Talk:History of economic thought/Draft

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 Definition the historical development of economic thinking. [d] [e]
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 Workgroup categories Economics and History [Categories OK]
 Talk Archive 1  English language variant American English

Chicago school

The Chicago school is probably the single most important source of economic thought in recent decades, as proven by all those Nobel prizes (and reaffirmed by obits of Friedman this year). It's impossible to omit--we had it covered in two sections (monetarism and micro). 07:42, 24 October 2007 (CDT)

I do not intend to omit it, but I think that it deserves a less cursory treatment, so I intend to replace the existing test with an entry that will (I hope) do it justice. Nick Gardner 11:41, 24 October 2007 (CDT)

Please don't delete work without talking it over first. CZ has strict rules about that. Richard Jensen 23:14, 24 October 2007 (CDT)
I understand Nick to mean that he will ADD to the content, but perhaps he means something more complex. If there is any doubt, Nick, just paste the proposed new text here for approval. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 23:18, 24 October 2007 (CDT)
I would not really worry about losing anything to what someone adds. Everything is there in the history. Stephen Ewen 04:15, 25 October 2007 (CDT)

I'm sorry: I have not made myself clear. I propose to give due weight to the contributions of members of the Chicago School, including Friedman, Coase and Stigler, (noting their membership of the School in each case) at various points in the sections on the neoclassicals and the monetarists (and I have been wondering whether to do a "New Classical" paragraph, giving them yet more weight). I shall not delete a word of the existing paragraph about the Chicago School until all of that is done, and I shall then invite views as to whether that paragraph is worth retaining. Nick Gardner 09:57, 25 October 2007 (CDT)

i suggest that the Chicago School is so cohesive and so important it needs it own section in any case. Richard Jensen 12:35, 25 October 2007 (CDT)


I have nothing further to add to this article. Nick Gardner 07:56, 10 November 2007 (CST)

I was wrong - I needed to add a paragraph on financial economics. Having done so, I think the article is complete and ready for approval..Nick Gardner 05:18, 31 March 2008 (CDT)


Are there any diagrams illustrating any concepts that can be created for this article? --Robert W King 15:03, 8 January 2008 (CST)

I hope to add diagrams to the articles to which this article is linked. I think they will be too numerous to replicate here. Nick Gardner 05:21, 31 March 2008 (CDT)

Naming system

The article naming system (or lack thereof) on this project makes my head spin. I seem to recall lots of articles of the form "Foo, History of", but here we have "History of foo". Most confusing. J. Noel Chiappa 12:08, 31 March 2008 (CDT)

This is the result of a long-standing dispute between Larry and Richard Jensen. We have taken the "Larry approach" here! Martin Baldwin-Edwards 16:21, 31 March 2008 (CDT)


Many of the links in this article are to encyclopedias. I don't understand the point of that. Furthermore, most of the citations are not to sources that back up the claims made in the article, but to online editions, encyclopedias, or institutions. Shouldn't those sorts of references be moved to the external links page? Russell D. Jones 13:45, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

I have no views about this, so I would be content with alternatives that are considered more helpful to the reader. Nick Gardner 18:57, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Classical Economics

The paragraph on Smith says that he "identified what he considered to be the economic drawbacks of all forms of taxation" without telling us what he thought those "drawbacks" were. In the paragraph on Malthus, it says "Evidence in support of his postulates was lacking at the time and they have since been found to be mistaken." By whom and when was Malthus found to be mistaken? Russell D. Jones 13:33, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

I see no need to extend the text by repeating Smith's analysis of the effects of taxation: it is readily accessible to the interested reader. As to the observed departures from Malthus' postulates, I am inclined to suppose that the increase in agricultural productivity (which he leaves out of account) is a matter of general knowledge. Nick Gardner 19:23, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Financial economics

Since this article was drafted, some highly critical analysis of the cited work on financial and monetary economics has emerged. I hope to add some reference to it in due course - unless someone else has already done so by then.Nick Gardner 19:57, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

bargained away

"He examined the relation of price to value and concluded that the “natural price” of a product was the same as its cost of production, and that divergences from it would eventually be bargained away"

What does it mean? (Chunbum Park 08:55, 9 March 2012 (UTC))

Adam Smith devotes many hundreds of words to his explanation of this, which you can consult at page 36. I can think of no better way of summarising his argument. Nick Gardner 11:12, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
I also have hard time understanding this statement:
"This postulate reflected the belief that money plays no part in the functioning of the economy beyond its role as a medium of exchange because it would be irrational to acquire money savings and so forfeit real benefits in terms of consumption or investment."
(Chunbum Park 08:59, 9 March 2012 (UTC))
I am not sure what part of the sentence causes you difficulty. When he says that money is nothing but a medium of exchange, Say is arguing that people use money only for buying things (including stocks and bonds). He justifies that assertion by arguing that it would be foolish to hold money out of circulation because that would mean needlessly going without things (or without dividends or interest). He took no account of the precautionary and speculative motives for holding on to money that were later identified by Keynes, and are essential to the understanding of macroeconomics. Does this help? Nick Gardner 11:39, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes it helps. Thank you very much. (Chunbum Park 14:00, 9 March 2012 (UTC))

Lede sentence

Nick, the lede sentence reads:

"Modern economic thought is generally considered to have originated in the late eighteenth century with the work of David Hume and Adam Smith, and the foundation of classical economics."

