2nd Mercantilism and physiocrats
5th Scientific socialism
6th Historical school
7th Vienna school
8th Lausanne school
9th Cambridge school
10th Keynesian economics
2nd Question about the predecessors
4th Errors of thought of famous economists
5th Historical course of ideas according to Hegel
6th Ideas - mirror image of the real development?
7th Ideas are in the air!
8th Preservation of outdated ideas
9th Hans Albert: model Platonism versus hypotheses
10th Substantiation of a consistent system of thought
In this seminar we want to deal with the history of economics. The term 'economics' refers to the teaching of economic connections, while the term 'economy' refers to the subject of this teaching.
In the meantime, the subject matter of the entire economic sciences has grown so much that it would be a completely hopeless undertaking if we wanted to present this whole range here. Therefore, we must select. This lecture shall initially be limited to theoretical economics - in the following briefly referred to as economic theory. Thus, from the outset, we exclude business administration, i.e. microeconomic considerations, as well as the teaching of economic history and economic geography and finally economic sociology from our consideration. This section results mainly from the fact that these different scientific disciplines are based on different approaches.
But even the subject matter of the remaining economic theory is still far too great to be presented here in its entire spectrum. In general, it is assumed that the birth of economic theory began with the works of Adam Smith, above all with his publication 'Inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations', published in 1776, and can thus be dated to the last decades of the 18th century.
Adam Smith, however, had directed his works against the approach of mercantilism and therefore it is expedient to also include mercantilism and also the predecessor of the early classical period in France: the physiocrats in the consideration and thus let the history of economics begin already with the second half of the 17th century. Joseph Schumpeter, however, in his voluminous work on 'History of Economic Analysis', posthumously published in 1952, showed that the roots of the national economy go back much further, even to Greek antiquity, and that many modern trains of thought had already been developed much earlier, at least to some extent.
While economic theory in its first century was essentially limited to England, the USA, France and Germany, today economics is taught in almost all countries of the world, and the latest scientific works also refer to the entire globe, a circumstance that certainly does not simplify the writing of a teaching history.
A further possible selection arises from the question of what is actually intended with this teaching history, which lessons one would like to be drawn from this consideration. From this point of view, it may be useful to treat certain theoretical approaches in detail, while other contributions of certain authors can be neglected even if, from another point of view, these approaches can be regarded as quite innovative.
If, for example, someone wanted to write a teaching history and would associate this project with the intention of demonstrating that economic theory, just like the natural sciences, also represents an exact science, he would present all those approaches which were presented in a mathematical dress in particular detail, while treatises on historical developments would be regarded as negligible and would therefore not be included in this teaching history.
Conversely, however, a supporter of the historical school would disregard all approaches presented in the form of mathematical equations but would particularly include the historising treatises in detail.
Thus, let us ask ourselves in the following about the most important points of view which the authors of economic-scientific teaching histories have created and from which points of view therefore a teaching history can be written.
2nd Question about the predecessors
At first, by writing a teaching history on economic theory, one could aim to demonstrate that almost all major visions within economic theory had been presented also much earlier, so that most theories are wrongly associated with certain names of famous economists. For example, the most important basic ideas of the Vienna School had already been developed much earlier (1854) by Hermann Heinrich Gossen in his work: 'The Development of the Laws of Exchange among Men and of the Consequent Rules of Human Action'. But at least these laws are not named after the representatives of the Vienna School (Karl Menger and Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk), but rightly as Gossen's laws.
Even the most important trains of thought of John Maynard Keynes were by no means exclusively Keynesian innovations, but had already been developed much earlier with the classicists, in particular by Robert Malthus, under the keyword of the underconsumption theory.
After all, Joseph A. Schumpeter had shown primarily in his work on 'Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy' that Karl Marx was a faithful pupil of David Ricardo with regard to his economic scientific treatises, who only 'bent to shape' certain passages of the Ricardian system of teaching; just as Karl Marx in his philosophical observations followed in the footsteps of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, but also meant to set his teaching on the feet again.
Such a first perspective can be found, for example, in the already mentioned 'History of Economic Analysis' by Joseph A. Schumpeter, who pointed out very powerfully that most classical and socialist approaches can be traced back through the medieval period until classical antiquity. The teaching history of Karl Brandt (1992/93: Geschichte der deutschen Volkswirtschaftslehre) has similarly set itself the aim of presenting primarily the contributions of German economists, which have so far been somewhat neglected in other teaching histories and in the most widely used textbooks.
