Is the market price a just price? Why a centralized command may work within firms but not across societies? Why capital is a troublesome concept to define? Why do central banks monopolize the issue of currency? Is credit, money? Should economics study non-economic aspects of social life? Is economic growth the responsibility of the State? This course will study and discuss these and many other important perennial micro and macroeconomic questions. The emphasis will be put on exploring these issues through a historical perspective. We will address how intellectuals of the past approached these topics, and more importantly, we will assess how they still influence the way we think about economics today.
The class serves as a complement to standard economics courses. The aim is to broaden the students' understanding of economic issues—by reflecting on how past thinkers, and the debates in which they were involved, created the current common pool of knowledge in our profession. The class is organized in a topical rather than chronological way. We will survey several themes: from some technical issues like the Cambridge capital controversies to more epistemic questions like trying to answer what is the proper role of an Economist.
- Lecture Notes 1: Scope of Economics: Lionel Robbins and Buchanan's definition
- Lecture Notes 2: The Price Mechanism in Medieval and Modern Times
- Lecture Notes 3: Market Exchange: From Aristotle to Adam Smith
- Lecture Notes 4: The Wage Path in Classical Economics: Malthus and Ricardo
- Lecture Notes 5: Capital and Capitalism: From Marx to Hayek
- Lecture Notes 6: Money and Financial Markets: From Free Banking to Central Banking
- Lecture Notes 7: Nature of the Firm: From Coase to Alchian and Demsetz
- Lecture Notes 8: Technology and Economic Change: From Schumpeter to Brian Arthur
- Lecture Notes 9: Entrepreneurship and Economic Coordination: From Schumpeter to Kirzner and Baumol
- Lecture Notes 10: Institutions and Political Economy: From Veblen to North
- Lecture Notes 11: Culture and Institutions: From Weber to Economics of Religion
- Lecture Notes 12: The State: Schumpeter, Hayek and Marx