New Organizational Forms and the Development of Economics

Saturday, 4 July 2015: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
CLM.2.05 (Clement House)
Emily Erikson, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Abstract: The traditional date for the beginning of economics is 1776, the year in which Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations was published. Adam Smith, however, was largely systematizing the insights developed over the course of the commercial expansion that took place in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and wedding to them to a moral vision of cooperation generated in France. A continuous discourse attempting to understand the causes and consequences of market processes began in the seventeenth century England, in the work of the mercantilists. This paper compares England and the Netherlands to identify the institutional setting that encouraged the development of economic thought. I find that the emergence of formal organizational forms played an important role, as individuals took to public forums to debate the rights and privileges of formal organizations and their impact on the health of the nation as a whole.