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Sophomore Economics Tutorial: Topics in the History of Economic Thought
CSS 220
Fall 2015
Section: 01  

The tutorial uses a topical approach to explore the history of economic thought. We begin with a brief introduction to writers who predated Adam Smith: the scholastics, mercantilists and physiocrats. Over the subsequent weeks, we compare competing schools of economic thought: classical, Marxian, utilitarian, Austrian, neoclassical, and Keynesian. We include selections of radical critiques from the political right and left including monetarist, supply-side, behavioral, Austrian, evolutionist, and institutional approaches. The theoretical debates both reflect and shed light on the economic and social problems of their time. As you master the material, you should keep several goals in mind. First, learn to link the debates to the economic problems faced by nations over the past 300 years. Second, become skilled at explaining how economic theory has altered its shape and content from the 1700s to the present. Third, sharpen your awareness of the interaction between the scientific and the social aspects of human knowledge. Finally, develop and learn to defend your assessment of mainstream economics; decide which aspects reflect theoretic advancement and which are simply reflections of political agendas or outmoded perspectives. Throughout the course we will use contemporary articles to illustrate modern-day versions of the historical disputes. The course material is designed to provide a fuller context for what you learn in politics, history, and social theory while deepening your understanding of contemporary economic debates. If you need further motivation for studying the history of economic thought, consider the following famous quotation from John Maynard Keynes:

"┬┐the ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back." (The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, Chapter 24, final paragraph).
Credit: 1.5 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS ECON
Course Format: DiscussionGrading Mode: Credit/Unsatisfactory
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (CSS)
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on JUL-14-2024
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