Introduction to global economic history - F000798

Specific course requirements


This course is an introductory course in how the world was economically connected from the 16th century onwards. Most attention goes to the industrial world from the 19th century onwards and how this industrial world expanded throughout the last two centuries. The course is an interdisciplinary course using methods of analysis of economics, but also of sociology, demography and politics. To understand the dynamic of economic globalization we also pay considerable attention to long term political, social and demographic developments. No prior knowledge is required in any of these fields, but most important is that students should have an open-minded attitude. They should be willing to learn also from other disciplines than economics and be receptive to past experiences of humankind.
This course is open for students with an interest in understanding contemporary society and its economy by looking into how the past shaped the world we are living in today.

Some topics addressed in this course:

  • Introduction: How we learned to look at society and the economy.
  • Economic development:

- The Great Divergence and the Rise of the West: Did the West become rich ‘over the back’ of the Rest or did internal changes cause Europe’s exceptional dynamism.

- Natural resources as a stepping-stone to growth or as a curse?

- Role of R&D and trade in economic development

- The rise of the financial economy

  • The social dimension of economic development

- The changing intranational, international and global (in)equality throughout time

- How hard do women and man work and how hard did they work in the past?

- How 20th century capitalism in the West was reformed and given a human face.

  • Communism and the economy
  • Economic crises, now and then
  • Environmental degradation as a market failure, now and then

General course specifications

Consult the general specifications of this course in the exchange programme in economics and business admin.