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Readings

  • 1.1 Reading: André Dollinger’s “The Ancient Egyptian Economy”

    Link: André Dollinger’s “The Ancient Egyptian Economy” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read this article, which presents an overview of economic life in ancient Egypt.
     
    Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: This material has been used with permission for non-commercial use by André Dollinger. The original version can be found here.

  • 1.2.1 Reading: The Ludwig von Mises Institute: Murray N. Rothbard’s Economic Thought before Adam Smith: “Chapter 1: The First Philosopher-Economists: The Greeks”

    Link: The Ludwig von Mises Institute: Murray N. Rothbard’s Economic Thought before Adam Smith: “Chapter 1: The First Philosopher-Economists: The Greeks”(PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read the first chapter of the libertarian political philosopher Murray N. Rothbard’s Economic Thought before Adam Smith on pages 1–27. Although Rothbard is intent on presenting an interpretation of past scholarship that supports aspects of contemporary libertarian economic political thought, in this first chapter he gives a general overview of Hesiod on scarcity; Democritus on subjective value and utility, the influence of supply and demand on value and on time-preference; Plato and Xenophon on the division of labor; Plato on the functions of money; and Aristotle on supply and demand, money, exchange, and the imputation of valuefrom ends to means. Rothbard writes that all of these scholars were focusing on the logicalimplications of a few broadly empirical axioms of human life: the existenceof human action, the eternal pursuit of goals by employing scarce means, and thediversity and inequality among men. He concludes the chapter with a subsection on political and economic thought in ancient China.
     
    Reading this chapter should take approximately 2 hours.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 1.2.1 Reading: Wikipedia: “Fan Li”

    Link: Wikipedia: “Fan Li” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read the biography of Fan Li as well as the 24 rules for business. These rules were written in the 5th century BCE, about the same time as the classical Greek works to follow. The author was both an adviser to the imperial court and a practitioner of medicine. 
     
    Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0. It is attributed to Wikipedia and the original version can be found here.

  • 1.2.2 Reading: Project Gutenberg: Xenophon’s The Economist

    Link: Project Gutenberg: Xenophon’s The Economist (HTML)
     
    Also available in:
    Google Books
     
    Instructions: Read The Economist, written as a dialogue between Socrates and Critobulus, the son of one of Socrates’s disciples. Socrates asks questions, and Critobulus answers them. This format is typical of many Greek writings designed to present and explain ideas. Notice that when Critobulus asks questions, Socrates replies with a story from Ischomachus, a gentleman farmer. Many historians believe that Ischomachus represents the author’s own thoughts. In other words, it does not matter much who the speakers are; the entire work is a way for Xenophon to express his ideas. Why wouldn’t Xenophon directly write his thoughts in his own voice? Remember what happened to Socrates, who was condemned to death; it was less risky to hide behind the mask of characters.
     
    In the author’s translation, we learn about Xenophon: “Xenophon the Athenian was born 431 B.C. He was a pupil of Socrates. He marched with the Spartans and was exiled from Athens. Sparta gave him land and property in Scillus, where he lived for many years before having to move once more to settle in Corinth. He died in 354 B.C.”
     
    In terms of economics, think about how Xenophon discusses managing a household and agriculture. Pay particular attention to how goods are valued and what constitutes a fair exchange.  
     
    Reading this dialogue should take approximately 5 hours.
     
    Terms of Use: The Economist is in the public domain.

  • 1.2.3 Reading: Project Gutenberg: Aristotle’s Politics, Book VII

    Link: Project Gutenberg: Aristotle’s Politics, Book VII (HTML)
     
    Also available in:
    Google Books
    PDF
     
    Instructions: Read book 7 of Aristotle’s Politics. Aristotle was born three to four generations after Xenophon. His work is best known for introducing the scientific method and for breaking down the complex into its basic parts. Aristotle’s writing style is direct. Note that he does not use the dialogue technique that we saw in Xenophon’s work.
     
    Reflect on how Aristotle describes the nature of happiness and the role of material goods. As you read, consider the following study question: How does Aristotle’s view of social mobility reflect the concept of comparative advantage?
     
    Reading this book and answering the study question should take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Politics is in the public domain.

  • 1.2.4 Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Indian History Sourcebook: Excerpts from Kautilya’s The Arthashastra

    Link: Fordham University’s Internet Indian History Sourcebook: Excerpts from Kautilya’s The Arthashastra (PDF)
     
    Also available in:
    EPUB

    Instructions: Read the selected excerpts from books 1–4 of Arthashastra. The authorship of the work is the source of some debate amongst historians. Kautilya, also known as Chanakya, may have been the prime minister of an Indian empire in the 3rd century BCE, although some scholars trace the work to some 500 years later. 
     
