Political Economy - Etymology

Etymology

Originally, political economy meant the study of the conditions under which production or consumption within limited parameters was organized in the nation-states. In that way, political economy expanded the emphasis of economics, which comes from the Greek oikos (meaning "home") and nomos (meaning "law" or "order"); thus political economy was meant to express the laws of production of wealth at the state level, just as economics was the ordering of the home. The phrase économie politique (translated in English as political economy) first appeared in France in 1615 with the well known book by Antoine de Montchrétien: Traité de l’economie politique. French physiocrats, Adam Smith, David Ricardo and German philosopher and social theorist Karl Marx were some of the exponents of political economy. The world's first professorship in political economy was established in 1754 at the University of Naples Federico II, Italy (then capital city of the Kingdom of Naples); the Neapolitan philosopher Antonio Genovesi was the first tenured professor; in 1763 Joseph von Sonnenfels was appointed a Political Economy chair at the University of Vienna, Austria. In 1805, Thomas Malthus became England's first professor of political economy, at the East India Company College, Haileybury, Hertfordshire.

In the United States, political economy first was taught at the College of William and Mary; in 1784, Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations was a required textbook.

The University of Glasgow, where Smith was Professor of Logic and Moral Philosophy, changed the name of its Department of Political Economy to the Department of Economics (ostensibly to avoid confusing prospective undergraduates) in academic year 1997–98, making the class of 1998 the last to be graduated with a Scottish Master of Arts degree in Political Economy.

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Famous quotes containing the word etymology:

    The universal principle of etymology in all languages: words are carried over from bodies and from the properties of bodies to express the things of the mind and spirit. The order of ideas must follow the order of things.
    Giambattista Vico (1688–1744)

    Semantically, taste is rich and confusing, its etymology as odd and interesting as that of “style.” But while style—deriving from the stylus or pointed rod which Roman scribes used to make marks on wax tablets—suggests activity, taste is more passive.... Etymologically, the word we use derives from the Old French, meaning touch or feel, a sense that is preserved in the current Italian word for a keyboard, tastiera.
    Stephen Bayley, British historian, art critic. “Taste: The Story of an Idea,” Taste: The Secret Meaning of Things, Random House (1991)