Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Some Support for Lost Legacy's Approach

Brandon Dupont, an Associate Professor of economic thought at Washington University quotes Lost Legacy in
Economic Incubator (using economic history to understand today’s economy) HERE:

"Should Business Schools "Occupy Wall Street"?

Gavin Kennedy gets it right in commenting on Mike Valente's call for business schools to join the Occupy Wall Street movement :

"Mike’s predisposition for Business Schools to ‘occupy Wall Street’ is mindless activism. I suggest he reads Adam Smith’s works (that is, the moral philosopher born in Kirkcaldy in 1723, and not the cartoon Adam Smith invented in Chicago in the 1920s). He should also contemplate a bit of history, such as Deirdre McCloskey’s ‘Bourgeois Dignity’ too, and give himself some historical perspective of what it really means to be worse off, and, perhaps, what requires to be done to make it better.


Brandon is definitely on the right track in his Blogs when he uses “economic history to understand today’s economy”, which is exactly what Adam Smith did in writing Wealth Of Nations, as can be seen in his ‘Lectures on Jurisprudence’ [1763, 1983]. Smith’s LJ contains verbatim sections that re-appeared in Wealth Of Nations in 1776, showing that he had been thinking about political economy in its historical context long before he found the time to commence writing about it in France (1764-67).

I note several mentions of items in Lost Legacy in other economic blogs and I am generally pleased that they take notice, even the odd one or two that are critical – we always learn from the views of other people.

Some posts from Lost Legacy appear in full on Mark Thoma’s ‘Economists View’, generally on the pure economic history themes that I occasionally touch on.

That Brandon Dupont, a young associate professor (‘lecturer’ in the UK academic system), is teaching a course in the history of economic thought, is most encouraging as many of these posts have disappeared in academe over recent years. I think there is scope for them to re-appear again, given how much modern economists rely of previous authorities, not always accurately, to give authority to their pronouncements which governments, despite the contrary evidence, accept uncritically, and which 'Occupy' activists are misled to accept as correct.


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