ECC3800 - History of economic thought - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Business and Economics

Organisational Unit

Department of Economics

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Lata Gangadharan


Mr Marco Lecci

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2019 (On-campus)


ECC2000 and ECC2010 or equivalent.


This unit covers the thought of the greatest minds in the history of the discipline of economics. Its main organising principle is the question: "what is the economic problem?" This unit organises the history of thought around two widely different answers. First, the classical economists starting with Smith, Malthus, Ricardo, and culminating with Marx, argue that the economic problem is about the production of surplus. Second, the neoclassical economists starting in 1872 with the writings of Jevons, Walras, and Menger, argue that the economic problem is about the efficient allocation of resources among competing ends. In addition, this unit covers issues related to the philosophy of science, moral theory, the limits of natural resources, social contract theory of the state, modernism, utilitarianism, evolutionary biology, and a secondary question that has been raised by Say's law and questioned by Keynes: is the market system stable?


The learning goals associated with this unit are to:

  1. discuss critically how different economists in the past understood and analysed the economic problem
  2. compare the work on founders of economics such as Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Thomas Malthus, Stanley Jevons, Karl Marx, Alfred Marshall, and others
  3. discuss critically diverse theories of value, growth, rent, and decline of economic society
  4. be familiar with primary sources relating to the major writings that shaped the evolution of economic analysis.


Within semester assessment: 50% + Examination: 50%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. Independent study may include associated readings, assessment and preparation for scheduled activities. The unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information