics Seager further extended his theory of production and distribution. Seager explained:
About the flows in the model, he explains:
In "The economics of retailing" Paul Nystrom (1915) further focussed in the 'transportation and trade' stage, and assigned various patterns in the channels of distribution.
Seager's first major contributions in the field of law, labour and labor legislation occurred in 1907.Seager was convinced that the ideas about social legislation the United States, where far behind those of the more progressive countries of Europe. In a meeting of the American Association for Labor Legislation, December 30, 1907, Seager presented a program of social legislation:
In 1910 Seager published Social Insurance: A Program of Social Reform, one of the first American books on the subject of social insurance.Seager was influenced by his sociology professor in Chicago Charles Richmond Henderson, who had outlined a corporatist and restrictionist ideology. Seagers book provided a rationale for social insurance, which had its origins in Europe, and influenced the establishment of Social Security in the United States.
The social security website (2014) summarized this was as "both a classic and an early exposition of the philosophical movement for social insurance in America. The philosophy expressed by Seager would be the same general viewpoint favored by many of the founders of Social Security in America. Seager's books expresses the thinking of Americans toward this new idea of social insurance which had in origins in Europe at the end of the 19th century.
In his 1913 article on the "Theory of the Minimum Wage." explains the main contemporary problems around the introduction of minimum wages. Seager started:
Weidenhammer and Krebs (1930) commented, that this "book is mainly concerned with the trust problem. For two reasons, however, the authors thought it advisable to include a chapter on corporations: First most trusts are corporations, and the modern holding company and merger movements depend upon the existence of the economic institution 'corporation', and second, the regulation of trusts must to a certain extent proceed through regulation of corporate practices (stockwatering in order to hide profits, publicity of financial statements, etc.)."
Tobriner (1931) summarized, that "the modern trust problem, with its nation-wide mergers, its powerful trade association, its international price and output agreements, is today demanding and getting fresh attention. Informed opinion is coming in recognize, that former legislation which sweepingly condemned 'every combination in restraint of trade' has broken down. An attempt is being made to re-define the issue and to meet them with less prejudice and with more concern for business needs."
The posthumous publication of "Labor and Other Economic Essays" is considered one of Seager's most important works, beside "introduction to economics" (1913) and "Trust and corporation problems," (1929). It contained a full bibliography of Seagers publications.Seager had published his first mayor essays on law and labour late 1907. Ernst (1995) summarized:
Articles, a selection:
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Henry Rogers Seager