Introduction to the course

“No idea or theory in economics, physics, chemistry, biology, philosophy and even mathematics is ever thoroughly understood except as the end-product of a slice of history, the result of some previous intellectual development.”  – Mark Blaug


Robert Heilbroner, The Worldly Philosophers (7th edition), New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999.
Galbraith, “Who Are These Economists, Anyway? Thought and Action.
Mark Blaug, “No History of Ideas Please, We’re Economists,” The Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 15, No. 1 (Winter 2001), 145-164.

Media | not required

Robert Heilbroner discussing his major book “The Worldly Philosophers.” [watch here]

Additional Resources | not required

Robert Heilbroner, “On the limited ‘relevance’ of economics.
Robert Heilbroner, Teachings from the Worldly Philosophy.
Daniel Little, History of economic thought and the present

Pre-classical economic thought

“The fundamental principles of mercantilism and neo-mercantilism are: direction of economic life by the authorities; the belief that money is wealth; exports are better than imports (thus protection and subsidies must be given to exporting industries); similarly tariff barriers on imports and the belief that a country can prosper only at the expense of others.”   – Faustino Ballve


Spiegel, Chapter 8, pp. 183-200, Optional – Chapters 3, 5, and pp. 119-135 of Chapter 6.
Heilbroner, TFTWP, pp. 1-53.
Jacob Viner, “Mercantilist Thought” [1968], reprinted in Essays on the Intellectual History of Economics, ed. Douglas Irwin (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991), pp. 262-76.
Paul Krugman, editorial columns “Chinese New Year” and “Taking on China.
Emile Guillaumin, The Life of a Simple Man [1904], translated by Margaret Crosland. (Hanover, N. H.: University Press of New England, 1983), chapter 42.

Media | not required

Murray Rothbard, Mercantilism in England [listen here]

Steven Johnson: Where good ideas come from [watch here]

Additional Resources | not required

Why Brazil Cotton Farmers Get Subsidized by the US? [read here] … Protectionism at its best! Fun read.

The Scottish Enlightenment and Adam Smith

“What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coca Cola, Liz Taylor drinks Coca Cola, and just think, you can drink Coca Cola, too. A coke is a coke and no amount of money can get you a better coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the cokes are the same and all the cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.”   — Andy Warhol


Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, ed. Edwin Cannan, New York: Modern Library, 1937 [1776].
i. Smith’s Introduction
ii. Book I, Chapters 1-4 and 6-7 complete, Chapter 5, pp. 34-43; Chapter 8, pp. 72-82; Chapter 9, pp. 98-99, 109-110; Chapter 11, pp. 161-63 & 269-78
iii. Book II, Chapters 1, 3 (pp. 351-65 only), 4
iv. Book IV, Chapters 1, pp. 450-56, 468-473; Chapter 2, pp. 474-80.

Heilbroner, TFTWP, pp. 56-105.
Maria Paganelli, “The Adam Smith Problem in Reverse: Self-interest in Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations and Theory of Moral Sentiments.” HOPE, vol. 40, Summer 2008, pp. 365-82.
Amartya Sen, “Introduction” to Adam Smith, Theory of Moral Sentiments (New York: Penguin Classics edition, 2009).

Media | not required

The surprising truth about what motivates us [watch here]
Milton Friedman on Greed [click here to watch]
How I build a toaster — from scratch [watch here]

Additional Resources | not required

Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, London: A. Millar (1790)
Noam Chomsky, Education is Ignorance [read here]
N.Angier, Why Are We So Nice? [read here]

Thomas Malthus & David Ricardo

Spiegel, Chapter 12, and pp. 286-99 of Chapter 13, Chapter 14.
Heilbroner, TFTWP, pp. 106-127.
Thomas Malthus, Essay on the Principle of Population,1st ed., 1798, chapters 1, 2, 5.

Media | not required

Home [watch here]
The Story of Stuff [watch here]
Gapminder [explore here]

Additional Resources | not required

The End of Ingenuity [read here] … We are reaching peak oil. It takes more energy to extract oil, which means we will have to reply on coal. Hence, more CO2 and global warming. Malthus was right?
Soaring food prices [read here] … Krugman argues that food prices are soaring because of failing crops due to global warming. More support for Malthusian ideas?
Missing Poverty … [read here] … the world bank reports that a lot less people are living in poverty today. In fact, the statistic that 1/3 of world population is living on less than a dollar a day is outdated now! Malthus was wrong?

John Stuart Mill and Utilitarianism

Spiegel, Chapter 16.
Heilbroner, TFTWP, pp. 56-105.
George Stigler, “The Nature and Role of Originality in Scientific Progress,” Economica, vol. 22, November 1955, pp. 293-302.
Thomas Carlyle, “Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question,” Fraser’s Magazine, 1849.
John Stuart Mill, “The Negro Question,” Fraser’s Magazine, 1850. Session 3 – Classical Growth Theory.
John Stuart Mill, “On Liberty.” [spark notes]


Benjamin Wallace on the price of happiness [ watch here ]

Additional Resources | not required

The Secret History of the Dismal Science [read here]

Utopian Socialists and Karl Marx


Spiegel, Chapter 19-20.
Heilbroner, TFTWP, pp. 159-197.
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto [available in the Marx-Engels Reader]