The 'and' clause at the end of the sentence seems to hang there. Do you mean:

"Modern economic thought is generally considered to have originated in the late eighteenth century with the work of David Hume and Adam Smith, the founders of classical economics."

Or something else? —Anthony.Sebastian 23:13, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

The latter certainly reads better. I'll change it. Thanks Anthony. Nick Gardner 06:48, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

Question of target audience

Nick, I believe History of economic thought is ready for me to start the Approval Process. But before I do, I want to get your thoughts on the target audience, i.e., the qualifications of the readership who could best follow the narrative or benefit the most from reading/studying the article.

It seems to me that if you could articulate your thoughts on that, a brief statement to that effect up front, as we did for the Alcmaeon of Croton article, say, would add perspective value to the article.

What do you think? —Anthony.Sebastian 01:48, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

I think it's an excellent idea. I will give it some thought. I will also consider an update and expansion of the final paragraph. I'll deal with both sometime next week. Nick Gardner 07:30, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Great. I'll keep track, and we can decide together when to Start the Approval Process.  —Anthony.Sebastian 21:31, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Re issue of target audience, how about something like this for a header:
This article targets readers who are familiar with the basic principles of economics, and those with advanced knowledge of economics. For further pursuit of the topic, the article provides guidelines, in the Main Article and its references, in the annotated references on the Bibliography subpage, and the material in the other subpages.

Just a suggestion for you to modify as you see fit.  —Anthony.Sebastian 15:13, 19 March 2012 (UTC), Approval Manager
I like your target audience textbox. Well done. Do you want to keep it there, within the lede, or above the lede, as in Alcmaeon of Croton? Anthony.Sebastian 03:39, 20 March 2012 (UTC)
Glad you like it. I had not seen your suggestion (our lines crossed). I've moved it up. Nick Gardner 08:42, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Nearly done!

A lot of economic water has flowed under the bridge since I started work on this article in 2007. I have tried to capture its essence in a new paragraph headed "recent developments". I want to spend a few days mulling it over, though, because I'm not convinced that I've got it right. In the meantime I should welcome comments on its clarity and intelligibility.

I have removed all links to the "history of pre-classical economic thought" because I am not convinced of its authenticity. I may reconsider when I have time.

Apart from the last paragraph, and (perhaps) some minor tweaks elsewhere, I've done with the main text, but I need to spend a little time on the subpages.

Nick Gardner 09:43, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Nick, in today's version, I found broken links at refs 55, 60, 83. I haven't checked above ref 55 yet.  —Anthony.Sebastian 21:19, 20 March 2012 (UTC), Approval Manager
A lot of the links that were put in in 2007/8 are now broken. I have repaired some and deleted others. Nick Gardner 10:33, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

I now plan to await comments before doing anything more to this article. Nick Gardner 22:25, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Shall I start the Approval Process, with a call for review? Anthony.Sebastian 14:21, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes please. Nick Gardner 17:37, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

Approval Process: Approval certified

Call for review: Nick Gardner 09:43, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Call for Approval: Anthony.Sebastian 23:11, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

Approval notice: Revision as of 07:34, 15 April 2012 Anthony.Sebastian 21:30, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

Certification of Approval: Revision as of 07:34, 15 April 2012 Anthony.Sebastian 14:24, 18 April 2012 (UTC)

Please discuss the article below, under 'Comments'. (History of economic thought/Approval is for brief official referee's only!)


Timelines subpage: 1742 link incorrect. Anthony.Sebastian 23:32, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

Corrected.Nick Gardner 06:57, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

In Revision as of 06:43, 22 March 2012, the following links did not work for me: refs 25,26,30,40. Anthony.Sebastian 22:05, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

Fixed Nick Gardner 06:55, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

The article looks great! Small grammatical, typographical changes suggested as per summary edit box notes. --Maria Cuervo 00:23, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

