Monday, April 11, 2016

History of Economics

There is an interesting split in professional schools -- business, medicine, applied sciences (maybe law, too?) -- between those that take a serious interest in the history of their field and those that do not.

The website Economic Principals covers an economic history conference at Duke University, and observes how economic history does vital work in a few economic departments and is neglected most everywhere else.
Partly because of the thick-headed self-delight of present-day economics, jobs for historians of thought are scarce, even in business schools. Matthias Klaes, of the University of Dundee, wrote earlier this year: “Certainly in the UK it is not generally possible anymore to pursue history of economics as a specialist based in an economics department.”
The inspiration for Duke's economic history powerhouse, it turns out, is a Canadian historian I had never heard of, Craufurd Goodwin. who has been doing economic and other history at Duke since 1962 and running the History of Political Economy journal since 1969.

Update, April 12: Denis Smith writes:
Craufurd taught for one year in Toronto, during York University's second year of existence, as the first appointee in economics. (I was also a member of the initial York staff, 1960-1963, and seem to recall I had a hand in hiring him.) His office was next to mine on the Glendon campus, and we shared some early discontents about how York was developing. Craufurd, as a result, did not unpack much of his library into his office, leaving his bookshelves conspicuously empty, and quickly decided that he would return to Duke, where he had come from. Too bad for Canadian economic history!
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