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History of Economic Thought

Course Code: ECON 2418
Faculty: Commerce & Business Administration
Department: Economics
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 Weeks X 4 Hours per Week = 60 Hours
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

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'

Methods of Instruction

Lecture and Seminar.

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%


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.

course prerequisites

ECON 1150 and ECON 1250

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.