there are three questions . every week question please about one page.
Greece through The Mercantilists
We begin with the economic thought of the Greek philosophers, particularly
Aristotle, who understood economic behavior to be a part of nature, but were
suspicious of the intentions of individuals who were not “trained” to behave
wisely. Teachings of the Greek philosophers were merged with Christian
teachings by the Scholastic doctors, who developed a commercial code intended
to promote economic justice. As nation-states emerged economic thought turned
to the means by which one state can gain economic advantage over its
SPIEGEL: Chapters 1,2 (all)
3 (rhrough p55 and pp.60-65)
4 (Through p.81)
MEDEMA and SAMUELS: Aristotle (Politics and Nichomachean Ethics)
Thomas Acquinas (through page 25)
1) Describe the difference between Economics and Chermatistics (the art of
getting money) in Aristotle’s Thought. Why was he suspicious of Chermatistics?)
How does this compare with the thought of the Stoics? The Epicurians?
2) How do Thomas Acquinas’ standards of fairness in buying and selling
compare to modern assumptions of what must be satisfied in order for
competitive markets to function?
SPIEGEL: Chapters 5 (all)
7 (John Locke)
8 (From Cantillon to the end)
1) What is a “specie” (precious metal coin) flow theory of trade as advocated by
Hume? How much of that did the Mercantilists understand? How did this impact
their policies, specifically, how did they view property rights or the rights of
2) How Did Locke differ from the other mercantilists?
Liberalism and the Classical Economists
With the Classical economists, economic behavior was again seen as a natural
process, this time as one that performs best when left alone. Belief that the
gains of one must come at the expense of others gave way to the view that
natural cooperation would enhance the wellbeing of all parties. While Smith
recognized that economic processes could be corrupted, Others proclaimed his
“invisible hand” to be a doctrine of greed.
SPIEGEL: Chapters 10, 11, 12, 14 (All)
1) What does Smith mean by “self interest”? Is this consistent with his previous
argument that “sympathy” is the foundation of a moral society?
2) In the first week I argued that there were three points made in the “Garden of
Eden” story that were a metaphors for nature and humankind’s relationship to it.
Does Smith’s “Invisible Hand” fit that model?
3) Acording to Smith, What is the down side of the division of labor? How does
he propose to fix it?
4) What problems does Spiegel have with Say’s Law? Under what conditions is
it valid and under what conditions might it not be?