Friday, October 31, 2008

Economics, U.S. History and the Current Economy

I suspect those of you who are teaching U.S. History use the current economy as an illustration in class. Most people are busy drawing parallels to the Great Depression, but if you want to dig deeper, I've provided links below to some interesting articles that you can use to draw parallels to various events in the 19th century, rather than restrict yourself to the 20th.

And while I'm sure you can find issues to debate in each article (I did); they give the students a sense of the value of studying history - and how economic understanding can offer another view.

Have a good weekend.

Does This Happen Often? by John Steele Gordon

Panics and Politics also by John Steele Gordon

A Short Banking History of the United States also by John Steele Gordon

The Real Great Depression by Scott Reynolds Nelson


Laura Harrison said...

Hate to be a bore, but I think that we aren't done with trying to understand the parallels (if any) with the Great Depression and today, and with understanding what Keynes was all about so that we can be clear what we mean in advocating or opposing a comeback for Keynes/Keynesian economics. I'd like to encourage folks to get out their copies of Skidelsky or Moggridge's biograghies of keynes, or Markwell's book on Keynes and international economic relations, or even Roy Harrod's old hagiography of Keynes. Of course, these books don't just help us to think about the Great Depression. Markwell's starts with Keynes growing up with the old liberal idea that free trade promotes peace - pretty relevant to the age of globalisation, and our urgent need to fight protectionism now.

Tim Schilling said...


Sorry it's taken me a while to respond.

I agree that the Skidelsky bio is a very good way to get introduced to Keynes. While it's three-volume length is imposing, it offers much.

I also would suggest that some of the more intrepid readers might want to tackle the The General Theory. Keynes was a clear writer. And after reading it, many people find that real Keynesian economics is not what most of us think it is - seems most politicians only read (or heard about) part of the book.