Instructor: Jean Shackelford (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Office Hours: Coleman 165 ; W-10-12. Many others -- by appointment or drop in.
• Readings in the development of capitalist thought, compiled by William C. Cooper, Edited by Jean Shackelford, 2001, 2007.
• New York Times: Daily
This course might well be called "Great Ideas in the Creation of Capitalism." We will study the ideas of economists, philosophers, novelists, poets and even an artist or two and examine the context, continuity and relevance of these to postmodern capitalism. In each case, we will link ideas of the past to those of today and to the future.
The format of this course and many of the reading materials we will use were compiled by Professor William Hawley Cooper (1916-1998) who taught and served as chair of the economics department at Bucknell for many years.
Assigned readings provide the structure and the context for each class session.
There is, of course no pre-designed discussion of the material. Those will be
constructed class by class. In each of the class period you are invited to confront
the ideas of economists, as well as the times, events, and circumstances of
the historical era.
Jan. 17 - Introduction
Jan. 22 - Chapter 1 - William of Normandy and the Peasants Revolt
Jan. 24 - Chapter 2 - Thomas Mun and The Mercantilists
Jan. 29 - Chapter 3 - Gerrard Winstanley and the Levelers
Jan. 31- Chapter 4 - Turgot, Quesnay and the Physiocrats
Feb. 5 - Chapter 5 - Joel Mokyr, "The Market for Ideas and the Origins of Economic Growth in the Eighteenth Century," Heineken Lecture delivered in Groningen, Sept. 25, 2006. Download at
Feb. 7 - Chapter 5 - Adam Smith and the Wealth of Nations, Pt.l & ll
Feb. 12 - Chapter 5 - Adam Smith, Pt. lll
Feb. 14 - Chapter 6 - Thomas Robert Malthus
Feb. 19 - Chapters 6 - Thomas Robert Malthus (continued); Chapter 7 - J.B. Say
Feb. 21- Chapters 8 - David Ricardo, Pt. l and 11(selected parts)
Feb. 26 - Chapter 9 - Jeremy Bentham (The J. B. Project!) (and as he is now)
Feb. 28 - Chapter 10 - Robert Owen
March 6 - Summary Session - Chapters 1-10
March 7-17 Spring Break
Mar. 18- Chapter 11 - Pierre Joseph Proudhon and Flora Tristan
Mar. 20- Chapter 12 - John Stuart Mill, Pt.I
Mar. 25- Chapter 13 - John Stuart Mill, Pt. II
Mar. 27 - Chapter 14 - The Observers
Apr. 1- Chapter 14 - Karl Marx, Pt. Pt I & Pt II
Apr. 3 - Chapter 14 - Karl Marx, Pt. Pt III
Apr. 8- Chapter 15 - William Stanley Jevons
Apr. 10- Chapter 16 - Thorstein Veblen, Pt. I
Apr. 18- Thorstein Veblen, Pt. II
Apr. 15- Chapter 17 - John Atkinson Hobson
April 17 -John Maynard Keynes
April 22 - Reports on papers and projects
April 24 - Reports on papers and projects cont.
April 29 - Summary Session
to graphics used in class
The New School for Social Research History of Economics Website
Class periods will be devoted to discussion the assigned readings and will focus
on many of the questions that you will find within the readings. In these discussions
you should feel free to express your own views about the ideas presented in
the readings. Please raise questions about the readings as well as any comments
you might have on the ideas of the economists we are studying or how the ideas
of one economist relate to those of another.
We will study ideas that offer a wide variety of views, and consider arguments which range from very abstract to overly concrete. Many of these are representatives of various schools of economic and philosophical thought and have influenced the development of theory in a variety of ways. These ideas have probably influenced your thinking too. And, they have probably affected your behavior. Professor Cooper encouraged his students to "avoid being a true believer in any of them." I would echo that advice. The opportunity to compare your ideas with the ideas of early scholars, and to use your imagination to perhaps create a re-vision of economic ideas are two of the most important challenges of this course, and if taken seriously, are important lessons to take from the course.
The following criteria will be used for course evaluation:
Link to Early Church Architecture
iPod use and assignments