Economics & Finance

The Ordinary Business of Life: A History of Economics from the Ancient World to the Twenty-First Century - New Edition

The classic history of economic thought through the ages—now fully updated and expanded


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Dec 26, 2023
7 b/w illus. 1 table.
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Hesiod defined the basic economic problem as one of scarce resources, a view still held by economists today. Diocletian tried to save the Roman Empire with wage and price fixes—a strategy that has not gone entirely out of style. Roger Backhouse takes readers from the ancient world to the frontiers of game theory, mechanism design, and engagements with climate science, presenting an essential history of a discipline that economist Alfred Marshall called “the study of mankind in the ordinary business of life.” Backhouse introduces the many fascinating figures who have thought about money and markets down through the centuries—from philosophers and theologians to politicians and poets—and shows how today’s economic ideas have their origins in antiquity. This updated edition of The Ordinary Business of Life includes a new chapter on contemporary economics and the rest of the book has been thoroughly revised.