Today I gave the first lecture for a new course I’m teaching at King’s College London, The World Economy and its History. It’s a compulsory first year course for a brand new BSc in Economics. Which means they will be getting an exceptionally well-rounded Economics education, including, in other modules, the evolution of economic theories from Smith through to Marx, Hayek, Keynes and others. It’s a degree I’m very excited to be a part of.
Here is what I told my students in the opening lecture about why studying Economic History is worthwhile. It’s rather grandiose, but I hoped to get them excited to study a topic that I personally find so enthralling:
What is Economic History? It is about asking some of the biggest and most interesting questions imaginable. Why are we, today, so rich compared to our ancestors? Why are some countries so rich and others so poor? Why were a handful of European countries able to conquer much of the rest of the globe? Those are just a few of the questions we will explore this year, together.
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