ECON 407 - 01
Spring 2008
Bucknell University
Lewisburg, PA 17837

Instructor: Jean Shackelford (
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.

Class Preparation

ASSIGNMENTS: January| February | March | April | May

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

Links 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:

When these papers are returned, please collect them in a folder which you will hand in on the April 29th. You may revise any of these assignments prior to handing them in on April 27th please include the original answer with the revision.

2. iPod Assignments - writing projects

3. An analytical book review (and accompanying oral presentation) serves as the final piece of writing for the course. As the semester progresses you will be assigned a 12-17 page paper which reviews a recent book dealing with issues central to today's capitalism(s). On April 25th or 27th you will present a 10-12 minute oral summaries of these papers/projects to the class.
1. There will be two oral Summary Sessions during the semester,

Please stop by my office (Coleman 165) at any time during the semester if you would like to discuss your written work or class participation. I will be happy to discuss your progress in the course with you.
Please arrange your appointments for job interviews or participation in sports events at other times than class meetings. Since participation is a large part of evaluation, class absences will be reflected in your grade for the course.
In addition to the above, you may use the following as an attendance guide which will be part of my assessing "Class Discussion":
4.0 Perfect attendance. Always well prepared and contributes actively in almost all sessions.
3.0 90% attendance. Almost always well prepared and usually contributes actively.
2.0 80% attendance. Usually is prepared. Contributed actively to about half of the classes.
1.0 At least 50% attendance. Only prepared about half of the time. Contributes actively about 20 % of the time.
0.0 Attends occasionally. Poor preparation.

Please remember that every class period is a final exam.
Don't miss a daily final.

Academic Responsibility. Students in this course, as in all others, will be held to the highest standards of academic responsibility. Bucknell has a clearly published policy on academic responsibility, which can be found in the section on regulations in your Student Handbook, in the Catalog, and on the web: "Bucknell students are responsible for the preparation and presentation of work representing their own efforts. Acceptance of this responsibility is essential to the educational process and must be considered as an expression of mutual trust, the foundation upon which creative scholarship rests. Students are directed to use great care when preparing all written work and to acknowledge fully the source of all ideas and language other than their own." (Bucknell Catalog, 2001-02, p. 284).

Manor Houses
Haddon Hall
Ludlow Castle

Hampton Court

Link to Early Church Architecture
iPod use and assignments