    As you read, consider the following study questions: How does the author view the role of women and marriage? How may slaves have been treated in their role as economic participants, as the work focuses on economic punishments for disobeying ethical imperatives?
     
    Reading these excerpts and answering the study questions should take approximately 45 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: The Arthashastra is in the public domain. 

  • 2.1.1 Reading: The Ludwig von Mises Institute: Murray N. Rothbard’s Economic Thought before Adam Smith: “Chapter 2: The Christian Middle Ages and Chapter 4: The Late Spanish Scholastics”

    Link: The Ludwig von Mises Institute: Murray N. Rothbard’s Economic Thought before Adam Smith: “Chapter 2: The Christian Middle Ages and Chapter 4: The Late Spanish Scholastics” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read Chapter 2 on pages 29–64 and chapter 4 on pages 97–133. Throughout both chapters, Rothbard traces how various scholars from the end of the Roman Empire to end of the 16th century fluctuate in their thinking across a range of economic issues regarding theory of value or what constitutes a just price; the legal status of usury, property rights, monetary theory and foreign exchange; and the status of merchants in society through the eyes of the church. You will be able to see how the precursors of concepts such as marginal price utility came to develop over time through a process of competing ideological notions and political influences and how historical developments and empirical pressures like the influx of gold and silver to Europe from the Americas affected economic thinking.
     
    Reading these chapters should take approximately 5 hours.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 2.1.2 Reading: St. Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologica: “Of Cheating, Which Is Committed in Buying and Selling” and “Of the Sin of Usury”

    Link: St. Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologica“Of Cheating, Which Is Committed in Buying and Selling” (PDF) and “Of the Sin of Usury” (PDF)
     
    Also available in:
    Google Books (“Of Cheating”)
      
    Also available in:
    Google Books (“Of the Sin of Usury”)
      
    Instructions: Read these two excerpts from this seminal Scholastic work: “Of Cheating, Which Is Committed in Buying and Selling” and “Of the Sin of Usury.” 
     
    Born in Italy in the 13th century, Thomas Aquinas was perhaps the most influential Catholic scholar of his age and beyond. His writings are wide-ranging, and here, you should focus on what constitutes a fair exchange. At the time of these writings, many scholars were giving extensive consideration to the determination of a fair interest rate as seen in readings from subunit 2.1.1. It should be noted that the fixation on usury was also due in part to leading Islamic thought of the era, which argued for a complete prohibition on the charging of interest. Note how the format is similar to Xenophon’s dialogue – possibly a sign, however modest, of the revival of ancient Greek thought in the Christian Middle Ages.
     
    Reading these excerpts should take approximately 1 hour.
     
    Terms of Use: Summa Theologica is in the public domain. 

  • 2.2.1 Reading: The Ludwig von Mises Institute: Murray N. Rothbard’s Economic Thought before Adam Smith: “Chapter 7: Mercantilism: Serving the Absolute State”

    Link: The Ludwig von Mises Institute: Murray N. Rothbard’s Economic Thought before Adam Smith: “Chapter 7: Mercantilism: Serving the Absolute State” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read chapter 7 on pages 211–231. This chapter discusses mercantilism as it developed through Spain, France, and England.
     
    Reading this chapter should take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 2.2.2 Reading: Project Gutenberg: Sir William Petty’s “Essays on Mankind and Political Arithmetic”

    Link: Project Gutenberg: Sir William Petty’s “Essays on Mankind and Political Arithmetic” (PDF)
     
    Also available in:
    EPUB

    Instructions: This is a lengthy series of essays. Read through them, paying particular attention to Petty’s methods for calculating economic phenomena.
     
    Petty may be considered one of the first econometricians, someone who uses mathematical techniques to develop economic statistics. He was an articulate proponent of mercantilism and lived during a vibrant period of English colonial expansion. The 1600s were a time of great wealth building but also of significant disparity. This text is concerned with collecting taxes and maximizing the nation’s colonization interests.
     
    Reading these essays should take approximately 5 hours.
     
    Terms of Use: “Essays on Mankind and Political Arithmetic” is in the public domain. 

