When Thomas Carlyle named economics the “dismal science,” he was attacking what he saw as an attempt to quantify human behavior as a mathematical function of supply and demand. However, this characterization ignores a large part of economic thought that is deeply concerned with improving well-being and promoting human happiness. In this course, we will look at how economic ideas have been presented in the Western world, from the 18th century to the present day. Students will leave this course with an understanding of the narrative strategies used by different types of thinkers (historians, economists, philosophers, filmmakers, novelists, and others) and a special appreciation for the importance of literature to a “human” interpretation of economic systems. Throughout the quarter, students will carry out close and critical readings of literary texts and films and will practice expressing their opinions using sound arguments and evidence.
November 23, 2020 - 12:18pm