Modern Western Civilization a Political Economic History
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  Prelude: Pre-History   Aristotle began Western Civilization   The Dark Ages 12 min video often called The Middle Ages  3 min video

Quick Overview
Greek Civil Republic
Public Good

Western Christendom
Quest for Salvation

Renaissance  Humanism
base on Humanities and
revival of Greek Philosophy

 Freedom of scripture, faith, and conscious all challenges
18th Century Enlightenment
Individual and
organizational freedom industrial
Industrial Revolution,
Science and the Search for Balance
Elimination of Class "cast" Structure

#1 Periods Colonial Imperialism to and a Democratic Republic   
2 Western Philosophers Analyzed the Economic Transition  

#3 Economists Could Not Agree    
#5 History of Economics Progress video
#6 Analyzing the U.S. Economy
#7 U.S. Political Economy

#8 Sundry Schematics


A Fight for Individual Property Rights

A Fight for Human Rights Over Property Rights


Philosophy Humanism stresses individualism opposes Christian Church penance Science joins Humanism and Christianity as most dominate  philosophical influences
Key Feature Free Will opposes Predestination as a lifestyle option   First Revolution 2nd Industrial Revolution   Free Trade and Globalization
Innovators Erasmus influenced Luther T_More defines utopian socialism Alexander Graham Bell     Mark Zuckerberg
Key Inventions Guttenberg Press1   Steam Engine Steel, Chemicals, Electricity    Transistor,  Internet, Genetic Engineering


Economic System Feudalism Mercantilism /Bullionism. Laissez-faire Capitalism

managed currency/credit

Democratic Socialism   Free Market Capitalism

Economic Theory

Manorialism had Lords with legal economic power supported financially from his landholdings with legal obligatory contributions of the peasantry.

Tariffs  increased powerful, helped private  "infant" industries. Trade was limited with industrial specialization providing growth.

Private property, individual liberty

backed by a constitutional
Property/Contract Rights
eventually yield to human
See Lochner v. NY
Free Markets Rule
GATT Globalism
WTO aid Agriculture
Surplus Agriculture + Gold +Luxuries   Diseases Cured, Basic Necessities Preventive Medicine Retirement

Church + Monarchy +Guilds +Traders + Merchants

+ Corporations Wealthy Few + Politicians + Interest Groups + Social Media moguls
Control Method

Eternity in Hell or Heaven+ Physical punishment

+ Economic Rewards   + Political Rewards  + Self Interest
Work Structure Wool Weaver Households Cotton Factory Workers Unionized Manufacturing Workers    

Surfs + Farmers + Guilds  +Bankers +Importers

   + Corporations  

+ Individuals


+ Military Spending 

        + Education Spending
Oligarchs Provided


 + Infrastructure  

+ Sanitation + Health

+ R&D + Universal Education

+ Education + Security

Oligarchs Feared


  + Trade Unions   + Government Replace Unions  

+Social Networks

Key Asset Land + Gold Natural Resources + Transportation      
Energy Source

Humans Animals, Water, Wind

  + Steam 

+ Electricity

+ Oil + Atom      + Nature
Industrial Catalyst   English Cotton mfgt avoided wool's monopoly constraints allowing innovation based on science
Key Exports

Spices Tea Silk from Orient

  Wool, cotton

Industrial Revolution

  + Nature
Key Exporters

India, China

  + England

+ US + Germany


See 1  Turning Points in Modern History  By: The Great Courses  Narrated by: Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius
Related Links Civilizations: Past, Present, and Future

2 Bohemian Reformation originated with Jan Hus began the reformation. Occurring before the printing press: It was obscure.  Hus would not recant his Heretical beliefs and in 1415,  he was burned at the stake, Luther' attack on indulgence [tax?] and demand that church doctrine be backed by scripture angered Rome. The Sack of Rome 1527 resulted from anti-Roman feelings and a desire to sack and pillage the Holy City. Rome tried to counter with the Counter-Reformation. Errors in Latin Vulgate bible use by Roam were at the center of philosophical discussions. Luther successes at the Diet of Worm began  modern Germany and some say  it began the modern era of consciousness.


2B Aristotle Saw Trends.

2C. Aristotle Predicted Modern Western Civilization

See Aristotle, Politics    Book 1   Book 2   youtube book 1   youtube book 2.



Editor's Note The reformation moved economic recourses away from Rome in a secular direction








A Portuguese carrack,
as depicted in a
map made in 1565.

