For various reasons I’ve been thinking about the history of economic thought lately. It’s something I know little about. It’s also something I’m realizing I’ve been interested in for a long while without realizing it directly. (Analogously, I remember reading an interview with someone from the Descendents, saying something like “all of us are percussionists, I just happen to do percussion on the guitar” and having this ah-ha moment that part of what I liked about punk was that it’s percussive and beat-driven, which is the same quality I like in a lot of other music that might at first sound very different.) I’d like read further in the history of economic thought, both in terms of old stuff people wrote and in terms of books about this history. From a very, very cursory glance at some books, “the history of economic thought” seems to mean something like “the history of writings by professional experts on economic matters.” That makes sense. But it’s not like they’re the only people with ideas about economic matters, no more than historians are the only people with ideas about the past or than sociologists are the only people with ideas about society. It’d be interesting to learn more about time periods including the official Economic Thought of the period and just before, what were popular views on economic matters (popular economic thought?), what were the ideas about economic matters in law and policy, and in businesses, and in the labor movement, and what was actually happening in the economy.

About these ads