"It's the economy, stupid!"

Adam Smith

This phrase, made popular by Clinton campaign strategist James Carville, makes plain the everyday importance of 'the economy'. But what is 'the economy?' Is it important, or just a practical necessity?

Is it something that just exists as a fact, or something that exists more as an idea? Are there different ways of thinking about 'the economy?' Can 'economics' ever be separated from politics or from philosophy?

Karl Marx

'Economic' philosophers, such as Smith and Marx, examined the nature of human effort and its product. How have the ideas of such "worldly" philosophers made our world? After all, in making a living we make the world.

Based loosely on Robert Heilbroner's book 'The Worldly Philosophers', this course is a philosophical examination of economics and 'political-economy,' and of the different ways in which economic ideas have shaped, and continue to shape, our world.

Please note that this is a philosophy, not an economics course.