This approach is certainly very meritorious, and it was certainly necessary that teaching stories were written in this tenor. Nevertheless, one must realise that even if one acknowledges that most ideas had been developed much earlier than previously assumed it is not implied that the authors Smith, Marx, Menger or Keynes, who had been in the focus of interest so far, would therefore not have made a significant contribution to the further development of economics.
Even when a scientist presents trains of thought which had been developed much earlier and which had been forgotten in the meantime, he contributes to the development of science and above all to the welfare of the entire population. Without the works of, for example, Karl Menger the importance of the demand for the value creation of individual goods would have fallen into oblivion- together with the writings of Hermann Heinrich Gossen - and would no longer be taught today.
But above all, it is true that e.g. without the contributions of Keynes the states would hardly have been able to reduce mass unemployment during the 1930s. Of what use is it if we know today that trains of thought of underconsumption had already been developed more than 100 years before Keynes, but if they are just not known at the times when politicians should be aware of them in order to counter existing unemployment.
Thus, here we will not follow this first point of view in this seminar.
3rd Account of the entire personality of a researcher
Another possible perspective for the writing of an economic teaching history is to try to shed light on the individual researchers possibly from all sides. In general, scientists cannot simply be judged based on certain statements; often, the trains of thought of individual researchers are more complex and cannot be squeezed into a simple scheme. Above all, researchers also go through a development; it is not so rare that certain scientists change their positions, they learn from history and from discussions with colleagues, and above all they develop their ideas further.
When it comes to the overall appraisal of the life and work of a researcher, this approach is certainly appropriate. For example, it is interesting to learn that John Maynard Keynes not only wrote works on employment, but also published a work on probability (1921: Treatise on Probability).
Even when scientists hold an extreme position within the scientific spectrum, they are by no means always as one-sided as their critics sometimes present them. Keynes has certainly accepted also different views. The following anecdote is reported about Churchill: He once complained bitterly about the scientific committees whose task it is to advise politicians. Instead of the scientists clearly explaining to him which concrete measures are to be taken most efficiently to overcome the problems at hand, he learns in such committees just as many opinions as the committee has heads. And he is said to have added: if Lord Keynes belonged to this committee, there would even be one more opinion.
I must honestly admit that this quote caused me not to judge Keynes and his doctrines as critically as I have done so far. It is certainly wrong to always expect science to come up with patent remedies that are always valid, no matter what the starting point may be. It is not the job of the scientist to make a final decision in favour of a specific measure. His task as a scientist is limited to pointing out possible effects regarding the desired aims, but also regarding other aims. It is then up to the politician to evaluate these effects and decide on the measure which on balance has the most advantages from the point of view of the actor.
Despite this plea in favour of the possibly widest account of the different positions of a researcher, one must of course be aware that this view has disadvantages, too. There is a danger that the wood can no longer be seen for the trees. This danger is especially great where - as is usually the case in a teaching history - this work is read by interested people who want to get an initial overview of the most important theories and the historical course of these theories. Anyone who reads a teaching history generally wants to follow the major lines of development rather than the individual ramifications of the individual theories; whoever wishes to do so will much better procure a biography of the researcher whose complete works shall currently be reviewed.
4th Errors of thought of famous economists
Another possible perspective from which the history of teaching can be analysed is to list the errors of thought of famous economists. This story then has the motto, nobody is perfect; even very famous and recognised researchers have already made serious mistakes.
For instance, particularly Ernst Wagemann published a work in 1951 entitled 'Berühmte Denkfehler der Nationalökonomie' (Famous errors of thought in the national economics) and collected some important undesirable developments in the national economy. Thus, the table of contents reveals in which theoretical works the author denounces an undesirable development.
Thus we learn, among other things, something about "Old and new perspectives in the teaching of values and money (the register of sins of individualistic thinking)", about " Conceptual order and real order (the register of sins of monistic thinking)", "About the scope of absolutist doctrines (the register of sins of absolutist thinking)", and finally about "Quantitative analysis (the register of sins of measure-forgotten thinking)".
Such a work and such an approach may certainly have some positive side-effects as they show that mistakes can be made by all, and if this must be stated even for the greats and "scientific popes", then the making of some mistakes by lesser known researchers may not already be a death sentence for the scientific careers of newcomers.
