In economics, we appear to assume that it is entirely possible to study our subject to a high standard with scant appreciation of its intellectual heritage. Most economics courses give little or no role to the history of economic thought. Standard textbooks do not give chapters to the topic. The message appears to be that it is unimportant. This is intriguing if not indeed disconcerting. It is hard to see how having an appreciation of the historical development of economic ideas could not be of benefit to a contemporary study of economics. The purpose of this chapter is to give a brief overview of the history of economic thought. The belief is that through this, all the other topics considered later on will be better understood and appreciated.
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