  • 2.3.1 Reading: Project Gutenberg: Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Book IV

    Link: Project Gutenberg: Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Book IV (HTML)
     
    Also available in:
    Google Books
    PDF
     
    Instructions: This massive work was both an attack on the principles of mercantilism and a discourse on moral and political philosophy. Read book 4, which specifically addresses mercantilism. You will read the first three books in subunit 3.1 as these cover the topic of classical economists.
     
    Adam Smith lived in the 1700s, a time when England lost control over its American colonies. In part, his work is a reaction to his perception of the difficulties of managing colonies under a mercantilist system. Smith is cited by many historians as the most influential economist in history, because his writings are applicable to the problems faced by people in modern society. 
    Reading this book should take approximately 10 hours.

    Terms of Use: An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations is in the public domain.

  • 2.3.2 Reading: John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government: “Chapter V: Of Property”

    Link: John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government: “Chapter V: Of Property” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Although considered more of a political philosopher, read Locke’schapter 5 on pages 15–25. Pay attention to how Locke’s notion of property rights is dependent upon his notion of self-ownership. Locke argues that we own, or have an entitlement to, what we make by mixing that which we already own – ourselves, and hence our own labor power – with that which we do not own. Locke believed that those who make something have property rights with respect to what they make just as God has property rights with respect to human beings because he is their maker. Human beings are created in the image of God and share with God, though to a lesser extent, the ability to shape and mold the physical environment around them.
     
    Reading this chapter should take approximately 45 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Second Treatise of Government is in the public domain.

  • 2.3.3 Reading: New World Encyclopedia: “Richard Cantillon”

    Link: New World Encyclopedia: “Richard Cantillon” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the encyclopedic biography of Cantillon. Truly a post-Mercantilist thinker, Cantillon entered areas of economic analysis to which few of his predecessors and contemporaries had gone. Considered to be part of the French school of thought known as the Physiocracy, his work had more influence on British and Austrian economic thinkers coming after him than any one of his contemporaries.
     
    Reading this biography should take approximately 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. The original New World Encyclopedia version can be found here

  • 2.3.3 Reading: The Ludwig von Mises Institute: Murray N. Rothbard’s Economic Thought before Adam Smith: “Chapter 12: The Founding Father of Modern Economics: Richard Cantillon”

    Link: The Ludwig von Mises Institute: Murray N. Rothbard’s Economic Thought before Adam Smith: “Chapter 12: The Founding Father of Modern Economics: Richard Cantillon” (PDF)

    Instructions: Read chapter 12 on pages 343–362 for information on Richard Cantillon and his influence on modern economics. Apart from Rothbard’s pointed thesis of promoting the importance of Cantillon to that of Adam Smith in the development of modern economic thought, Cantillon helped to codify economics as an independent area of investigation and wrote a general treatise on all of its aspects. As Rothbard remarks, one reason that Cantillon was the first of the moderns is that he emancipated economic analysis from ethical and political concerns, abstracting the economic features of human actions from other concerns, however important.

    Reading this chapter should take approximately 1 hour.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 2.3.4 Reading: The Ludwig von Mises Institute: Murray N. Rothbard’s Economic Thought before Adam Smith: “Chapter 14: The Brilliance of Turgot”

    Link: The Ludwig von Mises Institute: Murray N. Rothbard’s Economic Thought before Adam Smith: “Chapter 14: The Brilliance of Turgot” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read chapter 14 on pages 383–413. Turgot had the opportunity to practice his economics as a finance minister to King Louis XVI in the years before the French Revolution. His ideas were not shared entirely by his Physiocrat contemporaries, and he was one who supported the ancien regime. Like Cantillon, his ideas became part of the British classical tradition. Some even call him the first capitalist thinker because of his focus on financial and physical capital.

    Reading this chapter should take approximately 2 hours.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 3.1 Reading: Project Gutenberg: Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Books I–III

    Link: Project Gutenberg: Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Books I–III (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read the first three books of the Wealth of Nations on pages 7–412. In these books, you will see how Smith lays out his framework for a free market society. This reading is lengthy, so it is recommended that you break up the assigned reading over the course of one or two weeks. 
     
    As you read, note how he breaks down the stock, or capital, into its constituent parts, and consider the following study questions and their implications: How does he view slavery from an economic perspective? What does Smith mean when he describes the free market as an invisible hand? What do you think about his ideas on division of labor?
     
    Reading these books and answering the study questions should take approximately 25 hours.

    Terms of Use: An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations is in the public domain.

