Despite being a pervasive phenomenon in the economy and society, power has been and still is the bête noire in much of modern economics. In the main parts of contemporary mainstream economics, no attempt is made to come to grips with what power means and what its effects are. Against this backdrop, this paper attempts to bring to the fore ideas of past economists and social and political philosophers, who basically saw socio-economic affairs and outcomes as driven by, and reflecting, power relationships. Starting with the writings of late mercantilist and early classical economists, the paper analyses how the attention in economics shifted away from the problem of power from the latter part of the nineteenth century, with the rise to dominance of marginalist economics.
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