An Economic History of the World since 1400

Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointed The course was very disappointing. This covers a basic eurocentric world history course and barely touches upons economics. I would say this is a intro European history course for perhaps a middle schooler, and far from a college level course. I wish I did not buy this course. If I wanted to review the basics of European history, I would have watched Crash Courses on Youtube for free... which are more engaging anways.
Date published: 2020-07-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just the right combination of economy and history Prof. Harreld reviews all the economically active regions of the world and the various stages of each one's development through contact with other societies and innovation as the world moves from traditional rural and agricultural economies to industrialized and more urban ones. The pace is perfect and he doesn't throw a lot of econometrics at you.
Date published: 2020-05-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from hooked right away This course caught my interest so I deciided to order it. The first lecture hooked me. Prof Harreld is an excelent presenter that follows a well laid out presentation. I interruptped another course that I was monitoring in order to follw this through. I had not associated food & history until now. This gives me an improved look at history.
Date published: 2020-01-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Economics is often considered a dry course presenting things as they are in one area at one time. This course is so much more interesting because of a good presentation rich in context so we can see how, as conditions evolved, one or more competing solutions were implemented with varying degrees of success.
Date published: 2019-11-17
Rated 2 out of 5 by from An Economic History of the World since 1400 to This book is basically collections of some events.
Date published: 2019-07-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent course! Prof. Harreld takes a huge subject, provides a comprehensive but manageable framework, and takes the viewer on a steady march through the past 600 years of economic history in what is ultimately a fascinating journey. His is a lecture style before video - no bells and whistles, no pizzazz - just lots of information coherently and logically presented pursuant to a theme, delivered in a very soothing (albeit monotonic) voice. I thought the course got better and better as it went along, and I was disappointed when I finished the 48th and last lecture. The audio version of this course is entirely satisfactory. Highly recommended!
Date published: 2019-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great overview of history This course is mostly about economics but bring together much more of history.
Date published: 2018-11-30
Rated 2 out of 5 by from No Central Themes, Lots of Facts In this series, Professor Donald Harreld outlines in detail world economic history, from it’s origins in the 1400’s to modern day institutions. Professor Harreld is, without question, very knowledgeable on the topic presented and leaves no stone unturned in the historical landscape of economics. The attention to detail does have an unintended consequence; that is, a lack of a central theme that ties the course together into a coherent whole that the student can understand. We learn a great deal of detail in each lecture, but Professor Harreld’s vocal tone, pitch and intonation lack a kind of authentic passion. Moreover, Professor Harreld’s idea of history seems to be the recitation of minutiae; the memorization of important dates, canonization of terms and class types, and the historical fluctuation in the price of grain. This may simply reflect the subject matter itself and not necessary a poor performance by the Professor. I think that the large historical period covered would be far too much for any instructor to present with coherent historical themes. After watching these lectures, I can’t say I have a much better understanding of economic history; rather, the course informed me that this type of history should be avoided given my sample exposure to Professor Herreld’s course.
Date published: 2018-09-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Thorough and comprehensive I am not yet finished with the course as I am doing several simultaneously. This is an extremely interesting and informative course. The lecturer is obviously very knowledgeable. My only negative is that he tends to be a monotone speaker.
Date published: 2018-06-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from No Jargon, No Axe to Grind This is a fair-minded, informative and quite long survey of world history as seen through the lens of economics. Although it took me a while to get through, I never considered giving up on this course, as several of the lectures were extremely interesting and the rest mildly so. Topics that stood out for me: * Consequences of the Black Death for the European labor market * Cultural background of the early explorers * Economic factors in colonization * Reasons for success of Asia's "Four Tigers" * Origins of social welfare practices * Global distribution of information from early printed price books to the telegraph to today's Internet The course is amazingly untechnical. The professor is inoffensive and competent in every way, and with no ideological bias that I could detect.
Date published: 2018-06-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent presentation I found this course to be an absolute delight and was saddened when it ended. This lecturer has a surprisingly good presentation - he pretty much just stands there and talks! But every word counts! This could have been fatal, but his obvious knowledge an quiet enthusiasm make this spellbinding! I'll be watching it again, there is so much there to learn.
