“Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.” (John Maynard Keynes from The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, 1936)
Increasingly the world judges, and is judged, through the lens of the economist. No great political fight is taken without some mention of the economic effect; in the US a serious branch of law seeks to replace morality with economic analyses; one of the most effective mechanisms to assess the viability of a country’s policies is to check the yield on its bonds — and those are driven by funds that undertake hard-headed analyses of economics.
Economics is a relatively new subject; it was only recognised as independent discipline in the late 19th Century — the first appointment of an economic historian was at Harvard in 1892, and so our department focuses on the great thinkers of classical antiquity, Plato, Aristotle, and Lucretius, through important figures from early Christianity such as Saints Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, to the great figures of the seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries, such as Descartes, Keynes, Hume, Adam Smith, Malthus, Ricardo, Bentham, Mill, Russell, and Wittgenstein. Of course, we also like to dabble in the history of speculation, without which the analysts would be no fun at all.
We stock first and early editions — the actual books that helped shape our intellectual approach to this modern world. In addition to the analytic tradition, we enjoy early encyclopaedias and documents that were so important for education.