Carrack Sailing Ships

Reformation, Enlightenment, Scientific Revolution dominated the 19th century.










#2 Western Philosophers Analyzed the Western Economic Transition.

Traditions in Transition1

Source Thinking About Capitalism

The pre-modern traditions of civil republicanism and spirituality from ancient Greece/Rome and Christianity were suspicious of commerce. The Roman Catholic Church relegated this sin to the Jews.

In reaction to an era of religiously based civil war Thomas Hobbes’ Challenge these traditions. Hobbes’s great importance  lies in his on this-worldly happiness as the goal of government and for his early explorations of  self-love in human affairs; His abandonment of the notion that  government is to guide us to some shared purpose, some highest ideal, be it civic virtue or religious holiness.

Holland commercial success led to a new emphasis on commerce in relation to national power.

Moral status of increased material well-being enhanced by luxury was questioned by Rousseau and other  moralists of the civic and Christian tradition. They argued that material progress had increased inequality, undermined virtue, and actually made people less happy.


Adam Smith believed the goal of the market economy was to make possible an ongoing rise in the standard of living of the vast majority of the population. A competitive market channeled self-interest in socially beneficial directions. Increased productivity making commodities less expensive an  “invisible hand” channel self-interest toward socially desirable outcomes.

Smith thought that certain functions including national defense, the provision of law, and what we now call “infrastructure.” can only be provided by government. Smith felt some commercial processes like processes like division of labor increase productivity had negative effects, which intellectuals like him had to analyze and that government should eliminate.

Smith thought rule of law and the right institutional conditions could lead a capitalist society  toward better people who were better off.

Edmund Burke offered a conservative analysis of hazards from capitalism .Monopoly power of the British East India Company search of gain  and unrestrained by the inherited culture of England, were riding roughshod over traditional Indian society. Burke then argued that the French revolution was propelled into dangerous radicalism of radical intellectuals and newly rich entrepreneurs who were oriented toward risk and failed to appreciate the existing institutions of their society.

Justus Moser was a conservative who felt for whom the spread of international capitalism was a threat to existing institutions and traditional, hierarchical society where people knew their place. He  championed localism, particularity, historical institutions, hierarchy, limits, and boundaries. Commercialism was  destroying the traditional economy, society, and local culture.

G. W. F. Hegel saw a Prussian state trying to break down the legal restrictions on commerce to create a richer and more dynamic society. The great challenge of modern institutions is to provide us with enough choice to foster individuality, while linking us with others and with our cultural past to provide us with a sense of meaning and belonging.


 The Middle Ages in 3 1/2 minutes video

Alexander Hamilton the first secretary of the treasury of the United States, who made the classic case for the protection of “infant industries...” Adam Smith argued that free trade between nations always produced mutual benefits. Hamilton countered this tradition. He maintained the situation is different when some nations are less economically developed, Government must protect new industries.

Tocqueville characterized an equality of legal condition, one without the inherited hierarchies of European society. Americans were more anxious about their status and believe that they can change that status by getting rich.  He individualism and materialism, and the countervailing influence of republican institutions and religion. Short-sighted self-interest is transformed into what he called “self-interest rightly understood.”

Marx provides a searing portrait of the degradation of labor in the industrial factory would cause a revolt but he overlooked the trends that counteracted his theory. He foresaw a worker utopia but provided no directions for achievement.

Schumpeter focused on entrepreneurial capitalism was characterized by “creative destruction,” in which new products business activities displace older forms creates widespread resentment against capitalism.

Lenin felt the revolutionary consciousness of Marx required the direction of professional revolutionaries.

Shortly after the victory of the Bolsheviks, the Viennese economist

Ludwig von Mises believed without a market mechanism, socialism would founder on the problems of information and initiative









Hayek explored the ways in which the market not only coordinates information but also leads to the discovery of new knowledge. In The Road to Serfdom (1944), Hayek also presented a theory of fascism as the socialism of the lower middle classes that had lost out to capitalist development. He developed a liberal critique of the welfare state and its premise that the economy ought to embody social justice.

He argued capitalism embodied few common purposes and allowed individuals for various goals. He criticized attempts to create equality of opportunity would lead to an ongoing expansion of the state and a diminution of the freedom of the individual.

Schumpeter felt capitalism would give way to socialism not because of capitalism’s failures, but despite its economic successes. Intellectuals who thrived by offering radical criticism, would undermine capitalism.  His real message was that socialism would have few advantages while capitalism had  many advantages that its critics overlooked.

