History of Economics (Safe) History of the economy (Dangerous) History of thinking about the economy (Keyne’s scribblers) John Maynard Keynes
History of Economics
(Safe) History of the economy
(Dangerous) History of thinking about the economy
"The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed, the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, 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…. But, soon or late, it is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil…"
How does our present world economy come about?
Why are things the way they are?
Leviathan: The basic building blocks of a non-Hobbesian world:
A list of dead white men (deal with it!): the classicalists:
(this is a partial list)
(Marx and Engels)
Marx and Engels
Keynes and FDR
Korea and Vietnam
European social democracy
Coase and company
The Clinton compromise
1944: Bretton Woods: The great compromise
(These are large households)
Property is a part of the household, and the art of acquiring property is a part of the art of managing the household; for no man can live well, or indeed live at all, unless he be provided with necessaries. And as in the arts which have a definite sphere the workers must have their own proper instruments for the accomplishment of their work, so it is in the management of a household. Now instruments are of various sorts; some are living, others lifeless; in the rudder, the pilot of a ship has a lifeless, in the look-out man, a living instrument; for in the arts the servant is a kind of instrument. Thus, too, a possession is an instrument for maintaining life. And so, in the arrangement of the family, a slave is a living possession, and property a number of such instruments; and the servant is himself an instrument which takes precedence of all other instruments.
… Hence some persons are led to believe that getting wealth is the object of household management, and the whole idea of their lives is that they ought either to increase their money without limit, or at any rate not to lose it. The origin of this disposition in men is that they are intent upon living only, and not upon living well; and, as their desires are unlimited they also desire that the means of gratifying them should be without limit.
…so, too, in this art of wealth-getting there is no limit of the end, which is riches of the spurious kind, and the acquisition of wealth. But the art of wealth-getting which consists in household management, on the other hand, has a limit; the unlimited acquisition of wealth is not its business.
An Open Field Village
Source: Cloughall College, UK
The Baron’s way of life: A Norman Keep
Castle Hedingham, Halstead, Essex.
Castle Hedingham, Halstead, Essex
King John: A weak and fearful man, but a tyrannical one
Peter of Langtoft, 'Chronicle of England'. This manuscript was probably written and illuminated during the reign of Edward II (1307-1327).
From Magna Carta:
28. No constable or other bailiff of ours shall take corn or other provisions from anyone without immediately tendering money therefor, unless he can have postponement thereof by permission of the seller.
30. No sheriff or bailiff of ours, or other person, shall take the horses or carts of any freeman for transport duty, against the will of the said freeman.
31. Neither we nor our bailiffs shall take, for our castles or for any other work of ours, wood which is not ours, against the will of the owner of that wood.
More from Magna Carta:
36. Nothing in future shall be given or taken for awrit of inquisition of life or limbs, but freely it shall be granted, and never denied.
39. No freemen shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him nor send upon him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.
40. To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice.
Medieval woodcut: doctor lances a plague “buboe” on a patient, providing an element of relief. Of course, this is very dangerous for the physician
Open fields after enclosure:
Source: Northumberland and Durham county councils
Reconstructed medieval house, West Stow, Suffolk
“Hundreds of English villages were abandoned during the Black Death. This is the village of Middle Ditchford in Gloucestershire. You can see the outlines of the buildings.”
Medieval Enclosures and Previous Field System
Source: Aerial Archeology in Essex
Source: Stephen Butt Great Glen website
…northern industrialists and their conscripted workers vs. southern aristocrats and their conscripted slaves and workers
Author Kevin Phillips: The “Cousin’s Wars” are actually One Big Long War
The English Civil War; The protestant North, for the merchant middle class and against feudal slavery versus the aristocratic South, for the aristocrats and to protect feudal rights
The Revolutionary War; The protestant North and thearistocratic South, for self-government and against monarchical control
3) The America Civil War: The protestant North, for the industrial owner classes and against slavery versus thearistocratic South, for the plantation holders and to protect state’s rights
From Old Ashburn Scenes, Ashburnweb.com
Source: Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet: Sheffield, Yorkshire
The Tilt Forge Wheel
Source: Shepherd Wheel: Sheffield, Yorkshire
The Grinding Workshop
Forge sites on Sheffield rivers
“Sea Coal” Photo: Glen Smart
This town of Sheffield is very populous and large, the streets narrow, and the houses dark and black, occasioned by the continued smoke of the forges which are always at work.
Here they make all sorts of cutlery-ware, but especially that of edge tools, knives, razors, axes etc. and nails; and here the only mill of the sort, which was in use in England for some time, was set up, for turning their grindstones.
The manufacture of hard ware is ... much increased... and they talk of 30000 men employed in the whole.
from A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain by Daniel Defoe published in 1724