Nevertheless, it is more confusing than contributing to the understanding of the development of economic theory if one wanted to begin the study of the teaching history by first learning about the mistakes made by the researchers. It is much better to first study the actual system of theories of the individual directions, and then later, for in-depth study, to learn about the individual errors in the course of the teaching history.
Quite apart from that, so-called errors are often only insignificant conclusions, which are of minor importance for the presented system itself.
5th Historical course of ideas according to Hegel
In a further possible approach, it is followed the basic idea of Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel. As is well known, Hegel had developed the conception that ideas would develop in the sense of a three-step. In a first step, a thesis is formulated. In a second step, by way of the critical examination of this thesis, opponents of this idea will establish an antithesis. This contradicts the first thesis in essential points. Nevertheless, one will have to admit that both hypotheses: the thesis as well as the antithesis have common and correct sections. And thus, it is to be understood that then in a third step from the confrontation of both theses with each other emerges finally a synthesis, which includes elements of both theses and unites respectively the true core of both statements.
It can hardly be denied that theses in general are not only accepted but also attacked and that antitheses are developed in such disputations. And sometimes it can also be observed that in the discussion of such theories finally an approximation takes place, which then gives the prelude to a common overarching theory, which contains elements from both theories.
It is questionable, however, whether the development of economic theories usually takes place in this way. Above all, this scheme of the three-step becomes questionable if in this sequence a deterministic predetermined and unchangeable process is wanted to be seen in this sequence, in the sense that each thesis produces one and only one antithesis, whereby this antithesis then represents an exact counter-image of the initial thesis, and neither in the sense that from these two theses finally emerges an overarching synthesis, which contains all important elements of both theses.
In reality, economic theory developed in quite different ways. Certainly, counter-schools are being formed, mercantilism eventually evoked the classical school, the neoclassicism evoked Keynesianism. But real disputations between two schools are actually rather the exception, as for instance Karl Menger and Gustav von Schmoller struggled to find out to what extent there can be something like scientific laws for a national economy.
In general, the further development of certain theory structures takes place within a school. The reason for this is simply that the differences between the supporters of two schools are often so big that there can hardly be any agreement between the schools. If, on the other hand, there is agreement on the basic positions of a certain direction, a joint discussion on the further development of this theory can be conducted more easily within the supporters of a school.
It is also observed that certain schools usually shape the image of a science for a longer period of time. In Germany, for example, from the middle of the 19th century onwards, for almost half a century almost all the important chairs in economics were occupied by followers of the historical school. Only at the end of the 19th century, in connection with the development of the Vienna School, were more and more chairs in Germany and Austria occupied by theoreticians, especially by neo-classicists. In the time immediately after the Second World War, Keynesianism prevailed in almost all major countries. Ordoliberalism - starting from Freiburg - was rather an exception. Only later a part of the vacant chairs was taken over by supply-side theoreticians.
This replacement of entire schools is primarily because the subject areas around certain basic positions of a school are gradually becoming exhausted. Additionally, to this change contributed often the fact that it was no longer possible to find answers to the urgent questions of the present on the ground of a certain basic position and that therefore a reorientation became necessary.
These developments now show some typical features of a cyclical movement, such as those observed in the economic field. Regarding the production of goods, an initial increase in economic activity can also be observed. One day, however, this activity reverses and leads to an economic downturn. These cyclical movements have the purpose of eliminating enterprises that are unprofitable but have initially been able to remain in the market because of a demand overhang.
In the economic field, not only the medium-term economic cycles named after Juglar can be observed, but also the long-term so-called Kondratiev waves. This revival of the upswing forces can be explained by the fact that there are fundamental innovations that are sufficient to finance several economic cycles, whereby the first upswing phases already come to an end at a time when the basic innovation is by no means exhausted and thus enables new upswings after the inefficient enterprises have been eliminated due to bankruptcy.
In a similar way, we observe also in the development of theoretical knowledge not only that further discoveries are initially made within a school and continue the theory, but also that almost all movements experience a renaissance after a certain period of rest. This applies to classical and Keynesian schools as well as to liberal and socialist schools.
Thus, we want to point out that there is little reason to believe that economic theory has developed according to the simple model of a three-step in sense of Hegel.
6th Ideas - mirror image of the real development?