Date published: 2018-04-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Surprisingly fascinating As a business columnist, I thought I knew pretty much everything important about the economic history of the world. The topic could be deadly dull but Harreld hits a lot of hot button topics, analyzes issues objectively but with a point of view, and makes all of this really relevant to today. I learned a lot and glad it was a 4-CD course.
Date published: 2018-03-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very interesting and helpful I recently finished this and was quite impressed. The professor covers and synthesizes a considerable amount of economic history in an understandable and interesting manner. One thing he might consider adding is more coverage of China and India. He does devote time to these two countries' histories. However, a bit more would be nice. After all, China in its various forms was the worlds "largest" economy between roughly 1700 and late 19th century. India, in its various forms, assumed the lead before that. But overall, this was excellent. I highly recommend this.
Date published: 2018-03-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A good review of world economics A very good review of economics and how the world of today was shaped by economic forces over the last 600 years, a time characterized by phenomenal growth in economic output.
Date published: 2018-03-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Informative and easy to do I really enjoyed this course.I also enjoy the ease of the format to access the information, allowing me to complete these at my own pace, usually during my lunch hour from the comfort of my office. Thank you Great Courses !
Date published: 2018-02-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Slow Start but Worth a little Patience This might be me but I found the early material, particularly on Asia, a little slow. But hold on! Once Dr. Harreld gets to Europe you are going to learn things about the real drivers of culture and historic change that you never imagined. I lived through the 60's, and 70's and I learned things about that age I never knew were going on. I found the professor very well informed and an excellent and well prepared speaker. His knowledge on the topic is vast and he really enjoys it. The transcript materials are also very good and helpful. This was a hard course to stay with sometimes but that is really because I just am not that interested in Asia, but there were lectures here that literally had me on the edge of my seat. The role of economics in driving everyday life is well understood, but we never seriously look at its effect on history. If you have ever been curious about that, get this course.
Date published: 2018-02-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from excellent professor and course content This course is an absolute necessity as we enter the current political climate, I am much more informed in overall economic trends and consequences.
Date published: 2018-01-24
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Superficial and wrong It is astonishing that a professor conducting a course on economic history apparently believes that the Federal Reserve did not come into being "until the 1930s". This error is not just a slip of the tongue; it is repeated in the printed course guidebook. This is an unforgivable error in a course on modern economic history. No wonder the professor does not see any role for the Federal Reserve in causing the Great Depression, and has to search for other causes, alighting on gold. As others have said, it is dull and very superficial. I write as one with scores of Great Courses, most of which I rate extremely highly. this is very disappointing for anyone with any knowledgeable of the subject, and dangerous for those without.
Date published: 2017-11-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very informative and well-presented. we are really enjoying this course.
Date published: 2017-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An economic history of the world since 1400 I graduated UC Berkeley in 1967, with a degree in economics when few understood what that meant. My passion was economic history because it answered for me the question of "why are things the way they are?" Ever since I have been a student of history and economics, This course brought me back to my passion! Tim Hedemark
Date published: 2017-09-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Blend of Studies This course is a terrific blend of disciplines; economics, history, geography. The professor is well-schooled on all these. The course connects so much including the rise of civilizations, the effect of new technologies (agriculture, the plow, new weapons, new types of sailing ships), the problem of plague, the conflict of religions, and much more. That's just for starters. The rise of money, the invention of coinage, the rise of trade and trade routes, the expansion of populations, the need for material goods. Just buy it. You will not be sorry.
Date published: 2017-07-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Understanding history from an economic perspective Understanding history from an economic perspective help to fill gaps in knowledge and even purge common misconceptions about the past
Date published: 2017-06-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Different Historical Perspective This course presents an extensive overview of an important topic. I've taken history courses and economics courses, but this is the first presentation I've encountered that brings the two together focusing on how economic forces resulting from geography, natural resources, and the development of trade and technology affected historical, and ultimately current and future, events. The presentation of this course is rather dry compared to most Great Courses I've seen, but the professor does bring together the pieces of a complex subject in an understandable fashion. It covers so much that each lecture almost seems like it could be a topic for a full course.
