Journal Article

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

Alexander Dow and Sheila Dow

in Cambridge Journal of Economics

Published on behalf of Cambridge Political Economy Society

Volume 38, issue 6, pages 1339-1353
Published in print November 2014 | ISSN: 0309-166X
Published online June 2013 | e-ISSN: 1464-3545 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cje/bet021
Economic history and economic theory: the staples approach to economic development

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  • History of Economic Thought
  • Agricultural, Environmental, and Natural Resource Economics
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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.

Keywords: Economic history; Staples approach; Financial crisis; B00; G00; N5; O1

Journal Article.  8352 words. 

Subjects: History of Economic Thought ; Agricultural, Environmental, and Natural Resource Economics ; Economics ; Economic Development

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