The Timeline of Economic Thought

Apr 11, 2015

The differences in the economic philosophies of different time periods can be attributed to the main ideas or mentalities prevalent during those times, as the effect of new experiences or 'impressions' on the mind. We chronologically list the main events that may have caused people to have those new experiences from which they developed new ideas.

Proto-Mercantile: The Rise of the Merchants (1204-1420)
The Venetians give Europe the first taste of commerce and manufactures
1204Constantinople is sacked during the Fourth Crusade and treasures are brought back to Venice, which becomes a European power
1271Marco Polo, a Venetian, leaves for Asia
1300The Travels of Marco Polo is published, describing the East
1368Start of the Ming Dynasty
1405The Ming show off its wealth and power through its Treasure Fleet

Pre-Mercantile: Discovery and Conquest for Gold and Silver (1420-1600)
The Portuguese and Spanish want to join in the Italians' business through sea exploration, since the way to the East was blockeed by the Arabs through fall of Constantinople
1425Henry the Navigator develops the caravel to be used to seek a sea route to the East
1488Portuguese Bartolomeu Dias reaches Cape of Good Hope
1492Italian Christopher Columbus reaches the Americas through Spanish support
1498Portuguese Vasco da Gama reaches India
1577Venice suffers from the Black Death while having lost its Eastern trade to the Portuguese
1588Spanish Armada defeated by the British

Mercantile Period: The Problem Begins -- Trade and the Commercial Company Spread Around the World Like a Virus (1600-1799)
With the Spanish defeated, other Europeans join in the colonization game with their own merchants through the invention of companies, paper financial products, and commodities trading
1600English East India Company established
1602Dutch East India Company established
1609Bank of Amsterdam established
1660Royal African Company established
1694Bank of England established
1695Bank of Scotland established
1711South Sea Company established
1752Royal African Company dissolved
1755Richard Cantillon publishes Essai, contributing to monetary theory
1759Adam Smith publishes The Theory of Moral Sentiments, advocating a new system of morality that is against Utility
1776Adam Smith publishes The Wealth of Nations, bashing the Commercial System which is based on Money and Utility
1789Start of the French Revolution

Pre-Capitalist Period: Utility and Money for Pleasure and Industrial Development -- The Virus Takes Root (1800-1889)
The too-big-to-fail commercial company model proves unsustainable. The Industrial Revolution peaks, leading to new material experiences to gratify the senses. The word 'scientist' replaces 'natural philosopher'. Big non-corporate companies are established to build steel plants and railroads.
1800Dutch East India Company dissolved
1803JB Say publishes A Treatise on Political Economy, advocating utility, the cause of producers, and totally removing ethicsfrom the Political Economy
1850South Sea Company dissolved
1874English East India Company dissolved
1848John Stuart Mill publishes Principles of Political Economy
1861John Stuart Mill publishes Utilitarianism permanently corrupting the Political Economy with utility, something that Smith argued against in The Theory of Moral Sentiments
1867Karl Marx publishes Capital: Critique of Political Economy, arguing against the Capitalist system that came from England and France espoused by Mill
1870John D. Rockefeller establishes Standard Oil
1871William Stanley Jevons publishes The Theory of Political Economy, adding Calculus to the Political Economy, also based on Utility
1872Andrew Carnegie enters the steel business
1871Carl Menger publishes Principles of Economics
1874Leon Walras publishes Elements of Pure Economics with the General Equilibrium Theory

Capitalism: Microeconomics and Big Business -- The Wealth Virus Creates War (1890-1944)
The 'firm' picks up what the mercantile company has left off. Economics is formalized. By now Western moral philosophy has died, leading to world wars. 
1890Alfred Marshall publishes Principles of Economics, turning the Political Economy into Economics. By now, moral philosophy is totally alien to Economics.
1892Irving Fisher publishesMathematical Investigations in the Theory of Value and Prices
1895J.P. Morgan and Company established
1913Federal Reserve System established
1914World War 1
1929Start of Great Depression
1936John Maynard Keynes publishes The General Theory, establishing macroeconomics. Moral philosophy is still nowhere, proven by his reference to 'animal spirits.'
1939World War 2

Global Capitalism: The Wealth Virus is Stopped by a Real Virus (1944-)
The US emerges from the ashes of both world wars and the Cold War to impose its own system of global capitalism. The firm evolves into huge corporations, a type of which is the too-big-to-fail bank which can crash the global economy by itself.
1944Bretton Woods established; The US becomes a superpower after World War II
1948Paul Samuelson publishes Economics, standardizing Economic science
1971Nixon shock makes currencies pegged to nothing. Oil prices spike as petrodollars get pegged to oil instead. Inflation follows.
1998Repeal of Glass-Steagal. Banks awash with fiat cash, which is pegged to nothing, combine long-term and short-term cash to get employed and make even more money.
2008Start of Financial Crisis in the US. The combined fiat cash of banks runs out of employment and crashes.
2020Under the weight and oppression of global capitalism, Nature finally breaks out with a Covid-19 pandemic, bringing global capitalism to its knees, which no economist can solve.
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