Read The Penguin History of Economics by Roger E. Backhouse Free Online
Book Title: The Penguin History of Economics|
The author of the book: Roger E. Backhouse
Edition: Penguin UK
Date of issue: January 31st 2002
ISBN 13: 9780140260427
Loaded: 2129 times
Reader ratings: 6.5
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 882 KB
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The introduction to The Penguin History of Economics raises two issues about the subject which are useful to remember in the subsequent read. The first is that there is no universally accepted definition of the subject and the second is that any contributor to the history of economics will pick and choose which works and writers are important.
Backhouse chooses a broad definition of economics encompassing the philosophic, sociological and psychological aspects of the discipline. His story traces the history of economic thought from ancient Greece to the modern world. As you would expect economic contributors such as Smith and Riccardo are covered but this book also explores the ideas of the less well known. Many of those discussed, while making substantial contributions to the subject are thought by the wider world to be practitioners of a different art. Unbeknownst to me philosophers such as Aristotle and books such as the bible forayed into the world of economics and their findings have influences even today. As such the emphasis is on how different subjects have influenced economics, most obviously the political situation such as the needs of a nation at war but also some economists love of physics and their desire to transform economics into a comparable subject. This framework is also used to explore the substantial contribution that economics has had on the world.
The book is well written and exciting, its methodology allows a broader view of the subject than many people care to admit exists. This however comes with a price, at just under 350 pages there is not enough space to cover every development substantially and the work sometimes suffers because of it. While this book is defined as accessible it would be a benefit to have some prior knowledge of very basic economic theory. Most concepts are explained well in text, some of them in a better manner than I have seen elsewhere there is the notable exception of the idea of demand increases affect the price of a good. This is elementary economics and I suspect this is the reason why no explanation was given but if you don't know then you don't know.
Overall I feel that the Penguin History of Economics largely succeeded in its aims and I was able to obtain from it the majority of what I needed. The book provides a substantial further reading section that I will with out a doubt be taking advantage of, this is an interesting subject with more complexity that I fist imagined possible.
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