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POLISCI 430A: Ancient Greek Economic Development (CLASSICS 384A)

Historians have been arguing about ancient Greek economic development since the 1890s. By the 1980s, opinion had swung toward what is sometimes called ¿the Cambridge consensus.¿ This held that the Greek economy was a typical premodern one, in which (a) growth was so low as to be negligible, (b) markets were vestigial, and (c) individuals and governments cared less about profit than about prestige and status. This seminar explores scholarly work (mostly in the last 15 years) that has developed a more realistic view of the ancient Greek economy and some of the recent responses to that new paradigm. The modern debate is predicated on analysis of material and written evidence. Among the important ancient texts bearing on Greek economic development are philosophical treatises that are critical of wealth accumulation; the question of how these texts related to the evidence, and bear on the lived reality of Greek economic conditions is a second primary theme of the seminar.
Terms: Win | Units: 4-5
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