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COURSE NUMBER: HIST 304
COURSE TITLE: History of Economic Thought
NAME OF INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Elwil Beukes
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 3(hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 0 - hrs lab 0)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course explores ideas and theories about economic life that have been developed from ancient times to the present, including (but not limited to) those of the major economic thinkers from Adam Smith onwards. These ideas will be analyzed in light of the economic, political, social and intellectual contexts that helped to shape them. By investigating this historical development, we will gain a better understanding of how current approaches to economics and economic policy-making came to be.

Same as ECON 331.

Prerequisites: ECON 203
REQUIRED TEXTS:
  • Canterbery E.R. - A Brief History of Economics, 2nd Edition, New Jersey: World Scientific Publishers
  • Further web-based sources as indicated in the schedule
MARK DISTRIBUTION IN PERCENT:
Reading notes and class participation 25%
Applied paper 25%
Midterm exam 20%
Comprehensive final exam 30%
100%
COURSE  OBJECTIVES: This course will provide the story of the ways in which people in Western societies actually organised their economic lives from feudal times and then provided arguments, or theories, of why that was the best way to proceed. It will thus be a course that embeds the theoretical evolution of Economics within the institutions and wider thinking in which it came about. The course will not dwell on the detail of most theories – for which very substantial resources exist – but will concentrate on how 18th and 19th century roots exercised such a powerful hold on 20th century thinking, particularly on the evolution of capitalist market economies in the second half of
the 20th century. It will also be argued that a small number of very central themes throughout persisted in economic thought since the 18th century and that these were eventually elevated in an ideological manner into unassailable truths that had to be adhered to with little or no amendment. This ideological hard-line provides the basis for discussion of a different understanding of economic thought from a Christian worldview perspective - one that is relevant for today and for moving into the future. The ongoing turmoil that has persisted in the economies of most Western countries for some years now, will be addressed as something that may have directly sprung from the aforementioned economic ideology and which can likely be usefully addressed only if the deeper, and historically grounded, ideological commitments are addressed as well.

The objectives of the course will thus be:
  • Familiarisation with how the evolution of thinking about Economics, and about the economic part of life, brought current societies to where they are now;
  • Critical discussion of how theoretical models of economic activity interacted with important other aspects of the surrounding human (and natural) environment: recognising their origins and limitations;
  • Exercising the application of knowledge of the history of Economics to understand current issues and debates about economic issues;
  • Raising consciousness of different possible ways of understanding and using economic understanding for a more stewardly approach to economic thought from a Christian perspective.
COURSE OUTLINE:
  • Week 1:  Sept 1
    •  Introduction to the course and its requirements
  • Week 2:  Sept 6 – 9
    • Goodwin at: http://www.paecon.net/PAEReview/issue68/Goodwin68.pdf
    • Canterbery:  Introduction 
  • Week 3  Sept 12 – 16
    •  Canterbery: Introduction (continued), ch 1
  • Week 4:  Sept 19 – 23  (IS Conference on Sept 22)
    •  Canterbery:  ch 2
  • Week 5:  Sept 26 – 30
    •  Canterbery: ch 2 (continued), 3
  • Week 6:  Oct 3 – Oct 7
    •  Canterbery:  ch 5, 6
  • Week 7:  Oct 10 – 14
    • Canterbery:  ch 6 (continued), 7
    •  Oct 10: Due date for take-home mid-term
  • Week 8:  Oct 17 – 21
    • Canterbery:  ch 8, 9
  • Week 9:  Oct 24 – 28  (
    •  Canterbery:  ch 10
  • Week 10:  Oct 31 – Nov 4
    • Canterbery:  ch 10 (continued)
  • Week 11:  Nov 7 – 11  (Fall Break Nov 10 – 11)
    • Canterbery:  ch 11
  • Week 12:  Nov 14 – 18  
    •  Canterbery:  ch 12
  • Week 13:  Nov 21 – 25
    •  Canterbery:  ch 12 (continued), 15
    •  Nov 21:  Due date for term paper
  • Week 14:  Nov 28 – Dec 2
    •  Canterbery:  ch 17,  19
  • Week 15:  Dec 5 – 9
    •  Canterbery:  ch 20
  • Dec 12 – 19:  End of term exams


Required texts, assignments, and grade distributions may vary from one offering of this course to the next. Please consult the course instructor for up to date details.

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