As is well known, Karl Marx had found his spiritual-philosophical roots in Hegel but believed Hegel's theories were quasi standing upside down and had to be put on their feet in order to illuminate the actual development of history correctly. It was not the ideas that moved history, but rather the real conditions, which necessarily developed in a very specific direction, whereby the ideas represented only a theoretical superstructure of the real conditions, they would be used by the social groups to assert their interests, but they alone could not influence the historical development.
If we would follow this approach, we could explain the emergence of mercantilism from the conditions of the absolutist state. In fact, mercantilism was developed particularly in France, where absolutism was much more pronounced than e.g. in England, where mercantilist ideas were developed only to a very limited extent.
Liberalism in its early phase could then be explained by the fact that the regulations issued by mercantilism hindered the further development of the enterprises from a certain point in time, so that liberal trains of thought were then formed based on these interests. It was because of the very weak development of mercantilism in England that the mercantilist obstructions to entrepreneurial activity could be removed most quickly. It was then that Cobden's free trade ideas prevailed.
According to Karl Marx, the impoverishment of the workers under the capitalist system together with the concentration process and the compulsion for accumulation, both triggered by the competition between the capitalists, finally favoured the emergence of socialist societies.
Although the emergence of individual economic theories can indeed be explained in part by the actual development of economic conditions, it is wrong to believe, with Marx, in a deterministic development. It was not only the realities that favoured the emergence of certain theories, but it was more due to the fact that at those times certain personalities lived and it is to a large extent owed to the wealth of ideas and the genius of these researchers that, on the basis of the real problems, very specific reform ideas were developed. From a historical fact it is almost always possible to develop quite different answers, so that it was never imperative that just these trains of thought determined the further course of economic theory.
Let us take as an example the emergence of mass unemployment during the great world economic crisis of the late 20s, early 30s of the 20th century. Of course, with the economic downturn, the demand for consumer goods declined and it was obvious that a researcher - as Keynes did - explained this economic downturn with the decline in consumer demand and, derived from this, also investment demand. But it could have been ascertained just as well: The fact that it had not remained with a normal economic downturn, but that mass unemployment had persisted for a long time, could have been explained also by the fact that the flexibility of the markets was being increasingly prevented by dirigiste measures of the state, so that the market was no longer in a position to find its way out of the depression by its own efforts without state assistance.
The main argument against the thesis that the ideas developed at a certain time always merely reflect the development of the real situation is the fact that most of the ideas considered revolutionary were developed much earlier, at a time when obviously the problems for which these theories offer an answer were not yet urgent enough to take up these ideas politically. Or to give a second example: Communism did not first emerge in those countries which, according to Karl Marx's theory, were ready for it. Rather, communism first spread in Russia, a country that, in accordance with Marx's ideas, had not yet reached the stage of development which would be actually necessary for a socialist revolution.
7th Ideas are in the air!
This Marxist approach is often adopted in a somewhat weakened form by researchers with a somewhat stronger bourgeois background. For example, it is often argued that the development of an idea was in the air, so to speak, that the realities suggested certain solutions, that some other scientist would have developed these trains of thought even if these ideas would not have been put forward by the scientist who first presented them.
Again, let us take the development of the Keynesian Revolution as an example. It was Keynes, as is well known, who during the Great Depression of 1929-1932 was the first in the Anglo-Saxon world to develop a theory that explained unemployment from a lack of demand for goods and who, in his demand for a deficit budget policy, had presented a simple recipe for overcoming this lack of demand.
John Maynard Keynes and his students were not the only ones at those times who had put forward ideas pointing in the same direction. In Germany, at about the same time, but completely independently of Keynes, a group of scientists emerged, who presented similar theories. Let us take particularly the work of Carl Föhl, an entrepreneur and engineer who developed a cycle theory that was in some respects clearly superior to the traditional Keynesian theory. While Keynes in his models assumes a given income distribution and explains in his macroeconomic models only the domestic product as well as employment, Carl Föhl presents a model by which not only production and employment, but at the same time the distribution of income between wage income and profit income can be explained.
If ideas were really in the air, then at first glance the contribution of a researcher seems to be relativised. Then one might think that in any case a theory would have been developed, which would have brought a way out of the previous problems. However, this conclusion is wrong. Although the real conditions may indeed impose a solution, it is by no means self-evident that a correct solution is developed which is able of solving the problem at hand in the best possible way.
Rather, we have to assume that whenever politics struggles to find a solution to a problem, naturally a multitude of ideas are put forward which claim to offer a solution, but which in reality mostly turn out to be apparent solutions, which only give the impression of bringing about a real solution, but which in reality have not at all reached to the actual causes of the present problems and precisely for this reason they are also not able to solve the present problem satisfactorily.