Date published: 2017-05-19
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Poor production and superficial knowledge The production quality is very poor. Yes, the video is clear and the audio is clear. But this is basically an audiobook of a professor reading a textbook. There are no diagrams, very few pictures, very few graphs, no numbers, and few maps. 95% of the video is simply the professor talking, which again makes this more of an audiobook. The knowledge covered is also extremely superficial and is basically knowledge that any US and European History course will have already covered. They could have done so much with this course. I began watching in order to gain some economic insights. Instead I got a rehash of US and European history. The Atlantic Triangle Route? Slaves? Plantations? Scientific Revolution? These are covered in any elementary history textbook. This course is a waste of time for anyone educated.
Date published: 2017-05-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Surprisely good lectures This review is very similar to others on this course. If you are looking for excitement, this is probably not the course for you. However, if you are interested in interesting material presented in a cogent, clear manner, you will greatly like this course. The lecturer is not flashy, but he is very well prepared, and the material is very interesting. This is a general survey of world history with an economics focus. I usually don't generally like names and date history. However, the perspective here is quite different than the normal surveys based on wars and international relations. There is clearly some of that, but the focus on economic issues is new and unusual bent. I found that the lectures flew by. I am quite sure I will watch these lectures again the future. If you get this course, you will not be disappointed.
Date published: 2017-05-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Very mixed quality. Some of the material, especially in the earlier lectures, was very interesting and seemingly authoritative. Other lectures, those where I already knew something about the topic, were just embarrassing. For example, the lecturer, supposedly an economic historian, went through an entire lecture grossly mispronouncing the name of perhaps the most prominent economist of the 20th century each and every time the name came up -- John Maynard Keynes. The material on the Soviet Union also contained multiple small and large errors of fact and sequence.
Date published: 2017-04-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Curious About Why Our Economy Is the Way It Is? Dr. Harreld is not an entertainer, he's a professor. And it shows. This insightful course is not for light viewing; it's a course in economic history. That's not everyone's cup of tea, but for those with an intellectual curiosity about how the world developed economically, it's a wonderful course. He provides vivid examples that are quite straightforward and help to explain how the West came from economic insignificance in comparison to the cultures of China, India and the Middle East to a leadership position. How did they do that? That's what you will understand after viewing this course.
Date published: 2017-02-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great overview of world economic history Watched this course on The Great Courses Plus and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a great overview of economic history from the age of mercantilism right up to current globalization. I had always wanted to take an econ course and this one filled the bill.
Date published: 2017-02-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Course! This course was most interesting as I have not really been a student of history. My This course was most interesting as I have not really been a student of history. My undergraduate education was in engineering at a small school, probably inspired by Eisenhower’s actions to vastly improve the infrastructure of the US. As such my school was all engineering, all the time, with no liberal arts content Now retired I am focusing on learning more about liberal arts. Teaching Company courses like this fill the bill most admirably. Professor Herreld’s presentation was not exactly inspired but certainly able to convey the message of the course. At times he did gloss over some topics that I thought could have used more information. For example, in discussing European Socialism he did not provide any examples of rates which include taxes on Income, VAT, Pensions, and Healthcare, in addition to local taxes. Nor did he comment on the apparently changing attitude of socialism in light of the current economic status of the European Union. In his discussion of IBM he did not mention that prior to 1956 IBM only rented equipment on a month-to-month basis and did not allow for purchase of equipment by customers. This had a monopolistic effect on the part of IBM and was largely responsible for its growth. Long term leasing and purchase came only after a Consent Decree in 1956 forced some changes in IBM’s practices. Perhaps two courses of 36 lectures would allow for more detail on the effect of changes in the economic structures the affected regions. I recommend this course.
Date published: 2017-01-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Economic History ... A vast improvement over earlier courses. New stage setting, better camera work make it more interesting to watch. Very detailed book helps notice the high points in each lecture. Prof. Harreld is interesting to listen to; although occasional mistakes indicate that he is reading script from a teleprompter, not speaking off the cuff (this is not a criticism). Good class for studying with a friend.
Date published: 2016-12-28
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An Economic History of the World since 1400
Course Trailer
Self-Interest, Human Survival, and History
1: Self-Interest, Human Survival, and History

