The History of Economic Thought vs.. The History of Economics For those who have had little experience with economics in general, it may be easy to assume that the history of economic thought is simply the history of economics. However, this is not the case. While the two subjects are undoubtedly connected, they are also very different. The key to understanding the difference between the history of economics and economic thought is to define the two separately and then look at how they interact.
The history of economics can be defined through economic development, collapse, and other important changes in all economies, all markets, throughout history. These events changed would look at depressions, recessions, and times of prosper in different markets across the world. Economics has existed as long as humans although for centuries it went unnoticed and unrecorded. Examples of important economic events would include; The Panic of 1873, The Great Depression, and The Great Moderation.
The history of economic thought encompasses new developments in the way people and economists believed the world worked throughout time. Economic thought can be looked at as the philosophy of economics, how intellectuals try to explain the various aspects of an economy. Before economics even became a subject it was already being debated. There are several schools of thought in economics that vary greatly and yet each can be used to explain the functions of economics such as supply or demand.
A timeline of economic thought would include drastic changes or developments in the way economics was understood. These changes are usually described in terms of the influential theories produced by economists of the time. Examples of these theories would include; works by Aristotle, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Marxist economics, Neoclassical economics, and the Keynesian revolution. One of the primary reasons the history of economic thought is confused with the history of economics is that the two are so closely related.
There would be little point in developing economic theories and models unless it was meant to explain some change or assumption in the economy. It is economic events that lead to developments in economic thought and it is also changes in economic thought that spur us to make changes in the way we view and run the economy. There cannot be one without the other; try explaining The Great Depression without using the work of Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes, it can’t be done. History of Economic Thought By Sunstroke