ECON 372 - History of Economic Institutions and Thought

  • 3 credits
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Origins and development of capitalist institutions including contemporary issues of alienation, loss of community, and changing values.

This course provides an introduction to the history of economic thought. The course will begin with a brief survey of pre-capitalist economic thought, then cover the evolution of economic thinking from the mid-18th century around the time that Adam Smith was writing and continue through to the present day.

Particular focus will be paid to:

  • the Classical Political Economists;
  • the Marginalist Revolution and Neoclassical economics;
  • heterodox approaches to Poilitical Economy;
  • the Keynesian and Austrian schools of thought; recent developments in economic thinking.
  • recent developments in economic thinking.

By the end of the semester you should be able to:

  • understand the main ideas of the major schools of economic thought;
  • recognize the historical context behind different contributions to economic thought;
  • develop an appreciation for the evolution of capitalist institutions, economic thinking, and the nature of economies;
  • understand the difference between “Political Economy” and “Economics” and “orthodox” and
  • heterodox” economics;
  • develop a broader set of tools with which to think about and solve real world economic problems.

This course requires the use of electronic proctoring through ProctorU, please see for detailed instructions.  For students requiring accommodations, please contact Resources for Disabled Students; for consideration of exceptions outside the scope of RDS, please contact the University Testing Center

This course can be applied toward:


ECON 101 (Economics of Social Issues) or ECON 202 (Principles of Microeconomics) or AREC 202 (Agricultural and Resource Economics).

Textbooks and Materials

Textbooks and materials can be purchased at the CSU Bookstore unless otherwise indicated.


  • Teachings from the Worldly Philosophy (1997)
    Heilbroner, Robert L.
    ISBN: 978-0393316070
  • The Worldly Philosophers-Revised, 7th Ed. (1999)
    Heilbroner, Robert L.
    ISBN: 978-0684862149


Melanie Wentzel-Long
Melanie Wentzel-Long

Melanie is originally from Nampa, Idaho, and received her bachelor’s degree in economics from Westminster College, a small liberal arts college in Salt Lake City, Utah. As an undergraduate, Melanie had a variety of academic and professional experiences, from working as assistant director of the campus writing center to serving as an intern at the Utah Governor’s Office of Management and Budget. She began the economics PhD program at Colorado State University after graduating from Westminster, with the ultimate goal of teaching economics from an interdisciplinary perspective at a liberal arts college. Her research is primarily in gender economics and household credit use, although she also has interests in methodology and the history of economic thought. She has taught Gender in the Economy since Summer 2016. Melanie’s interests outside of economics include music and vegan cooking, and she is both an avid Francophile and a fan of the great outdoors.