"Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back. I am sure that the power of vested interests is vastly exaggerated compared with the gradual encroachment of ideas." - J.M. Keynes, General Theory
This seminar will introduce students to major ideas and theories in modern economic thought. We will examine important theoretical traditions in political economy while discussing their contemporary relevance. Each week, students will read one text that will be complemented with a contemporary academic or policy piece in trade, finance, or development. We will discuss authors such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo, F. List, K. Marx, J.M Keynes, K. Polanyi, F. v. Hayek, J. Schumpeter, J. Viner, A.O. Hirschman and D. McCloskey. Students will learn about the historical provenance and evolution of concepts such as free markets, comparative advantage, protectionism, dependency theory, development, laissez-faire, market socialism, ordoliberalism, neoliberalism, policy space. When discussing protectionism for instance, we will read excerpts from David Ricardo but also look at a policy piece discussing the effectiveness of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) in the US.
At the end of the course, students will understand different currents of economic thought and their main ideas, recognize the historical context behind their different contributions and develop a broader set of tools with which to conceptualise and understand real world economic problems.