How is economic history different from a history of economics? What are the primary concerns of today's economic historians? What are some watershed economic moments of the last 500 years? Why does modern economic history "begin" around 1400? Find out in this introductory lecture to the remarkable journey ahead.

31 min
Marco Polo, China, and Silk Road Trade
2: Marco Polo, China, and Silk Road Trade

Examine the state of the global economy circa 1400, when Europe was surprisingly at the bottom of the economic success ladder. Along the way, you'll examine the broad economic outlines of China, India, and the Islamic world and discover how Europe laid the groundwork for the new capitalist world system that exists today.

30 min
Manorial Society in Medieval Europe
3: Manorial Society in Medieval Europe

Learn how Europe's manorial societies helped develop the structures and institutions that would lead to the medieval commercial revolution. You'll find out what everyday life was like on a manor, how serfs were exploited by elites, the importance of medieval trade fairs, how wool-cloth production redefined northwestern Europe, and more.

30 min
How Black Death Reshaped Town and Field
4: How Black Death Reshaped Town and Field

Outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics can have profound effects not just on human populations, but also on the economy. Discover how the Black Death shut down trade routes, lowered economic productivity, disrupted supply and demand, depressed land value, and ultimately made the medieval feudal system untenable.

31 min
Late-14th-Century Guilds and Monopolies
5: Late-14th-Century Guilds and Monopolies

After the Black Death, urban revolts placed a strong emphasis on the rights of European peasants. This also led to the creation of guilds and monopolies that reflected the self-interests of those in control of urban power structures. Find out how these systems helped carry the European economy through subsequent centuries.

29 min
European Discovery Routes: East and West
6: European Discovery Routes: East and West

What did the age of exploration mean to the European economy? Find out in this lecture that covers the voyages of explorers like Columbus and Magellan, the reasons why Asians didn't succeed at discovering a sea route to the West, the new European commercial systems created in the Americas, and much more.

31 min
1571: Spain, Portugal Encircle the Globe
7: 1571: Spain, Portugal Encircle the Globe

By 1500, the Iberian kingdoms of Portugal and Spain opened up immense possibilities for the backwater European economy to take the lead on the world stage. As you follow the story of how they did it, you'll encounter the landmark Treaty of Tordesillas; the development of Crown Trade Routes; Spanish hidalgos and conquistadors; and the link between slaves, gold, and spices.

30 min
Old World Bourses and Market Information
8: Old World Bourses and Market Information

Go inside the creation of large, state-sponsored joint-stock companies in the 17th century-including the Bourse in Antwerp and the Exchanges in London and Amsterdam-and discover how negotiated public spaces became essential commercial institutions. Also, consider the importance of merchant manuals, which collated commercial rules and best practices....

30 min
The Europeans' Plantation Labor Problem
9: The Europeans' Plantation Labor Problem

At the heart of many European colonies were plantations, an economic system that relies on one mass-produced cash crop and a large, inexpensive labor force. How did Europeans solve labor supply problems in the colonies they established around the world? When (and where) did race-based slavery begin? Why did it last for so long?...

32 min
Adam Smith, Mercantilism, State Building
10: Adam Smith, Mercantilism, State Building

According to Adam Smith, if labor creates value, then the amount of wealth in the world could increase by the collective efforts of a nation. Welcome to the dawn of mercantilism, which, as you'll learn here, radically redefined how rulers used economic policy-specifically to further the process of state building....

29 min
British and Dutch Joint-Stock Companies
11: British and Dutch Joint-Stock Companies

The English East India Company. The Dutch East India Company. Go inside these and other joint-stock companies, in which a group of merchants monopolized trade with certain parts of the world. In the process, you'll discover how these companies were granted sweeping powers, including the right to make war when they felt it necessary....

29 min
Europe, the Printing Press, and Science
12: Europe, the Printing Press, and Science

How did the printing press shape the modern economy of the Western world? The answer, as you'll learn, is inextricably linked with scientific and technological progress, including the rapid circulation of new ideas, the rise of a lay intelligentsia, and the establishment of new ways of organizing knowledge....

31 min
The Industrious Revolution: Demand Grows
13: The Industrious Revolution: Demand Grows

Explore the two centuries from 1600 to 1800 known as the "industrious revolution." First, examine the early rise of the first factories (which guilds and states initially opposed). Then, study the slow change of the household economy, consumption patterns, and consumer behavior (including the introduction of cotton cloth)....

31 min
Why Didn't China Industrialize Earlier?
14: Why Didn't China Industrialize Earlier?

Economic development in China between 1500 and 1800 was quite similar to that in Europe during the same period. So why did Europe industrialize, but China did not? Review some of the factors that contributed to a robust economy in China, then examine why China and Europe set off on different economic trajectories....

31 min
18th-Century Agriculture and Production
15: 18th-Century Agriculture and Production

Using Great Britain as a microcosm for Western Europe, examine several key changes in the relationship between agriculture and production that laid the groundwork for the Industrial Revolution. These changes include the increased centralization of government and the increased concentration of labor in the cities....

