Valuing (and Teaching) the Past
22 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2003
Date Written: February 27, 2003
There is a difference between the private and social cost of preserving the past. While it may be privately rational to forget the past, the social cost is significant: we fail to see that Classical political economy is a polemic against racism. The past is a rich source of surprises and debates, and resources on the Web are uniquely suited to teaching such wide-ranging debates. Our ASecret History of the Dismal Science on the web, provides a rich series of windows on the literary and analytical texts, and the artwork, that figured in the debates. Students who read Smith juxtaposed with Whitman, who read the Carlyle-Mill exchange, and who see these images, understand the debate the way a student who reads only the Wealth of Nations, Ricardo's Principles, or John Stuart Mill cannot.
JEL Classification: A11, A22, B12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation