“Thinking about Capitalism”

March 22, 2011 at 8:03 AM | Posted in Business, Economics | 2 Comments
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Several weeks ago I was in the library looking for a course to take and I saw, “Thinking about Capitalism”  from The Teaching Company. I had recently listened to a 48 lecture series on America and the New Global Economy and wasn’t sure if I was quite ready for more. I didn’t see anything else that interested me so I checked out the 36 lecture series, without full commitment. I would listen to the first lecture and then decide.

I loved the course and highly recommend it. I am now better armed to think about problems that we read about everyday. There are two particular points that I’d like to make to prospective listeners. First I must exclaim that is as delight to hear  Professor Jerry Z. Muller teach such a sensitive subject and not know if he is a liberal or conservative. There were no axes grinding. He told us that he is teaching a course on the intellectual history of Capitalism and he did. That may sound dry, but it wasn’t.

The most important value I received from my listening is my understanding of the infinite variations of  Capitalism and that examples of “pure” capitalism are hard to find. For example, when President Bush bailed out the banks and President Obama bailed out GM, they were walking in the footsteps of Alexander Hamilton, who certainly believed in Capitalism (nobody believed in it more) but he also thought that the US government needed to give business a leg up, at least temporarily. Indeed, what Capitalism needs most is an effective Government. It is the one must-have.

All the great economical names are here: Hobbes, Smith, Riccardo, Marx, Schumpeter, Keynes, Bell, Geller and many more. The course is re-blooded — it’s wet.


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  1. I’ve got to see if my library has such things. This sounds awesome.

    • I’ve never had a bad course and most are really great. I know that you are not into Classical but Greenberg’s courses are really fun. He is from SF … so how bad could he be?

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