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Thanks a lot for posting this list!


That list is a bit light on modern economic history by economists.

I would add Floud and Johnson's Cambridge Econ History of Modern Britain,
Mokyr's the Lever of Riches,
North's Structure and Change in Econ History
Hughes and Cain's American Economic History,
Jones's Growth Recurring,
and Whaples and Betts, ed Historical Perspectives on the American Economy.

Oops! Sorry, Frederic!

The items on the list were selected on these principles:-

1. The American universe was specifically left out. As I said: the list is intended to show how & why the ‘economic’ _world_ (world) of the early 21st century is so overwhelmingly Anglophone, & why so many of the DCs & the more advanced LDCs are likewise Anglophone. This means going back to where it all began: England. _Because_ England, _therefore_ the American universe; Canada, South Africa, Australasia, & the Anglophone LDCs.

2. The list ends with the developments of the Golden Century, 1815-1914. It is this century which explains the 20th century _world_ (world), & hence the centuries to come. The developments of this critical period didn’t happen in the American universe; they happened somewhere outside.

3. When economists of the late 20th century deal with changes in various statistical constructs over various periods, they call this activity, ‘economic history’. It is supplementary to economic theorising. _This_ list covers what _people_ did: what ends they pursued, how & why these ends changed/were modified; what means they used, how & why these means changed/were modified. ‘Social’ history, therefore _has_ to be the other side of _this_ coin.

_Certain aspects_ of what people did give rise to the ‘data’ that economists, statisticians, etc., convert into statistical constructs. Economists then study these; &, as mentioned, these empirical studies look straight into economic theory. _This_ list looks the other way: to _history_.

When Sudha and I and the students had a lunch discussion over the role of history and what reading list she would recommend, we left out the work of Mokyr, North, yourself and others because students at GMU know about them. What we were interested - and I should have made this clear in my post - was not so much the work of economists in the field of history, but of historians who describe the thick approach that PhD students at Mason want to know about. Sudha, especially in so far as England is concerned, has a good grasp of the subject. This being said, there is much more out there and the work you mentioned is of course extremely relevant.

I think I see what you're trying to do. But including Mathias, Pollard, Kenwood and Lougheed, etc on the list includes "straight" economic history from a pre-cliometric perspective and these cannot be read without having a better grasp of standard theory and of the heavily revisionist work by Crafts, McCloskey et al that has followed.

Moroever, many of these authors try to be atheoretical but in fact bring in implicit theorizing which must be confronted by at least verbal supply and demand analysis. [See Mokyr's "Demand vs Supply in the IR" for a mostly non-technical takedown of ambiguous reasoning in earlier historical work.]

But I do see the value of thick history to complement economic history which is often too narrowly statistical. But as a comparison of earlier statistics -- which are used descriptively by many on your list -- to post Cliometric work shows the alternative to using statistics and explicit theory is often statistical description with implicit theorizing.

I realize I am biased, but I don't see how it is possible to do social history of the British IR without dealing with explicitly economic frameworks.

1. There’s just a bit more than tables & non-theory in the works cited. They deal (inter alia) with such things as: various craft activities, the actual goods produced, new services supplied, changes in agricultural activities, changes in direction of trade, in imports & exports, etc. These are what people actually did. _Without_ these, no statistical & other constructs. It is such activities that supply the ‘data’ for cliometrics. Thus the two can be placed side by side. Incidentally, Maxine Berg _does_ cover both Crafts & also Feinstein, etc.

2. ‘Social’ history is necessary (inter alia) to understand changes & modifications in the ends that people regarded as valuable. This in turn brings about changes in the content of the means used. Thus there are changes in people’s activities, in the goods & services produced, etc. Certainly the range of goods & services produced expands, as do quantities produced; & qualities improve. But this manifests as: more people now achieving a wider range of the ends they regard as valuable. We come back to changes in people’s actions, in the kinds of things they do.

What sorts of changes then follow in the ‘data’ used in cliometrics? That depends on the particular circumstances.

3. The ‘Industrial Revolution’ so-called. -- Once upon a time, a huge discontinuity was seen in the period running from the late 18th to the early 19th century. That was _before_ all the research into the changes, ‘expansion’, etc. in early modern England, especially into the vast new range of consumer goods produced/imported. Once the picture of the 16th/17th centuries became much clearer, the continuities into the 18th century appeared, & the further changes that occurred in it also became much clearer. Then Crafts & others constructed growth rates that apparently changed little through the 18th century & into the early 19th. At grass roots level, there are gradual but cumulative changes in what people did.

This is what the term _now_ covers. As research proceeds, no doubt our picture of the 16th-18th centuries will continue to change, be modified, etc.

Would you be able to provide also a list of essential reading in the history of economic thought? It would be a useful complement to Sudha's list, I think.

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