Development and Underdevelopment in the History of Economic Thought

Liberalism, Journalism, and the Good Society: Walter Lippmann's Constitutional Political Economy

Higgins John Patrick, Faculty of Law and Administration, University of Łódż

Within the history of economic thought community, the last decade has seen a revival of interest in Walter Lippmann’s connections with prominent policymakers and professional economics. Not only was Lippmann a well-connected mover and shaker of his time, friend and confidant of public intellectuals and politicians as well as journalists, but he was also a profound thinker in his own right, acknowledged as the Founding father of American journalism. However, while his newspaper columns were popular and far-reaching, his books were also positively received by his contemporaries in philosophy, social psychology, political science, as well as economics, though they have not fared as well, and today Lippmann is thought more of as a popularizer of others’ ideas. This paper attempts to synthesize Lippmann’s works, with the particular insight into his framework given in the Good Society’s claim that “the division of labor, democracy, and the method of the common law are organically related and must stand or fall together, because they are different aspects of the same way of life” (1937: 374). Special attention will be paid to Lippmann’s theory of how journalism and public opinion shape liberal political economy, as 2020 is the 100th anniversary of the publication of Liberty and the News.


Keywords: Walter Lippmann, Constitutional Political Economy, Economics and Journalism, History of Economic Thought