In order to fully understand the evolution and future growth of economic systems, we must draw on the lessons of economic history. The 2008 Financial Crisis, for example, mirrored past economic meltdowns with uncanny accuracy. Just like the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Savings and Loan Crisis of the 1980s, it featured deregulated lenders taking incredible risks with other people’s money. Historical analysis is crucial to understanding trends and patterns that can help us predict the future.
This text presents a ground-breaking, pluralistic introduction to economic history and the history of economic thought. Tracing the development of economic systems and economic thought, the text introduces students to the story from ancient times to contemporary capitalism, and also its critics. Focusing in particular on Smith, Marx, Veblen, and Keynes, the text encourages students to consider which ideas and systems are still relevant in the modern world. This book can be used as a standalone text for relevant classes or as a supplement in any principles course.