31 min
Industrial Revolution: The Textile Trade
16: Industrial Revolution: The Textile Trade

Discover what Great Britain's burgeoning textile trade in the 18th century reveals about why this nation was the heart of the Industrial Revolution. Consider how the introduction of a popular new product generated significant market demand, how inventors solved the problems of their times, and why the steam engine is rightly considered the decisive factor that facilitated large-scale industrial pr...

30 min
British Coal, Coke, and a New Age of Iron
17: British Coal, Coke, and a New Age of Iron

During the Industrial Revolution, Western Europe learned to make iron products better, faster, and cheaper than ever before. Travel back to the age of iron and steel in this lecture that covers everything from new smelting processes and coke fuel to Henry Cort's inventions and the construction of early iron-frame buildings....

29 min
Power: From Peat Bogs to Steam Engines
18: Power: From Peat Bogs to Steam Engines

Coal wasn't the only fuel in use during the Industrial Revolution. First, Professor Harreld introduces you to other power sources that were in use at the time (including peat and animal power). Then, he takes you inside the dramatic evolution of the steam engine-a new power source that would have an irrevocable impact on the progression of the world economy....

29 min
A Second Industrial Revolution after 1850
19: A Second Industrial Revolution after 1850

What makes the Second Industrial Revolution so different from its predecessor? Learn why the United States (thanks to close ties with Great Britain) was an early participant in this second phase, which saw the dawn of the American system of interchangeable parts and a stronger bond between science and industry....

32 min
Family Labor Evolves into Factory Work
20: Family Labor Evolves into Factory Work

Industrialization was not just a helpful force but also a disruptive one. In fact, many scholars believe it led to the breakdown of the working class family structure. Investigate what this meant for families, including the destabilization of wages, the gendering of occupations, the worsening of working conditions, and the rise of our modern ideas of class consciousness....

30 min
Cornelius Vanderbilt and the Modern Firm
21: Cornelius Vanderbilt and the Modern Firm

Meet Cornelius Vanderbilt, the man who was a veritable centerpiece of the Industrial Revolution. You'll learn how this iconic industrialist amassed great wealth and influence, he formed his massive railroad empire, sparked the rise of the modern firm and management hierarchies, and came to epitomize the idea of the self-made individual....

32 min
19th-Century Farm Technology, Land Reform
22: 19th-Century Farm Technology, Land Reform

From land reform to scientific farming techniques to new farm technology, explore the factors that transformed agricultural production in Europe and the United States. Topics include how America became the world's dominant agricultural power, the peasant rights that came from the French Revolution, and how farmers used new practices like crop-rotation systems and chemical fertilizers to increase t...

31 min
Speeding Up: Canals, Steamships, Railroads
23: Speeding Up: Canals, Steamships, Railroads

Railroads, steamships, telegraphs, telephones-each of these 19th-century innovations helped create the globalized, interconnected world that we currently inhabit in the 21st century. Follow the trajectory of the history of modern transportation and communication (with its emphasis on speed) as it relates to the story of economics....

31 min
European Urbanization and Emigration
24: European Urbanization and Emigration

By 1910, the population of Europe had tripled-and this expanding population provided manufacturers with a growing base of consumers to whom they could market goods. Professor Harreld uses 19th-century Paris as the perfect example of how a city handles (and mishandles) rapid urbanization and a huge influx of immigrants....

31 min
Unions, Strikes, and the Haymarket Affair
25: Unions, Strikes, and the Haymarket Affair

The Haymarket Affair in Chicago perfectly illustrates the social tensions industrialization generated-and which have yet to be solved. First, learn what we mean by "class" and "class consciousness." Then, explore the unique goals of trade unions. Lastly, examine the growing politicization of labor, including the use of labor strikes and the philosophies of Marx and Engels....

30 min
Banks, Central Banks, and Modern States
26: Banks, Central Banks, and Modern States

Professor Harreld introduces you to the origins of modern banking. First, explore the major banking revolutions that took place in Great Britain, Belgium, and Germany. Then, examine how insurance companies developed in tandem with banks; how banks fostered industrialization; and how central banks played an important role in creating a stable economic environment by setting standards for internatio...

31 min
Understanding Uneven Economic Development
27: Understanding Uneven Economic Development

Turn now to some of the factors that affected late 19th-century industrialization and, in some cases, led to uneven economic development among different countries. You'll learn how this unequal power in economic relationships contributed to a significant resentment toward capitalist systems in the West, with some countries feeling that industrialization had exacerbated economic disparity....

