Sophus A. Reinert
Assistant Professor of Business Administration
Sophus Reinert is an assistant professor of business administration in the Business, Government, and the International Economy Unit, where he teaches the course of the same name in the MBA required curriculum. Before joining HBS, he was a research fellow and an affiliated lecturer in history at Gonville & Caius College at the University of Cambridge (UK).
Professor Reinert studies the history of capitalism and political economy since the Renaissance, focusing particularly on the historical role played by governments in both economic development and decline. He is the author of Translating Empire: Emulation and the Origins of Political Economy, published by Harvard University Press in 2011 and winner of the 2012 Spengler Prize, the 2012 EAEPE-Myrdal Prize, as well as the 2012 George L. Mosse Prize of the American Historical Association. He edited and wrote the introduction to A “Short Treatise” on the Wealth and Poverty of Nations (1613), by Antonio Serra (London and New Delhi: Anthem); and he is the series editor of Economic Ideas that Built Europe, also with Anthem.
Professor Reinert earned his Ph.D. in history at the University for Cambridge, together with an M.Phil. in political thought and intellectual history. As an undergraduate, he studied history at Cornell University. He has been a Carl Schurz Fellow at the Krupp Chair in Public Finance and Fiscal Sociology at the University of Erfurt, Germany, and a fellow of the Einaudi Foundation in Turin, Italy.
The Origins, Current State, and Future of Capitalism
Starting with the dawn of market capitalism in Renaissance Italy, Professor Reinert works at the intersection of economic ideas, policies, and practices in history, particularly as seen through the lens of national strategies in international competition. He seeks to shed light on big questions: Where did capitalism originate, what is it now, and what might it become in the future? How do political communities rise and decline economically? How have governments influenced businesses and economic development through their policies? What is the relationship between international trade and national security? In this pursuit, he has challenged many accepted truths about the origins of political economy and the nature of economic policy and competition. By creating coherent accounts of the economic ideas of the past and their real-world consequences, Professor Reinert offers a basis for rethinking fundamental assumptions in a time of economic turmoil.