This course will consider the history of political economy as a history of economic and political discourses from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. It will situate what it takes to be an early modern innovation with reference to ancient precedents, which will be briefly examined. Given this long span, it will obviously be highly selective in treating discursive and theoretical issues of major importance. The focus will be on three themes: the transformation of the ancient vocabulary of polis and oikos into the modern vocabulary of civil society (or economy) and state; the emergence of the concept of the self-equilibrating economy in the eighteenth century, and subsequent controversies over its normative underpinnings; the rise and fall of classical political economy and its relation to its successor schools, nineteenth-century marginalism and twenty-century welfare economics. Readings will consist mainly of original works by central figures in this historical tradition.
This is a cross-listed/room-shared course with the Law and Political Science Departments. Students may enroll through Law (Law 217.1) or Political Science (PS 211 Sec 002). The first class will meet on Thursday, August 22. Note, this course follows the Law School's Academic Calendar. (https://www.law.berkeley.edu/php-programs/courses/academic_calendars.php)
Instructor: Professor David Grewal