It remains the case that every successful theory that has brought about a solution to the problems is primarily due to the own performance and the wealth of ideas of the respective researcher, thus that also in science it depends on innovations which are developed by the researchers and which are not present in the air as finished programs. In most cases, it only seems in the aftermath that a certain theory presents itself as suitable. But afterwards you are always smarter than before.
8th Preservation of outdated ideas
Let us now come to another possible point of view. When I began my economic studies in Freiburg in the 1950s, Walter Eucken just had died suddenly on a lecture tour in England. His vacant chair was held for two semesters by Friedrich A. Lutz of the Harvard University, who did not regard himself as a pupil of Walter Eucken, but nevertheless largely followed his conceptions of regulatory policy. Among other things, he offered a lecture on international economic theory, which I attended, although of course international economic theory should normally be taken in the later semesters.
In this lecture Lutz dealt very detailed with the theories of free trade. He introduced these chapters by admitting that politicians were currently by no means willing to realise the ideas of free trade.
As a reminder, the Havana Charter had just been developed in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War but failed primarily because the USA was unwilling to sign the Charter of Free Trade. In the subsequent GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) negotiations, there was a willingness to ease individual import tariffs and import restrictions, but there was no willingness (like later in the Kennedy Round, for example) to reduce all tariffs at the same time, but insisted on reviewing the possibility of certain tariff reductions for each individual tariff. There was a hard struggle for every slight reduction of a tariff.
Nevertheless, he (Lutz) considered it indispensable to teach the liberal ideas of free trade and to preserve them in this way. Perhaps in the future there might be a time when politicians would be quite willing to follow the liberal ideas. But here was the danger that these liberal thoughts would be largely forgotten if they had not been taught further despite their lack of topicality. Science had the task of remembering ideas that are currently not in demand by politicians due to a lack of topicality.
These trains of thought convinced me very much at that time. In fact, a sphere of liberal thinking dawned in the 1990s; initially customs duties and quotas were abolished for the European Community, and later there was a willingness on the UN-level to follow these liberalisations worldwide to a large extent.
Now this certainly does not mean that in a teaching history only those theories should be addressed which correspond to one's own regulatory policy concept; in a teaching history always the essential competing order models are to be presented equally. But the approach cited by Lutz can prevent us from only mentioning the older stages of development of economic theory and from adopting only those ideas which still have a certain significance in today's economic science. Rather, it is desirable that also those topics and directions which currently seem obsolete but could become highly topical in the future should be included in a teaching history.
9th Hans Albert: model Platonism versus hypotheses
Hans Albert had accused the neo-classicists of engaging in 'model Platonism'. In their thought models, they would derive theses from a wreath of assumptions merely by logical conclusions, which would be issued as valid statements. But actually, from assumptions only those statements can be derived logically consistent, which are already contained in the assumptions. Logical derivations alone would therefore not be able to expand our information content, statements which are derived solely from given assumptions would be meaningless, would consist only of empty formulas.
In reality, it depended on the assumptions, only when these are proven empirically, further empirically substantial statements could be reached by conclusions at all. The mistake of the neoclassical theorists was that they did not care at all about checking the assumptions, that they transferred this task into the framework data, which had to be checked empirically by other sciences, but not by economic theory.
If one were to make a neoclassical theorist aware of the fact that the assumptions of his model had not yet been verified and that therefore one could not reach to true statements by logical conclusions, these scientists would counter that they would not even claim that the statements derived from them were true in every case. Rather, neoclassical theory would limit itself to asserting the truth of the derived statements only in the event that the respective assumptions of this theory were true.
Hans Albert, by contrast, demands that theories must in a first step be formulated always in such a way that they could be tested empirically, i.e. they must also be principally falsifiable. Logical derivations are always correct, so they do not need to be tested empirically at all, but precisely for this reason they do not provide any new information. In a second step, could the individual hypotheses only be regarded as proven if they were subjected to an empirical test. It was important to try to empirically disprove theses and only then, if a disproval was not possible despite multiple tests, could this hypothesis be presented as a preliminary, empirically confirmed theory. Preliminary, because despite numerous successful empirical tests, which seem to confirm the statement, one had to expect the possibility that a refutation was not possible simply because for more or less coincidental, but unknown reasons there were conditions during the investigations, which will not always be present in the future.
