ECO 368 • Survey History of Economic Thought
This course deals with the history of economic thought in modern times, i.e., since the rise of capitalism as a social, and increasingly global, system. It is a central tenet of my approach to studying and teaching this history, that the ideas themselves be grasped as a part of the history within which they were formulated and spread. Ideas stand neither above nor outside of history but within it, as moments of strategic thinking and of the ideological justification of strategies for organizing the world. The history of economic ideas, therefore, can only properly be grasped as part of the history of the economy itself, with all its moments of organization and conflict. "Economics" is the study of the economy, i.e., the capitalist organization of the production and distribution of wealth. But it has also been part of the effort to promulgate and justify that economy and the subordination of all of society to it. As you will discover, as capitalism has developed and transformed more and more of social life into moments of itself, economics has simultaneously provided an "economic understanding" of those moments to replace previous ones.