  • 3.1 Reading: Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 3, issue 1, (2010): Amartya Sen’s “Adam Smith and the Contemporary World”

    Link: Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 3, issue 1, (2010): Amartya Sen’s “Adam Smith and the Contemporary World” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read Sen’s essay, “Adam Smith and the Contemporary World.” In Sen’s paper, take note of how he shows the complexity of Smith’s framework in contrast to the popular and contemporary identification of Smith’s invisible hand with entirely free and unfettered market forces.
     
    Reading this essay should take approximately 1 hour.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 3.2 Reading: Project Gutenberg: David Ricardo’s Principles of Political Economy and Taxation

    Link: Project Gutenberg: David Ricardo’s Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (PDF)
     
    Also available in:
    Google Books
    EPUB

    Instructions: Read Principles of Political Economy and Taxation. This reading is lengthy, so it is recommended that you break up the assigned reading over the course of one or two weeks. This text provides a fundamental framework for describing a wide range of economic activities. Ricardo’s labor theory of value, for example, explains the concept of comparative advantage and specialization of labor. These concepts can be applied to free trade among nations or to the division of household labor. Staunch capitalists often cite Ricardo and his work as evidence of the power of free markets. Curiously, Marxists and communists have also pointed to Ricardo’s work to justify their own theories. The flexibility of his theory is a testament to his timeless contribution to economics.  
     
    As you read, consider the following study questions: How does Ricardo assign value to labor and his description of how taxation affects well-being? In what ways does Ricardo cite Smith in his text?
     
    Reading this text and answering the study questions should take approximately 18 hours.
     
    Terms of Use: Principles of Political Economy and Taxation is in the public domain. 

  • 3.3 Reading: Jeremy Bentham’s An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation: “Preface and Chapters 1–5”

    Link: Jeremy Bentham’s An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation: “Preface and Chapters 1–5” (PDF)
     
    Also available in:
    EPUB
     
    Instructions: Read the preface and the first five chapters of Bentham’s An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation on pages 1–26. Bentham was a contemporary of Smith. Note how Bentham introduces the concept of utility as it relates to human perception. His later works, particularly The Rationale of Reward (1825) and The Rationale of Punishment (1830), go on to detail a type of calculus for measuring individual and social happiness. These form the basis for much of modern economic thought on choice theory and utility.
     
    Reading the preface and these chapters should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation is in the public domain. 

  • 3.4.2 Reading: Karl Marx’s A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy: “Preface”

    Link: Karl Marx’s A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy: “Preface” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the preface from Karl Marx’s A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, written in 1859. This reading constitutes a sketch of Marx’s framework for historical materialism. He argues that the nature of a society’s economic structure depends upon the degree of development of the productive forces or means of production, meaning human labor conjoined with technology. The nature of the economic structure explains the relations of production or superstructure, meaning the political and legal institutions of society. Revolution occurs, however, when the forces of production are stifled by the superstructure, which is replaced by a structure better suited to preside over the continued development of the forces of production.
     
    Reading the preface should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy is in the public domain.

  • 3.4.3 Reading: Karl Marx’s A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy: “Part 1: The Commodity”

    Link: Karl Marx’s A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy“Part 1: The Commodity” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read part 1 of Marx’s A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. Marx begins by establishing two necessary conditions for commodity production: a market and a social division of labor where people make different things. For Marx, commodities both have a use-value and an exchange-value or price, but it is the latter which is problematic. In coming to understand why one commodity is priced differently than another, Marx derives his labor theory of value.

    Reading this section should take approximately 1 hour.

    Terms of Use: A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy is in the public domain.

  • 3.4.4 Reading: Karl Marx’s Capital, volume III, part III: “Chapter 14: Counteracting Influences”

    Link: Karl Marx’s Capital, volume III, part III: “Chapter 14: Counteracting Influences” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read chapter 14 of Marx’s Capital. Marx shows the effects of his law that within a capitalist economic structure, the tendency of the rate of profit must fall. This leads to increasing intensity of exploitation as well as other effects that contribute to the downfall of capitalism.
     
    Reading this chapter should take approximately 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Capital is in the public domain.

  • 3.4.4 Reading: Karl Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Programme: “Part IV”

    Link: Karl Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Programme: “Part IV” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read part 4 of Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Programme. Marx describes the transitions from a capitalist to a socialist to a communist society, and he describes communism as a society in which each person should contribute according to their ability and receive according to their need.
     
    Reading this section should take approximately 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Critique of the Gotha Programme is in the public domain.

