Seminar on the History of Economic Thought
A student who successfully completes this course should:
- understand the historical continuities and interruptions in
subject matter and methods of economics that have been explored and
since the days of Moses and Aristotle.
- understand the intellectual, cultural, and material forces
have shaped the historical development of economics
- be able to locate and interpret original classic texts
and appreciate the different methods of exposition that have been used
develop and transmit economic ideas.
- gain cultural literacy by understanding the contributions
the major schools of economic thought (Mercantilists, Physiocrats,
Marxists, Keynesians, Monetarists, etc.), and gain familiarity with
- apply theories and concepts from the course to practical
in economic behavior and policy.
Recommended on Reserve in Moody Library
- Buchholz, Todd G. New Ideas from Dead Economists: An
to Modern Economic Thought. Revised Edition, Plume, 1999.
J.M., The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money
Prometheus Books, 1997 [originally published in 1935].
Alfred. Principles of Economics. 8th Edition.
Books, 1997 [1st edition originally published in 1890; 8th edition in
- Mill, John
Stuart. Principles of Political Economy . 7th edition,
II, III, IV and V and Chapters on Socialism. Oxford University Press,
[1st edition originally published in 1848; 7th edition in 1871].
Adam. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations
Two Volumes. Reprint of the Oxford University Press
by Liberty Press, 1981 [originally published in 1776].
- Tucker, Robert C., editor. The Marx-Engels Reader.
Edition. Norton, 1978 [selections originally published between 1843 and
Related Web Sites
- Abbott, Leonard Dalton, ed., Masterworks of Economics
, McGraw-Hill, 1973.
- Spiegel, Henry William. The Growth of Economic Thought
. Duke University Press, 1971.
- Sweezy, Paul. The Theory of Capitalist Development.
University Press, 1942.
Semester grades will be based on your performance on
examinations and a term paper, each accounting for one-fourth of the
grade. Unless you are told otherwise, each test will include a
of multiple choice and essay questions. Look
for guidelines on writing the term paper. See other important
information under Attendance, below.
- In keeping with University regulations, students who miss
25% of class meetings (in this case, 8 or more sessions) will
fail the course. On the other hand, three points will be added to your
average if you have perfect attendance; two points will be added if you
one absence; one point will be added if you have two absences (for
of earning this extra credit, there are no "excused absences"). If you
late for class, you will be recorded absent unless you have the roll
after class. Please avoid late arrivals and early departures -- they
disruptive. Preparation and participation may also be taken into
when course grades are determined.
Tentative Course Schedule
(Please read the required assignments before each class)
Methodology and Philosophy of Science-August
- Lecture Notes
"Positivism and Post-Positivism"
"Deductive and Inductive Thinking"
"Philosophy of Science"
Friedman, "The Methodology of Positive Economics," 1953
Nagel, "Assumptions in Economic Theory, The American Economic Review,
53, No. 2, May, 1963
Samuelson, "Discussion," The American Economic Review, Vol. 53, No. 2,
1963, pp. 231-234.
Machlup, "Professor Samuelson on Theory and Realism," The American
Review, Vol. 54, No. 5, Sep., 1964.
A. Samuelson, "Theory and Realism: A Reply," The American Economic
Vol. 54, No. 5, Sep., 1964.
- George Soros,
Capitalist Threat," Atlantic Monthly, February 1997
Ancient and Medieval-- Sepember 2 and 4
Exodus 20:8-11, 22:12, and 23:10-11; Leviticus 25:1-55;
27:1-11; Deuteronomy 15:1-15 and 23:19-20; II Kings 6:25 and 7:1;
4:8 and 5:18; Matthew 6:28-34 and 25:14-30; Luke 6:34-35 and 10:38-41;
4:32-37; and II Thessalonians 3:7-12.
Mercantilism--September 9 and 11
- Spiegel, Chapters 1 and 2.
--Book I, Chapters 4, 5, 9, and 10; Book II, Chapters 4 and 5; Book
Chapters 4 and 9.
Quesnay and the Physiocrats--September
- Spiegel, Chapter 5.
Mun, England's Treasure by Foreign Trade, 1664 (In Abbott,
1, pp. 6-27).
Hume, Essays Moral, Political, and Literary, 1742 and 1752
Cantillon, An Essay on Commerce in General, 1755
Adam Smith--September 23, 25, and 30
- Class Notes 9/23
- Class Notes 9/25
TERM PAPER PROSPECTUS DUE
- Class Notes 9/30
- Buchholz, pp. 10-16, 19-41.
- Smith (skip
editor's general introduction), pp. 10-36 (I.1.1
- I.3.8), pp. 44-53 (I.4.11 - I.5.15), pp. 65-89 (I.6.1
- I.8.24), pp. 105-106 (I.9.1-6),
pp. 113-115 (I.9.18-24),
pp. 152-153 (I.10.44-47),
pp. 160-162 (I.11.1-9),
pp. 337-342 (II.3.18-31).
FIRST EXAMINATION--OCTOBER 2
Thomas Malthus--October 7
David Ricardo--October 9, 14, and
John Stuart Mill--October 21, 23,
Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, 1817 (In Abbott,
2, pp. 6-65)
Malthus, The Corn Laws, 1814
Malthus, Grounds for an Opinion on the Policy of Restricting the
of Foreign Corn, 1815
Malthus, The Nature of Rent, 1815
- Spiegel, Chapter 14.
- Class Notes 10/21
- Class Notes 10/23
- Class Notes 10/28
- Buchholz, Chapter 5.
Jeremy. Principles of Morals and Legislation, 1823
(Chapters 1 and 4).
- Mill ,
II, Chapter 1 (pp. 5-24); Book IV, Chapters 6 and 7 (pp. 124-158); Book
Chapters 1, 2, and 11 (pp. 159-189 and 324-367); and Chapters on
pp. 379-386, 413-423, and 431-436.
Karl Marx--November 4, 6, and
- Class Notes, 11/4 and 11/6
- Class Notes, 11/11
- Buchholz, Chapter 6.
- Tucker, pp. 203-217, 336-340, 355-358, 436-438,
490-491, 522-524, 529-531, 538, 698-701, 716-717.
Alfred Marshall and Marginalism--November
13, 18, and 20
- Class Notes 11/13 and 11/18
TERM PAPER DUE (18th)
- Class Notes 11/20
, Prefaces; Book I, Chapters 1 and 4; Book II, Chapter 3, §1; Book
Chapters 3, 4, and 6; and Book V, Chapters 3, 5, 12, and 13.
- Buchholz, Chapter 7.
John Maynard Keynes--November 25 and December 2 (11/27 is
- Buchholz, Chapter 9.
(full text), Selections, pp. v-viii, 3-22, 27-28, 165-172, 245-54, 372-84.
Friedman and Monetarism-- December 4
- Friedman Notes
- Buchholz, Chapter 10.
Milton. "A Theoretical Framework for Monetary Analysis ," The
of Political Economy, Vol. 78, No. 2. (Mar. - Apr., 1970), pp.
Milton. "Nobel Lecture: Inflation and Unemployment ," The
Political Economy, Vol. 85, No. 3. (Jun., 1977), pp. 451-472.
THIRD EXAMINATION--DECEMBER 15, 2:00-5:00 PM
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