When economists analyze development policy, the first requirement is a description of the economy, of individuals, households, firms, farms and any other relevant entities, how they behave and how they interact. Having set up the 'non-policy' outcome the policy is introduced and the consequences are worked out given the model of the economy specified earlier. Clearly, history matters, and it matters in important and interesting ways for policy. History matters also to how a ruling elite perceives its objectives and its constraints. It should be clear that the way in which history matters is more than as a series of facts and events in the past related to the policy in question, say. Rather, what is equally if not more important is how and in what form these events of the past came to be embedded in the consciousness of the present generation.
Can historians assist development policy-making, or just highlight its faults?
History can highlight previously successful strategies; aid reflection on the policy-making process itself; and expose the origins of current ideas. Development policy-making, in the broadest sense, is as old as society. At the simplest level, historians can reveal which brilliant new programs have actually been tried before, then buried, as well as what has worked in the past. Historians, uniquely, can examine circumstances before, during and long after particular interventions, and thus assess their multiple impacts over a far greater time period and in a more nuanced way than is possible for contemporary programs. It is possible for history to assist, positively, in the development of better policy, precisely by showing, negatively, where the obstacles have been to desirable outcomes, whether within policy-making processes themselves or in reactions to them. Public health policy is useful to consider in this respect, because its goals are uncontroversial.
This chapter begins with three different strands of intellectual history. First, there is a large 'business management' literature, the stuff about business one can buy in airports and read on airplanes. Second, the approach of economics is pithily expressed in the fact that the branch of game theory that deals with the possibility of allowing people to communicate during negotiations is called 'cheap talk'. The third element is a bit less intellectual history but a bit more pragmatic. Perhaps nowhere are these three points better illustrated than in the government ownership and control of schooling. Government-produced schooling is arguably the most wildly successful movement of the twentieth century. The shift towards government schooling is not that societies previously did not educate their young and now they do, but rather a contestation about what constitutes an education.
Natural resources and development – which histories matter?
This chapter presents a distinction between 'natural resources' in general (including fertile soil and balmy climates) and what are usually labelled 'point natural resources', i.e. resources like oil, gas, minerals and deep shaft diamonds. To more fully understand the political dynamics of the contemporary 'resource curse', it provides a little schematic economic history. The history of mining in Africa is certainly driven by rents, including the political privileges that they can buy and the political competition and conflicts that they generate. History is not a pristine discipline unaffected by contemporary developments in economics and other social sciences. As in the real world of international trade, intellectual imports, exports and re-exports among disciplines need to be encouraged but also monitored for potential hazards.
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, historians of England pioneered a series of new approaches to the history of economic policy. Commerce, finance and statecraft charts the development of these forms of writing and explores the role they played in the period's economic, political and historiographical thought. Through doing so, the book makes a significant intervention in the study of historiography, and provides an original account of early-modern and Enlightenment history. A broad selection of historical writing is discussed, ranging from the work of Francis Bacon and William Camden in the Jacobean era, through a series of accounts shaped by the English Civil War and the party-political conflicts that followed it, to the eighteenth-century's major account of British history: David Hume's History of England. Particular attention is paid to the historiographical context in which historians worked and the various ways they copied, adapted and contested one another's narratives. Such an approach enables the study to demonstrate that historical writing was the site of a wide-ranging, politically charged debate concerning the relationship that existed – and should have existed – between government and commerce at various moments in England’s past.
The major part of this book project was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 700913. This book is about two distinct but related professional cultures in late Soviet
Russia that were concerned with material objects: industrial design and
decorative art. The Russian avant-garde of the 1920s is broadly recognised to
have been Russia’s first truly original contribution to world culture. In
contrast, Soviet design of the post-war period is often dismissed as hackwork
and plagiarism that resulted in a shabby world of commodities. This book
identifies the second historical attempt at creating a powerful alternative to
capitalist commodities in the Cold War era. It offers a new perspective on the
history of Soviet material culture by focusing on the notion of the ‘comradely
object’ as an agent of progressive social relations that state-sponsored Soviet
design inherited from the avant-garde. It introduces a shared history of
domestic objects, handmade as well as machine-made, mass-produced as well as
unique, utilitarian as well as challenging the conventional notion of utility.
Situated at the intersection of intellectual history, social history and
material culture studies, this book elucidates the complexities and
contradictions of Soviet design that echoed international tendencies of the late
twentieth century. The book is addressed to design historians, art historians,
scholars of material culture, historians of Russia and the USSR, as well as
museum and gallery curators, artists and designers, and the broader public
interested in modern aesthetics, art and design, and/or the legacy of socialist
Writers on historical affairs in the eighteenth century increasingly came to conceive of commerce as a sphere of activity that was more dependent on the manners and desires of a nation's people than it was on the specific actions of its monarchs. The book's conclusion discusses this development with reference to a range of writers (including Hugh Blair, Adam Anderson and Catharine Macaulay) and considers its consequences. Chief among these, it is argued, was a shift in attitudes towards economic statecraft, and a series of new approaches to the histories of finance and commerce.
This book highlights one specific aspect of the history of the Jews in Italy: the trials of professing Jews before the Papal Inquisition at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Inquisitorial processi against professing Jews provide the earliest known evidence of a branch of the Papal Inquisition taking judicial actions against Jews on an unprecedented scale and attempting systematically to discipline a Jewish community, pursuing this aim for several centuries. Although the belief that the Inquisition could prosecute Jews had already been set out by theologians from medieval times, the papacy officially brought them under Inquisitorial jurisdiction in 1581. Sixteen or 9" of processi were initiated by Jewish delators who seemingly believed that the Holy Office was a suitable location for delations of fellow religionists and neophytes.