  • 3.5 Reading: Jean-Baptiste Say’s A Treatise on Political Economy: “Of the Right of Property” and “Of the Demand or Market for Products”

    Link: Jean-Baptiste Say’s A Treatise on Political Economy: “Of the Right of Property” (PDF) and “Of the Demand or Market for Products” (PDF)
     
    Also available in:
    EPUB (“Of the Right of Property”)
    EPUB and Kindle (“Of the Demand or Market for Products”)
     
    Instructions: Select the EBook PDF links to download the PDF files of these chapters. Read these two chapters from Say’s Treatise on Political Economy. Say, referred to as the French David Ricardo, is most commonly known for Say’s law, which comes in a variety of formulations but generically as supply creates its own demand, a concept that is not appreciated in its complexity when taken out of context.
     
    Reading these chapters should take approximately 1 hour.
     
    Terms of Use: A Treatise on Political Economy is in the public domain.

  • 3.6 Reading: The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis: Madeline Christensen’s “Cement to Our Union: Hamilton’s Economic Vision”

    Link: The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis: Madeline Christensen’s “Cement to Our Union: Hamilton’s Economic Vision” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this brief essay on the economic views of Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson and the effect of those ideas on the drafting of the US Constitution and the antagonists’ subsequent public service. Generally speaking, Hamilton followed contemporary British thought, whereas Jefferson considered himself to be a French Physiocrat.
     
    Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 3.6 Reading: Alexander Hamilton’s The Federalist

    Link: Alexander Hamilton’s The Federalist (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the following sections from The Federalist: “1. General Introduction,” “12. The Utility of the Union with Respect to Revenue,” “13. Advantage of the Union in Respect to Economy in Government,” and “30–36 General Power of Taxation.” The entries from The Federalist provide an insight into Hamilton’s economic and political views with regard to taxation, national debt, trade, and a strong federal government.
     
    Reading these articles should take approximately 2 hours.
     
    Terms of Use: The Federalist is in the public domain.

  • 4.1.1 Reading: William Stanley Jevons’s “Brief Account of a General Mathematical Theory of Political Economy”

    Link: William Stanley Jevons’s “Brief Account of a General Mathematical Theory of Political Economy” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this article by Jevons. Active in the late 19th and early 20th century England, Jevons was one of the early pioneers of the marginal revolution in economics, using a marginalist method for analyzing questions relating to the theories of value and distribution and later to theories of money, fluctuations, income determination, and growth.
     
    Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: “Brief Account of a General Mathematical Theory of Political Economy” is in the public domain.

  • 4.1.1 Reading: Alfred Marshall’s Principles of Economics

    Link: Alfred Marshall’s Principles of Economics (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read book 1, book 3, chapter 13 of book 4, and book 5 of Alfred Marshall’s Principles of Economics. Marshall provides a substantial exposition for the marginal revolution in economics, using a marginalist method for analyzing questions relating to the theories of value and distribution and later to theories of money, fluctuations, income determination, and growth.  

    Reading these books should take approximately 9 hours.
     
    Terms of Use: Principles of Economics is in the public domain.

  • 4.1.1 Reading: Arthur Cecil Pigou’s The Economics of Welfare: “Preface and Part I: Welfare and the National Dividend”

    Link: Arthur Cecil Pigou’s The Economics of Welfare: “Preface and Part I: Welfare and the National Dividend” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read the preface and part 1 of The Economics of Welfare. Pigou, Marshall’s successor at Cambridge University, elaborates on Marshall’s views. Pigou is well known for his work on externalities and the Pigouvian tax, which was intended to cover the social costs of a market activity not covered by the private cost of an activity – an example being environmental pollution.  
     
    Reading the preface and part 1 should take approximately 4 hours.
     
    Terms of Use: The Economics of Welfare is in the public domain.

  • 4.1.2 Reading: Irving Fisher’s Translation of Léon Walras’s “Geometrical Theory of the Determination of Prices”

    Link: Irving Fisher’s Translation of Léon Walras’s “Geometrical Theory of the Determination of Prices” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read the article, “Geometrical Theory of the Determination of Prices,” which provides a graphical representation of general equilibrium theory initially put forth in the form of Walras’s 1874 work, Elements of Pure Economics. Walras was the first economist to construct a complete general equilibrium model encompassing exchange, production, consumption, capital formation, and money. He specified the interrelations between these phenomena, studied their disequilibrium behavior, and described their conditions of equilibrium.
     
    Reading this article should take approximately 1 hour.
     
    Terms of Use: “Geometrical Theory of the Determination of Prices” is in the public domain.

