History of Economic Thought

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
ECON 2418
History of Economic Thought
Commerce & Business Administration
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
15 Weeks X 4 Hours per Week = 60 Hours
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Lecture: 3 Hours Seminar: 1 Hour Total: 4 Hours
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

Lecture and Seminar.

Course Description
The ideas of economists, such as Adam Smith, Karl Marx and J.M. Keynes, have shaped and challenged our understanding of the forces that regulate economic society. An examination of these ideas will provide the student a framework within which one can derive and apply the main tools -- or principles -- of economic analysis. Special attention is placed on understanding the nature of capitalism and how changes in the social, political and economic environment affected the evolution of economic thought.
Course Content
  1. Scarcity, choice and opportunity cost
  2. Pre-Capitalist Europe
  3. The Mercantilists
  4. Francois Quesnay and the Physiocrats
  5. Adam Smith and the Classicists (Ricardo and Malthus)

The Industrial Revolution

  1. John Stuart Mill and the Socialists
  2. Marx's critique of Capitalism
  3. Marshall and the Neoclassicists (Walras, Menger and Jevons)

The development of Microeconomics

  1. Veblen and the Evolutionists (Galbraith)
  2. John Maynard Keynes and 'Guided' Capitalism
    • The development of Macroeconomics
  3. Schumpeter
    • 'Paradise Lost'
  4. Friedman
    • 'Paradise Regained'
Learning Outcomes

To provide students with an understanding of alternative approaches to the study of fundamental economic issues, theory and analysis.

At the end of the course, the student will be able to:

  1. develop and apply the main tools ('principles' or 'laws') of economic analysis.
  2. demonstrate an understanding of the interaction between society's ongoing economic, social and political development and the evolution of economic doctrine.
  3. define and analyse the theoretical and ideological differences between the Classical, Neoclassical, Marxist and Keynesian schools of thought.
Means of Assessment
Term Test(s) 30% - 70%
Assignments and/or Papers   0% - 35%
Final Exam 30% - 40%
Participation and/or Quizzes        0% - 10%
Total         100%


Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students


The main text is to be chosen from the following, as determined by the instructor:

Canterbery, E. Ray.  The Making of Economics, Latest Ed.  Belmont, California:  Wadsworth Publishing Company.

Hunt, E.K.  History of Economic Thought.  A Critical Perspective, Latest Ed.

Hunt, E.K. and H.J. Sherman.  Economics, Latest Ed.  New York:  Harper and Row.

Landreth, Harry and David C. Colander.  History of Economic Thought, Latest Ed.  Toronto:  Houghton Mifflin Company.

Oser, Jacob and Stanley L. Brue.  The Evolution of Economic Thought, Latest Ed.  Toronto:  Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.


Supplementary materials may be chosen from the following, as determined by the instructor:

Barber, William J.  A History of Economic Thought, Latest Ed.  Harmondsworth:  Penguin.

Fusfeld, Daniel R.  The Age of the Economist, Latest Ed.  Glenview Illinois:  Scott, Foresman/Little, Brown Higher Education.  New York:  Harper Coltus.

Heilbroner, Robert L.  The Worldly Philosphers,  Latest Ed.  New York:  Simon and Schuster Inc.

Ibsen.  Four Great Plays by Ibsen.

Orwell.  Animal Farm.

Voltaire.  Candide.