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Economic history and economic theory: the staples approach to economic development

Alexander Dow () and Sheila Dow

Cambridge Journal of Economics, 2014, vol. 38, issue 6, 1339-1353

Abstract: The ideas and institutions within which the current global crisis is being addressed reflect the power structures of the past and are under pressure to evolve. But mainstream economics tenaciously retains its long-standing power over academe and policy, while denying a theoretical role for power. Here we consider the contribution of economic history to theorising. In particular we present a case study in the form of an economic history approach which emphasises the role of the state in relation to markets: the staples approach of Harold Innis. We apply this approach to the modern financial sector.

Date: 2014
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Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:38:y:2014:i:6:p:1339-1353.