History of Economic Thought

D. Friedman

Spring, 1998

Economics 116

School of Business, Santa Clara University


The purpose of this course is to understand the ideas of three of the principle creators of modern economics: Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and Alfred Marshall. In order to do so, we will read most of Smith's Wealth of Nations , most of Ricardo's Principles of Political Economy  and Taxation, and a substantial part of Marshall's Principles of Economics.

Each book contains a fairly difficult structure of interrelated ideas. In reading such material, there is a serious risk of reading words while missing the ideas. To help protect against that, I will provide, for each author, a set of brief quotes. To check whether you are following the ideas, see if you understand what each quote means and why the author is saying it.

In the interests of truth in advertising, I should point out that most economics courses involve learning part of one structure of ideas; this one involves learning most of three. You are supposed to end up understanding Smith's ideas (and Ricardo's and Marshall's), not merely knowing things about them. You may find it useful to start out imagining that the year is 1790, The Wealth of Nations is the latest and best work on economics, and you are a graduate student preparing for your prelim exams.


Part I: Smith

Quotes to Understand: Smith

Class Lecture notes on Smith

Final Summary lecture on Smith

First Midterm (Smith) with Answers

Smith Homework Assignment

Part II: Ricardo

Quotes to Understand: Ricardo

Class Lecture notes on Ricardo

Second Midterm (Ricardo) with Answers

Final Summary Lecture on Ricardo

Part III: Marshall

Quotes to Understand: Marshall

Class Lecture notes on Marshall

Final Summary Lecture

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