32 min
Adam Smith's Argument for Free Trade
28: Adam Smith's Argument for Free Trade

How "free" is the idea of free trade? Did all nations benefit from free trade? How were people convinced that free trade was the best option for the world economy? Learn why Great Britain was an early champion of free trade, and see how the economic crisis of 1870 led to a reversal of free-trade ideals....

31 min
Middle-Class Catalogs and Mass Consumption
29: Middle-Class Catalogs and Mass Consumption

Welcome to the world of mass consumption, which brought humanity into the modern economy for good. After examining what, exactly, the "middle class" is, you'll ponder the economic important of mail-order catalogs, the dawn of department stores in the United States and Europe, and the birth of modern advertising....

31 min
Imperialism: Land Grabs and Morality Plays
30: Imperialism: Land Grabs and Morality Plays

In the late 19th century, Europe and the United States established control over much of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Examine the international treaties that decided the fate of nations and civilizations, the Opium Wars, theories of social Darwinism, and how nationalistic competition among industrialized countries came to dominate how the West interacted with the non-industrialized world....

31 min
World War I: Industrial Powers Collide
31: World War I: Industrial Powers Collide

World War I was a global catastrophe that had an important effect on the world economy. First, focus on how the war put an end to free-trade policies and allowed governments to take more direct control of economic affairs. Then, survey the post-war economic world: a period of decline filled with falling production, population loss, enormous debts, and a return to protectionism....

31 min
Russia's Marxist-Leninist Experiment
32: Russia's Marxist-Leninist Experiment

Professor Harreld explains the socialist ideology of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, which became the widely accepted variety of socialism in the early 20th century. You'll learn Marx's stages of development; how Lenin steered Russia on the path of "war communism"; and how Stalin rejected the economic path laid out for Russia in favor of something much worse....

31 min
The Trouble with the Gold Standard
33: The Trouble with the Gold Standard

After World War I, the industrialized world turned its attention to a return to the gold standard. Go inside the stabilization of the international monetary system and examine the pros and cons of the gold standard. See why some industrialized countries failed to recover from the war, delve into the "structural deflation" of the world economy, and consider the role played by U.S. isolationism....

32 min
Tariffs, Cartels, and John Maynard Keynes
34: Tariffs, Cartels, and John Maynard Keynes

Learn how John Maynard Keynes, a founder of macroeconomics, shattered the predominant economic thinking of the 19th and early 20th centuries. What made governments the best source for moderating swings in economic performance? What did economic policymakers fail to consider in the years leading up to the Great Depression? How did tariffs and cartels work to eliminate much of free trade?...

31 min
Japanese Expansionism: Manchurian Incident
35: Japanese Expansionism: Manchurian Incident

First, learn why Japanese domination of Manchuria (in preparation for an eventual larger war with the capitalist West) did little to solve Japan's economic problems after the Great Depression. Then, take an intriguing comparative look at the economic motives of imperialist Japan and Nazi Germany-both of which adopted some Keynesian economic policies to get out of their respective economic depressi...

30 min
U.S. Aid and a Postwar Economic Miracle
36: U.S. Aid and a Postwar Economic Miracle

The Marshall Plan (also known as the European Economic Recovery Plan) was a major step toward returning the world to the free-trade policies of the pre-World War I period. Who was the man behind Europe's postwar economic miracle? How did these grand plans play out for nations that had been beaten down by the costs of war?...

30 min
Colonialism and the Independence Movement
37: Colonialism and the Independence Movement

From Ghana to Algeria to Indonesia, many European colonies came under the influence of Marxist theories of self-determination. The result was a new generation of native leaders who either admired or reviled the Western capitalist movement. Go inside the post-World War II economic battle between communist and capitalist economic systems in the newly disputed colonial territories....

30 min
Japan, the Transistor, and Asia's Tigers
38: Japan, the Transistor, and Asia's Tigers

It took just 10 years after World War II for Japan's economy (along with that of Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Singapore) to reemerge stronger than ever. Uncover the roots of this economic resurrection, including technology exchanges, expanded global trade, rising standards of living-and the humble transistor radio....

