Economic history


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Animals and humans
Turn and live with animals

The slaughterhouse ethic of Soviet and American whalers tells us we must look beyond communism and capitalism to survive

Bathsheba Demuth

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Religion
Mammon

Far from representing rationality and logic, capitalism is modernity’s most beguiling and dangerous form of enchantment

Eugene McCarraher

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Economic history
The economics of bubbles

Market booms and busts might be irrational, but we can understand why they happen – and what to do to mitigate the damage

Brent Goldfarb & David A Kirsch

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Cities
The first global city

High in the Andes, Potosí supplied the world with silver, and in return reaped goods and peoples from Burma to Baghdad

Kris Lane

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Nations and empires
Scots running amok

As loan sharks, drug smugglers, generals and plant hunters, Scots played a central role in expanding the British Empire

Jessica Hanser

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Animals and humans
American bull

The story of American beef is like the story of the nation as a whole: a mashup of history and myth, bloody and contested

Joshua Specht

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Nations and empires
Asia had the upper hand

For centuries, Europeans in Asia were guests, trading partners and subordinates. Only much later did Empire seem imaginable

Chris Nierstrasz

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Economic history
Economics as a moral tale

The development sector set out to summon the magic of capitalism from the ashes of communism. How is it going?

John Rapley

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Economic history
The big squeeze

Sicily’s mafia sprang from the growing global market for lemons – a tale with sour parallels for consumers today

Ola Olsson

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Future of technology
The blitzscaling illusion

All the great inventions took painstaking, risky, indirect routes to fruition. Has Silicon Valley really escaped history?

Edward Tenner

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Political philosophy
The real Adam Smith

He might be the poster boy for free-market economics, but that distorts what Adam Smith really thought

Paul Sagar

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Education
An unlikely triumph

In its first century the American higher-education system was a messy, disorganised joke. How did it rise to world dominance?

David Labaree

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Economic history
Of money and morals

Moneylending has been taboo for most of human history. So how did usury stop being a sin and become respectable finance?

Alex Mayyasi