New Perspectives on the History of Political Economy

November 1-2, 2013

The goal of the conference was to re-conceptualize, through a variety of historical approaches, the origins and history of theories of political economy. The meeting brought together international thought leaders in the field of political economy with up-and-coming young scholars. Work is in progress on producing a pioneering volume of proceedings from the conference, edited by Robert Fredona and Sophus A. Reinert, which will take stock of current work on the history of political economy and set the agenda for future research in this growing and increasingly important field of study.


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"New Perspectives on the History of Political Economy," a two-day conference to be held under the auspices of the Business History Initiative at Harvard Business School in November 2013.

The role of the state in economic life is an issue of tantamount importance, one that directly affects every commercial and financial transaction, that encourages and discourages international trade, and that impacts lives globally on an incredible scale. Now more than ever, with the ongoing crisis of laissez-faire and concomitant renaissance of state capitalism, it is time to rethink the historical role of governments in markets. How, over the past seven centuries, have governments—of cities, states, and empires—understood their role in trade, how have they interacted, and what can this tell us about regulation today? "New Perspectives on the History of Political Economy" will bring together more than two dozen of the world’s leading scholars to discuss these issues and to rethink the history of political economy from the end of the Middle Ages until the present day.