History of Economics | Periods and development

The historical origins of the economy are based on a wide variety of civilizations. In this article, we have made a detailed examination of the history and periods of economics.

History of Economic Science

The history of economics is much broader than one might imagine. In ancient Greece, Rome and the Middle Ages, the structure of economic thinking took a completely different turn.

Economic thinking in ancient Greece

Economics has not yet acquired the quality of an independent study, partly because economic problems are not yet deeply felt, the emphasis is on state governance and the intensification of philosophical and political discussions.

Since it has an economic structure based on agriculture and the state is superior to the individual, economic thinking in ancient Greece was limited.

Plato, the student of Socrates, dislikes the trading of goods and money and the acquisition of wealth, as he believes these practices undermine the stability and confidence of the state. He argued that the division of labor arises from the difference in abilities between people and developed this concept.

Aristotle is the first thinker who introduced the analytic approach to economic thinking. According to him, the relationship between the direct producer and the consumer is natural; The relationship between the producer and the seller is the commercial economy. Aristotle, though not as much as Plato, defends statism because of the drawbacks of individualism.

Economic thinking in the Romans

Since the development in Rome was more of a military and political nature, they gave more importance to moral structures and the concept of law. Roman law made important contributions to the history of economic thought by preparing the basis of liberal doctrine in economics. They think the pursuit of money is the root of all evil. They are against interests and prioritize agriculture over economic activities. According to the Romans, individual rights take precedence over social property. They defended private property and established freedom of contract.

Economic thinking in the Middle Ages

In this day and age a utilitarian approach is followed. Ensuring social welfare is possible by meeting the economic needs of individuals. They benefited from guilds in conducting economic activities. The realization and placement of production in the guilds, small industrial and professional organizations, depends on certain restrictions and controls. The reason for this is to protect the interests of the members, to establish a monopoly in a certain area of ​​trade, to improve wages and working conditions. Production is still based on agriculture, but industry and trade have followed suit. Interest is forbidden by the Church.

Periods of economic science

economic science

Economics is a subject that has been around since the earliest periods of human history. Early man had to use natural resources to meet his needs and survive. Like today’s modern economic systems, ancient societies had to use resources effectively and manage the production and distribution of goods and services.


The origin of the economy begins with the ancient world civilizations. Ancient Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Chinese, Greek and Roman civilizations were the forerunners of the regulation and management of economic activities. These civilizations developed basic concepts such as money, units of measurement, prices, and trade routes.

Aristotle provided one of the first written sources on economics. In his work “Politics” he discussed issues such as how production is done, the value of goods and services and workers’ wages.

Middle Ages

The Middle Ages is an economically complex period. In medieval Europe, the economy was generally based on agriculture and crafts. The Church and the nobility were the main tools used to manage economic activities and collect taxes.

New Age period

At the beginning of the New Age, discoveries and trading activities increased in Europe. During this period an important change in economic thinking took place. The science of economics was developed by French economists with a more scientific approach. Among them are such names as Jean Bodin, Pierre de Boisguilbert, Francois Quesnay.

Physiocrats and the Development of Economic Science

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Physiocracy was an economic doctrine that emerged in France in the 18th century. Physiocrats believed that economic activities were subject to natural laws and argued that natural resources played an important role in the production process. Physiocrats played an important role in the development of economic science and have had a major influence on modern economic thinking.

Physiocrats argued that the productivity of the economy depends on the fertility of the soil. According to them, the production process was based on the use of natural resources and as soil fertility increased, so did production. The Physiocrats argued that productive activities should be rewarded, arguing that agriculture was the cornerstone of the economy.

François Quesnay, one of the most famous representatives of the Physiocrats, wrote a work called “Tabula Rasa Economy”. In this work he proposed an economic model based on the productive power of the country. Quesnay opposed government intervention, believing that the economy should operate in accordance with the laws of nature.

Classical economic thinking and its place in economics

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Classical economic thinking was championed by British economists such as Adam Smith, David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill. Classical economic thinking argued that economic activities are subject to natural laws and that a free market economy allows economic activities to function optimally.

The basis of classical economic thinking is the idea that productive activities should increase in order to increase social benefits and prosperity. Classical economic thinking emphasized that individual interests had to be taken into account in order to increase social welfare. The respect for individual interests promotes a free market economy and helps maintain the natural balance of the economy.

Classical economic thinking believed that the market could regulate itself and operate in accordance with the natural laws of economics. For this reason, it has been argued that state intervention should be kept as low as possible, as it will deteriorate the natural balance in the economy.

How did the history of economics begin?

The history of economics begins with the economic thoughts in the work of Aristotle, one of the ancient Greek philosophers, called “Politics”. However, the birth of modern economics takes place in the late 18th century with the economic ideas in Adam Smith’s “National Wealth”.

What currents of economic thought have emerged in the history of economics?

Many economic movements have emerged in the history of economics. These include Physiocrats, Classical Economics, Neoclassical Economics, Marxist Economics, Keynesian Economics, and Behavioral Economics.

What events have influenced economics in the history of economics?

Many events in the history of economics have influenced the science of economics. These include the Industrial Revolution, the Great Depression, World War II, globalization, and technological advancements.

Why is economics important?

Economics is a science that helps people make the best use of limited resources to meet their needs. Economics helps us understand how economic activities work and how economic decisions are made. Therefore, economic science plays an important role in determining the economic policies of the countries and making them better informed in making economic decisions.

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