1.3 — Ancient Writers (Mostly Greek) — Readings

We begin our first look at some of the earliest writings about economics. None of these writers was self-consciously “an economist” or saw themselves as writing “about econonomics,”We won’t see anything like this until the 19th century.

but it is pretty clear they occasionally touch on economic subjects.

While I have not assigned any Plato to youMainly because it is not in our Reader!

, you should familiarize yourself briefly with Plato’s more famous claims and view of “the ideal State.”

A note of caution in reading Plato: Plato was the student of the famous Socrates (who did not write anything down), and he writes in dialogues, often between his Socrates character and other famous Greek contemporaries.

Aristotle - who was Plato’s greatest student - writes often in opposition to Plato’s views. Thus, it is useful to know what Aristotle is referring to.

Required Readings:

Blaug unfortunately does not cover anything before mercantilism & the physiocrats.

The following Wikipedia entries can also provide more background on these writers and their famous works:

Questions to Help Your Reading