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The Evolution and professionalization of economic thought from the late Ottoman empire to the Turkish Republic: the case of İbrahim Fazil Pelin

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2018
Aslanmirza, Burak
The Anglo-Ottoman Trade Convention of 1838 – usually regarded as a milestone in the Ottoman Empire’s integration process to capitalism and the liberal world – also presents a landmark for the germination of Ottoman intellectuals’ interest in European economic thought and the acceleration of intellectual discussions on the subject thanks to the rise of private press. However, the transformation of economic thought from being the object of intellectual interest to being a separate discipline, accordingly its professionalization, required nearly one more century. The aim of this study is to shed light on the evolution of economics into a scientific branch, from the late Ottoman period into the Republican era, by means of introducing the thoughts of a significant thinker, namely Dist. Prof. İbrahim Fazıl Pelin. Although historical studies on the early twentieth century often refer to his name, a systematic and detailed analysis of Pelin’s social and economic thought does not yet exist in available literature. This research fundamentally focuses on compensating for this gap and determining the place of Pelin within this process of evolution since he represents a significant component in the generation enabling that transition. Although existing literature acknowledged Pelin predominantly a disciple of classical economic thought, he developed his own ideas and displayed an eclectic attitude. He followed a rather moderate path that can be situated between the individual, which was the center of liberal thought, and the main foci of the German Historical School, state and society. He criticized liberal economics and the emphasis on the individual, and rigid etatism at the same time. Pelin developed a socio-economic model based on social interest, which envisaged a balance between the state and the individual.