Reading Marx’s Capital with David Harvey [visit here]
The Crisis of Capitalism [watch here]
The End of Capitalism [watch here]
Capitalism Hits the Fan [watch here]

Additional Resources | not required

Johnathan Wolff, Why Read Marx Today? (2003) Oxford University Press [buy here]

The Marginal Revolution and Alfred Marshall

Spiegel, Chapter 22, pp. 505-507, 513-524; Chapter 24, Chapter 25, pp. 563-74.
Heilbroner, TFTWP, pp. 197-228.
Alfred Marshall, Principles of Economics, [8th. Ed., 1920] (Philadelphia: Porcupine Press, 1990), as follows: Prefaces to 1st and 8th eds.; Book I, chapters 1, 4; Book III, chapters 1-4; Book IV, chapter 13; Book V, chapters 1-3.
Jacob Viner, “Marshall’s Economics, in Relation to the Man and to His Times,” American Economic Review, Vol. 31, No. 2 (June 1941), 223-235.*

Mises and Hayek: The Socialist Calculation debate

Friedrich von Hayek, “The Use of Knowledge in Society,” American Economic Review, Volume 35, Issue 4 (September 1945), 519-530.
Bruce Caldwell, Hayek’s Challenge: An Intellectual Biography of F.A. Hayek. University of Chicago Press, 2005.
Mises, “Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth.”
Rothbard, “Ludwig von Mises:Scholar, Creator, Hero”
Garrison, “Overconsumption and Forced Saving in the Mises-Hayek Theory of the Business Cycle.
Rothbard, “The End of Socialism and the Calculation Debate Revisited”


The Crisis of Credit Visualized [watch here]
Keynes and Hayek by Prof. Bruce Caldwell [watch here]
Austrian Theory of Business Cycle by Prof. Garrison [watch here]

American Institutionalism and Thorsten Veblen

Heilbroner, TFTWP, pp. 247-64.*
Spiegel, Chapter 27, pp. 628-643.
Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class [1899] (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007). Chapters 1-3.
Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of Business Enterprise. (New York: Scribner’s, 1904). Chapters 2-4.*
Thorstein Veblen, “Why is Economics not an Evolutionary Science?” The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 12, No. 4 (July 1898), 373-397.
Thorstein Veblen, “The Limitations of Marginal Utility,” The Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 17, No. 9 (November 1909), 620-636.*

Keynes and the birth of modern macroeconomics

Heilbroner, TFTWP, pp. 264-97.*
Spiegel, Chapter 26, pp. 597-610.
Keynes, John Maynard. “Am I a Liberal?” [1925], “The End of Laissez-Faire”[1926], and “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren” [1930], all in Essays in Persuasion (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1932).
Keynes, J. M. 1919. Economic Consequences of the Peace. Chapters 1 & 2;*
“The End of Laissez Faire,” [1926] and “The Great Slump of 1930,” [1930], both in Essays in Persuasion.*
Peter Clark, “Keynes in History,” HOPE, vol. 26, Spring 1994, pp. 117-36.*
Laidler, David. “Keynes and the Birth of Modern Macroeconomics,” in The Cambridge Companion to Keynes, pp. 271-90.


Fear the Boom and Bust [ part 1 ] [ part 2 ]

Additional Resources

21 Hours: Why a shorter working week can help us all flourish in the 21st century [read here] Keynes thought that by the start of the 21st century we will work 15 to 21 hours a week, and we would instead focus on “how to use the freedom from pressing economic cares.” Was his prediction too far-fetched?

Milton Friedman and the Monetarist

Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962), pp. 1-36; “The Methodology of Positive Economics,” in Friedman, ed., Essays in Positive Economics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953), pp. 3-43.
Gary Becker, The Economic Approach to Human Behavior (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976), chapter 1.*
Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz, “The Great Contraction, 1929-33,” excerpts from chapter 7 of A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963), pp.299-332.*
Friedman, “Inflation and Unemployment.”*
Friedman, “Autobiography,”*
Garrison, “Is Milton Friedman a Keynesian?”*


Free to Choose Series with Milton Friedman [ watch here ] [ Arnold's introduction ]

The Public Choice School: Politics as Business


Buchanan, “The Constitution of Economic Policy.” Nobel Lecture.*
Gordon Tullock, “The Welfare Cost of Tariffs, Monopolies, and Theft.” Western Economic Journal, 5:3 (1967:June) p.224
Stigler, “Perfect Competition, Historically Contemplated”*


I.O.U.S.A. the movie [watch here]
How government spends our money [watch here]
Global Public Debt [check here]
Political contributions [check here]

Behavioral Economics


Simon, Herbert (1987). “Behavioral Economics”. The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics,. 1. pp. 221–24.*
Kahneman, Daniel, and Amos Tversky (1979) “Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk“, Econometrica, XLVII (1979), 263-291.


Daniel Ariely [visit here] [the fallacy of supply and demand]
Rory Sutherland: Life lessons from an ad man [watch here]
Barry Schwartz on the paradox of choice [watch here]

Where do we go from here?

Concluding Remarks

Juan Enriques shares mindboggling science [watch here]
Ken Robinson says school kill creativity [watch here]
Hans Rosling shows the best stats you’ve ever seen [watch here]
Nic Marks: The Happy Planet Index [watch here]