Valuing (and Teaching) the Past
There is a difference between the private and social cost of preserving the past. Although it may be privately rational to forget the past, the social cost is significant: We fail to see that classical political economy is analytically egalitarian. 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 Secret History of the Dismal Science, at www.econlib.org, provides a 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 in a way that students who read only the Wealth of Nations , Ricardo's Principles , or John Stuart Mill cannot.
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Volume (Year): 36 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
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