Marcuse argued that in advanced capitalist societies people were enchained by affluence, new consumer and were psychological manipulation. Superficial satisfaction replaced humane and fulfillment  alternatives

Bell, Daniel revived the “eroding foundations” argument in new forms. contemporary capitalism—based upon advertising, new forms of entertainment, and expanding credit—increasingly promoted hedonism and irresponsibility, undermining the work ethic, frugality, and deferred gratification on which capitalism depends.

Buchanan examined the tensions between capitalism and democracy by critiquing Keynesianism based public choice theory, while Olson explained how the logic of collective action could lead to economic stagnation.

Gellner explored how the development of capitalism also led to the development of nationalism which led to changes in personal identity. A world of nation-states from a world of empires resulted.


See Classical Economics and Its Forerunners


History of Economic Thought  97 min


350 Years of Economic Theory, Mark Thornton Mises Institute 55 min


"Fear the Boom and Bust": Keynes vs. Hayek Rap Battle  #2 27 min


Marx Through Hayek Mises Institute Podcasts


Liberty And Economics 37 min video


Economics for Libertarians 1   37 Min  # 2  27 Min


Cameron Weber presents A Critique on Karl Marx


Chicago School Thinking: Old, New from James Buchanan








6. Analyzing the U.S. Economy

Current One-Page Economic Studies
Middle Class Economics 
Income Inequality  
Safety Net
Treated Fairly?    
Capitalism and Good Management Lowered Wages   

Is Capitalism to Blame for Middle-Class Plight

Capitalism Not Cause of Middle-Class Plight 
Look Out the Window Economics
Economics Exposed
Everyone is on Welfare  
Is Financial Aid Welfare?  
College Tuition Not Going Up Rapidly

What Happened to US Economy
World Changed, Good Jobs Gone    
Great Recession 3 p& 1 p

US Economic Normality 1945-2015  p 2
Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science Video
Post WW2 Competitive Adjustment
Economics Exposed

War on Terror    
U.S. Terror Episodes Since 1900   
Terrorism Against the West 1975-2015   
The Art of War    
Gun Violence Affects Police
U.S. Wars

Economic History
U.S. Economic History overview

Key Topics

1786 Shays Tax Rebellion Leads to a Constitution
Teddy Roosevelt Takes on the RR Trusts
1930s Government Safety Net Deficits,
Like War, Deficits, Prove Attractive

Boom, Bust, Boom: Jazz, Depression, Hiroshima

Recent Economic History

U.S. Economic History Since 1900 
US Economic Normality 1945-2015    page2
Great Recession
1p or 3 p

Interesting Topics

     Severe Recessions 2p 
History of US Banking

Recent Decades Ranked by Problems 2p
20th Century Decade Evaluation 10p

U S Banking History
American Unions




7. U.S. Political Economy

A Very Brief Political History of the United States

Western Civilization Economic History   

US Constitution
Building America's Constitution    
Constitutional History

U.S. Politics
Political Eras 1788-2016 
A Very Brief History of Elections   
20th Century American Education

US Political Eras
Political Eras One 1788 to 1892   pdf
Political Eras Two 1896 to 2016   pdf

Presidential Elections One 1778-1824   pdf
Presidential Elections Two 1828-1852      
Presidential Elections Three 1856-1892       

Presidential Elections Four 1896-1928   pdf
Presidential Elections Five 1932-72   pdf  
Presidential Elections Six 1976-2012  

U.S. Political Economy Videos
History of Economic Thought Video
History of Economics Progress 4 min video

Political Economy Textbooks
US Political Economy Basics
U.S. Political Economy Handbook
U.S. Political Economy

Political Economy Materials
Book Summaries
Presidential Courage   

Thomas Jefferson 
American Dynasty

Book Summaries Collection  
Political Economy 101      
Government and Politics 101

US Political Economy Evolution

Political Economy One-Page Studies

 editor Walter Antoniotti      
Comments to 



#8 Sundry Schematics


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Under Construction

Century                       Major Events
14th  Weather led to Great Famine of 1315 to 1317 leading to poor health and the Black Death and the beginning of the Hundred Years' War between England and France.
16 th
17th Little Ice Age
19th Small Pox Vaccine 1st of many Workers use politics to enter middle class
20th Middle east Break down of Ottoman Empire destabilized region, West takes Political and Economic control . Increase demand for oil made Arab nations more important, West loses influence