(Sorry to interrupt. I have tried to simplify some of Richard Jensen's more convoluted sentences in the early paragraphs.)Nick Gardner 06:53, 24 March 2012 (UTC)
Nick - for some reason the summary notes of some of my edits did not show up in the history for your article. Basically, there were some extra letters in Adam Smith and Marx sections. Marx was missing two letters and some spaces between words. I notice you already saw and dealt with the changes in "Other." Another thing - when I was editing I realized that there is a connection of some of these figures and philosophy, which is my area. For example Marx, whose philosophical thought I sometimes teach to undergraduate students. Although I am not an economist I am certainly willing to at least look at your articles grammatically and in general (since you did mention a lack of editors). Also, I would certainly be interested in editing or contributing to pages involving philosophical figures that intersect with your interest area (but I would keep to the philosophical parts). For example, I am very much interested in Marx's work on the 18th Brumaire. Maria Cuervo 16:20, 24 March 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for your help, Maria. I should be happy to collaborate with you on articles on people who have contributed to both economics and philosophy. We might start by doing repair or rewrite jobs on the more inadequate of the existing articles (the Karl Marx article, for example - which virtually ignores his contributions to philosophy and economics!). I'll give it some thought and make some suggestions on your talk page. Nick Gardner 07:43, 26 March 2012 (UTC)

It seems like a great I article, but I have a hard time understanding some passages as discussed above. (Chunbum Park 02:19, 27 March 2012 (UTC))

I have rephrased the passages to which you refer.Nick Gardner 10:40, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

+++++ Comments from User:Roger A. Lohmann:

This article looks suitable for approval to me; as with a number of other examples, we might leave the sub pages unapproved at this point, and continue to develop them. Economists are a contentious lot and there will always be points that someone or other will wish to challenge, but from the standpoint of an editor and economic fellow-traveler, I think this article does a nice job of emphasizing what needs to be emphasized. The article is also a good starting point (one of several, I expect) to a broad and growing range of additional topics explored under this heading.

The Related Articles page does not appear at first to be as complete as it might be, but the suite is constructed in such a way that subsidiary pages do the heavy lifting. The top links to Economic Glossary and Economic Topics open to a cornucopia of related pages, but this may not be immediately clear to a new reader. Perhaps a brief note of explanation of those two might make them more accessible?

The bibliography page isn't anywhere near complete, but it does offer an undergraduate (is that still our focus?) a good selection of readings to explore.

The timelines page is a start, but with three entries for the period since Alfred Marshall in 1890, it isn't very complete. It might be interesting to include major economic events such as depressions, recessions, Nobel prizes, the development of new subfields, and other such information as well. And it isn't clear that the numbers in brackets are the best way to convey that these are links to copies/exerpts from the cited works.

There is also a timelines page format somewhere.... I used it on the Civil Society timeline, for example. It would add to the appearance of this timelines page.

That said, I support the main article for immediate approval. +++++

Thank you Roger. I accept that I have given insufficient attention to the subpages, and I will now set about repairing their deficiencies. As you suggest, approval of the main page need not be held up until that has been done, since it has no links to subpages, and should be understandable without them. Nick Gardner 07:52, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
I have made some improvements to the subpages, and I am content that they are being considered for approval along with the main page.Nick Gardner 07:52, 16 April 2012 (UTC)


As a non-expert, I wonder if this is really a summary of the history of economic thought in general. It rather looks like a history of Anglosaxon economic thought -- what about continental Europe, or non-Western thought? What Mathematical economics is the application of mathematical methods to represent economic theories and analyze problems posed in economics
I do not criticize the article as such, and do not doubt that it is approvable. But I suspect that a more restrictive title would be more suitable. --Peter Schmitt 23:46, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

Economics lacks the regional dimension that you suspect the article of reflecting. Contributions from thinkers in Britain and America (such as Keynes and Friedman) are interwoven with contributions from thinkers in Germany (such as Karl Marx}, in France (such as Jean-Baptiste Say), in Italy (such as Vilfredo Pareto) - (all of which are referred to in the article) - and elsewhere. So there is no such thing as Anglosaxon economic thought - any more than there is (say) Anglosaxon chemical thought. There are many Japanese economists too (not mentioned in the article), but I don't believe that any of them would recognise the concept of "non-Western economic thought". As to mathematical economics, Wikipedia describes it as " the application of mathematical methods to represent economic theories and analyze problems posed in economics". Mathematics has indeed figured in the development of economics, as it has to the development of physics and astronomy and other disciplines. The models referred to in the paragraph on financial economics are, of course, mathematical models. Mathematics has contributed to economics, but there is no distinct "mathematical economics" segment of the discipline with an existence that is distinguishable from the aspects of the discipline to which it has been applied .
The scope of the article is the same as that of the standard textbooks and university courses on the subject. I am confident that the existing title will convey that expectation to students and to others with some acquaintance with economics. Nick Gardner 07:28, 18 April 2012 (UTC)
Thank you, Nick, for your explanations. I trust your judgement. The reasons for my comment: I only browsed the article but, of course, I noticed that Marx was included. On the other hand, while the "Austrian school" is mentioned, too, only the Chicago school is treated. And I missed names I happen to know (Carl Menger, John Nash), but perphaps they do not belong in an overview like this. --Peter Schmitt 11:44, 18 April 2012 (UTC)