Introductory aspects of the International Economic History Course
General aspects[edit | edit source]
Economic history analyses and makes intelligible the evolution of the economy over the long term. Any question in history can be dealt with from the perspective of economic history.
If we are interested in developing the material conditions of our existence, the material conditions play an important role in the form of present societies.
We are interested in the facts, the characters and the course of events. However, our main objective is to order and structure them in order to better explain the mixture of the usual and the novelty that constitutes the present.
History and the economy[edit | edit source]
What is economic history?[edit | edit source]
Economic history straddles history and economics. Economics is not an experimental science, while the history of economics is an important part of the empirical experience of our economies, especially for long-term economic processes.
Theoretical questions rather than answers[edit | edit source]
« Economic theory does not provide a definitive body of conclusions immediately applicable to economic policy. It is a method rather than a doctrine, an equipment of the mind, a technique of thought, which helps its owner to draw correct conclusions. »
— J. M. Keynes.
« Physics envy is the desire to be able to explain 99% of all economic phenomena with three laws. That’s what physicist can do. In fact, In fact we [economists] have 99 laws that explain maybe 3% of all phenomenon. »
— Andrew W. Lo
It is possible to make comparisons to see to what extent crises are different or similar, based on history one can do this in a systematic way.
We must look at the sources, if we are interested in the way in which the history of the economy does its work, the emphasis is often placed on databases and the quantitative method. There are also official documents, individual papers and newspapers also used for economic history.
Main Themes[edit | edit source]
How did international economic relations develop from the nineteenth century to the present?
Why have different countries chosen similar and different international economic policies?
What effects did these international economic policies have on the global economy?