31 min
The Welfare State: From Bismarck to Obama
39: The Welfare State: From Bismarck to Obama

Ground the ongoing fierce debate about social-welfare programs in economic history. Here, you'll explore the origins of state-sponsored social welfare, the important role played by British economist and social reformer William Beveridge, the genesis of the welfare state during the Great Depression, the "welfare race" between capitalists and socialists during the Cold War, and the basic risks welfa...

31 min
The End of American Exceptionalism?
40: The End of American Exceptionalism?

The golden age of American capitalism was undoubtedly the 1950s and 1960s. Professor Harreld charts the development of American economic exceptionalism (aided by the U.S. automobile industry). He also examines how American exceptionalism was shaped by the Cold War, and considers whether or not it came to an end in the 1970s....

32 min
Middle East: From Pawn to Power Broker
41: Middle East: From Pawn to Power Broker

Thanks to a global shift in fuel consumption, oil has been a weapon in geopolitical disputes for quite some time. In this lecture, discover how the global economy got to this point and how the developing countries of the Middle East began to play a central role in world economic affairs in the last quarter of the 20th century....

30 min
Germany, the European Union, and the Euro
42: Germany, the European Union, and the Euro

First, probe the beginnings of the European Union in the uncertain days after World War II. Find out why supranational organizations would be attractive to potential member states, and witness the development of an early supranational organization: the European Coal and Steel Community. Lastly, follow the economic events that led to the formation of the European Union in 1993 and its common curren...

30 min
Free Trade: Global versus Regional Blocs
43: Free Trade: Global versus Regional Blocs

Go back in time to examine the political economy of foreign trade (the relationships between markets and the state). Examine some of the various forms that international trade can take, including unilateralism and multilateralism, and study some of the modern world's most important, influential (and even controversial) trade organizations, including the Arab League and NAFTA....

31 min
Gorbachev, Yeltsin, and the Soviet Decline
44: Gorbachev, Yeltsin, and the Soviet Decline

Ultimately, the communist system of the Soviet Union (despite the best efforts of leaders like Gorbachev and Yeltsin) was unable to offer a viable alternative to the market economy, and it collapsed in 1989 and 1990. Follow the story of the end of communist rule, from failed reforms and populist action to shortages of consumer goods and the absence of open political life....

30 min
Half the World Left behind in Poverty
45: Half the World Left behind in Poverty

Why have some parts of the world been left behind in terms of economic development? Should we read the economic histories of Nigeria and Bangladesh as success stories or cautionary tales? What are the different types of foreign aid that exist, and how can they best combat issues like hunger and lack of housing?...

31 min
China, India: Two Paths to Wealth Extremes
46: China, India: Two Paths to Wealth Extremes

Take a trip to the new frontiers of the world economy. You'll learn how India, by promoting its wealth of human capital, and China, by promoting foreign investment, have become two of the world's great economic powers. You'll also consider the influence played by political figures, including Gandhi, Mao Zedong, and Deng Xiaoping....

33 min
The Information Economy: Telegraph to Tech
47: The Information Economy: Telegraph to Tech

In this lecture, learn how our growing information economy is reshaping the way the world does business. Professor Harreld takes you back 500 years to reveal the evolution from a world when information was slow (and often out of date when it was received) to the 21st century, when information is instantly available and at a fairly low cost....

30 min
Leverage with Globalization in Its Grip
48: Leverage with Globalization in Its Grip

Discover how the Asian financial crisis of 1997, the Great Recession of 2008, and the Greek debt crisis of 2009 each, in their own way, highlight the interconnected nature of today's new global economy. As you'll learn in this final lecture, the two economic changes we now face include a new phase of globalization and the reorientation of capitalism toward debt-driven growth....

35 min
Donald J. Harreld


University of Minnesota


Brigham Young University

About Donald J. Harreld

Dr. Donald J. Harreld is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of History at Brigham Young University, where he has taught since 2001. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 2000.

A specialist in the social and economic history of early modern Europe, Professor Harreld has twice been named an Alcuin fellow by Brigham Young University for excellence in teaching general education courses. He is the author of High Germans in the Low Countries: German Merchants and Commerce in Golden Age Antwerp, as well as several articles on various aspects of European economic and urban history, and he is the editor of the Companion to the Hanseatic League.

Dr. Harreld was named an honorary fellow of the Belgian American Educational Foundation and a Fulbright fellow to the University of Antwerp, where he was a visiting research scholar in the Centre for Urban History. Since 2007, he has served as executive director of the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference.

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