Now one could also try to write a teaching history with Albert, which is limited to the theoretical parts, which were formulated rich in empirical content and in addition were tested empirically in a sufficient way. Neoclassical thought models would then be mentioned in such a teaching history at best as a deterrent example.
Although I agree with Albert that theories must be formulated principally in such a way that they can be falsified, and although I agree that every theory must be extensively tested empirically before it is issued as a confirmed theory, I still believe that on the one hand most neoclassical theories can be reformulated relatively easily in such a way that they can be subjected to an empirical test, i.e. that they no longer represent empty formulas, and on the other hand that working in thought models can be attributed with positive functions.
A typical neoclassical theory criticised by Albert is, for example, the marginal productivity theory of the wage. According to this theory, the wage rate in equilibrium corresponds always to the marginal product of labour, provided that a) the entrepreneurs strive for profit maximisation, b) behave as quantity adjusters and c) the marginal product of labour decreases with increasing employment.
This statement is in fact the result of the assumptions made, i.e. it is a meaningless empty formula. However, this theory can be redefined in such a way that it consists of meaningful, empirically verifiable statements. For example, a redefined marginal productivity theory could consist of the following falsifiable individual theses. Firstly, the competitive struggle forces the entrepreneurs to exploit every possible profit opportunity, otherwise they run the risk of being forced out of the market. Secondly, competition is so intense that entrepreneurs refrain from influencing the price themselves. Thirdly, because of the predominant technologies, the marginal product of labour decreases with increasing employment.
At the same time, we can acknowledge that working with thought models has greatly facilitated scientific work. With thought models, we can understand what consequences are implied by certain assumptions, what prerequisites underlie certain statements, or what problems a situation presents. We render account to ourselves of what we already know and what we do not know yet. Under certain circumstances we may encounter certain logical contradictions between different statements, and finally we can decide whether we can clarify all known facts with the help of our previous findings.
Thought models can help us to create new hypotheses. A priori, the most diverse correlations are conceivable. On the other hand, we would violate the principle of rationality if we wanted to examine all conceivable contexts for their validity in laborious detail work. In practice, we use a more promising method. Based on our experience to date, we select a few among the millions of conceivable contexts that seem realistic to us and check them against reality. The thought model serves us well in this procedure, too. It tells us which hypotheses correspond best to our previous findings.
A fifth task of the thought model is the pedagogical one. We do not only have to uncover new factual connections but also have to explain the already known, but often very difficult to understand, relationships to the students. For pedagogical reasons, it can be useful to consciously start from unrealistic but simple assumptions in order to make certain relationships all the clearer. Once the simplest connections have become clear to the student, it is much easier to adapt the thought model to reality and now also to understand complicated structures.
10th Substantiation of a consistent system of thought
A last principle of selection can be the effort to present the main features of the individual directions as a closed system. Here, contributions that cannot be classified into the overall system are ignored and efforts are made to start from possibly one single central question, which according to these scientists is the focus of economic theory, and to develop as few coherent principles as possible, which can be transferred to almost all or at least most market areas as to different markets, but also to different economic units: household and enterprise.
This approach has the advantage that it introduces the problems of economic theory in a way easy to understand and always provides an overview of the individual areas of economic activity. As a disadvantage it may be perceived that such a view also omits important details of a teaching, since they cannot be integrated into the overall system of a school, although they may have influenced well the development of relevant theories in the following years and decades.
In this lecture we want to apply the last presented approach and above all present the great world-shaking systems of mercantilism, liberalism and classicism, scientific socialism, the both historical schools, neoclassicism in its three variants of the Vienna school, the Lausanne school as well as the Cambridge school, further Keynesianism as well as neoliberalism.
In the main, it will be important to me that the basic question and the way in which these questions are answered are introduced for each of the major directions in economic theory, so that the reader is then quite capable of understanding the principal answers of individual schools to concrete questions even if they have not been treated specifically in this teaching history. But then they result from the basic question and from the way of answering these questions.
The material of the teaching history shall be divided over two semesters. In this semester we will limit ourselves to the presentation of the basic models that are at the centre of the discussion for the major schools of economic theory. In the following semester, we will limit ourselves to different special theories and pick out those theories of the past which continue to have an effect until today. Since some of these questions have already been addressed in detail in the articles of this homepage, I will include some passages of these articles in this lecture.