  • 4.1.2 Reading: Journal of Political Economy 5, no. 4: Vilfredo Pareto’s “The New Theories of Economics”

    Link: Journal of Political Economy 5, no. 4: Vilfredo Pareto’s “The New Theories of Economics” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read Pareto’s article, “The New Theories of Economics.” Pareto improved Walras’s comprehensive model and developed his own original theories. He agreed with Walras that the scope of pure economic theory is limited to facts and relationships where free will does not play a part and that the methods of positive science should be used in the study of all aspects of economics and of human behavior generally.
     
    Reading this article should take approximately 1 hour.
     
    Terms of Use: “The New Theories of Economics” is in the public domain.

  • 4.1.2 Reading: The Economic Journal 30, no. 117: Gustav Cassel’s “Further Observations on the World’s Monetary Problem”

    Link: The Economic Journal 30, no. 117: Gustav Cassel’s “Further Observations on the World’s Monetary Problem” (PDF)

    Instructions: Read Cassel’s article, “Further Observations on the World’s Monetary Problem.” Cassel used Walras’s conception of general economic equilibrium as a basis for his work and carried a number of the specific constructions of Walras and Pareto forward in the stream of economic studies.
     
    Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: “Further Observations on the World’s Monetary Problem” is in the public domain.

  • 4.2 Reading: John Maynard Keynes’s The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money

    Link: John Maynard Keynes’s The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read Keynes’s The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money. Keynes was an influential British economist in the early 20th century. His work focuses on how to use government resources to manage the business cycle and smooth out the booms and busts of industrial economies. The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money describes methods to manage and guide national production. Trade is an important part of economic growth and fluctuates similarly to national economic cycles. Think about how the economy cycles and its impact on unemployment and well-being.
     
    Reading this text should take approximately 7 hours.
     
    Terms of Use: The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money is in the public domain. 

  • 4.2 Reading: Friedrich von Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom

    Link: Friedrich von Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom. Friedrich von Hayek was an Austrian economist spending most of his career at the London School of Economics and the University of Chicago. Published in 1944, The Road to Serfdom is primarily an attack against centrally-planned economies. Hayek thought that government has a role to play with regard to the monetary system, labor regulation, and institutions to foster and protect freedom of information among other issues and principles.
     
    Reading this text should take approximately 4 hours.
     
    Terms of Use: The Road to Serfdom is in the public domain. 

  • 4.3.1 Reading: New World Encyclopedia: “Institutional Economics”, “The Keynesian Economics”, and “Chicago School (Economics)”

    Link: New World Encyclopedia: “Institutional Economics” (HTML), “The Keynesian Economics” (HTML), and “Chicago School (Economics)” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read these three encyclopedic entries, which give a synopsis of institutional economics, Keynesian economics, and its antithetical counterpart, the Chicago school. The latter developed primarily out of the Economics Department at the University of Chicago in the 1950s and is associated primarily with the work of one of its founders, Milton Friedman. Keynesian thought fully took hold both academically and practically after WWII; the influx of government war spending provided very strong evidence for Keynes theory vis-à-vis the Depression. For the “Keynesian Economics” reading, pay particular attention to the sections titled “Developments after Keynes” and “Legacy.”
     
    Reading these articles should take approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: These articles are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. The original New World Encyclopedia versions can be found here, here, and here, respectively.

  • 4.3.2 Reading: The National Bureau of Economic Research: Milton Friedman and Anna J. Schwartz’s “The Role of Money”

    Link: The National Bureau of Economic Research: Milton Friedman and Anna J. Schwartz’s “The Role of Money” (PDF)

    Instructions: Read this article, “The Role of Money,” for insight into 20th century monetarist economic thought.
     
    Reading this article should take approximately 45 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 4.3.2 Reading: The University of Chicago Magazine: Michael Fitzgerald’s “Chicago Schooled”

    Link: The University of Chicago Magazine: Michael Fitzgerald’s “Chicago Schooled” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: You received a brief introduction to the Chicago school of thought in subunit 4.3.1. Read this article on the Chicago school, which developed out of the Economics Department of the University of Chicago. From the 1950s onward, the Chicago school was primarily associated with the theory and framework surrounding monetary policy as developed by Milton Friedman.
     
    Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 4.3.3 Reading: The Saylor Foundation’s “General Equilibrium Theory: Theory vs. Praxis”

    Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “General Equilibrium Theory: Theory vs. Praxis” (PDF)

    Instructions: Read this essay on developments from the interwar period to the present day associated with the central framework behind neoclassical economic thought in the form of general equilibrium theory.

    Reading this essay should take approximately 1 hour.