1. How might the evolution of economic thought be important to the increase in western
European living standards, as characterized by the Angus Maddison data?
2. Economic History is the study of historical events using the theoretical and empirical
methods of economics. Explain how this differs from studying the history of economic ideas.
3. Mercantilism took both an English and a French form. In which ways were the two forms
similar? In which ways were they different?
4. Suppose it is the year 1768, and you are chief assistant to Francois Quesnay, A group
of English intellectuals is visiting Paris, and you have been asked by Quesnay to describe
the Physiocratic system to them. A typical French person, you assume that your English
audience is comprised of ignorant dolts who are nonetheless eager for Enlightenment. What
would you tell them about Physiocratic thought? Be sure to consider, the background assumptions
of Physiocratic thought, the three classes, and their interaction as revealed by the
Tableau Economique, and the policy implications of your ideas.
5. What do Jean Baptiste Colbert and and Anne R.J. Turgot have in common, other than
their reputation as French economic thinkers? Contrast their differences in economic thought.
6. The living standards data compiled by the late Angus Maddison reveal a pattern in
which the material living standards of Western Europe were essentially “flat” from the year
1 CE to 1500 CE, and only start increasing dramatically post-1600 CE. The thesis has been
advanced that this rise in Western European material living standards correlates wit the
birth and development of Economic Thought/Theory, whereby men explicitly attempted
to rationalize the laws governing economic phenomena. Prior to 1700 CE, most of life in
Western Europe was organized around the dogma and kerygma of the Catholic Church, the
influence of which was increasingly diminishing post-1500 CE. Consider the Biblical passages
below from the Holy Bible:
• Leviticus 25:37. “You shall not lend him your money at interest, nor give him your
food for profit.
• Luke 12:15. “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a
man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”’
• Timothy 6:10. “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted
after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many
• Philippians 4:19. “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in
glory by Christ Jesus”.
a. Explain how, to the extent that Catholic dogma/kerygma was the dominant factor in organizing
life in Western Europe, subscription to each of these biblical injunctions could have
constituted the Economic Theory by which men understood, and governed over, economic
phenomena prior to 1700 CE.
Dante Alighieri played a critical role in the literature world through his poem Divine Comedy that was written in the 14th century. The poem contains Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. The Inferno is a description of the nine circles of torment that are found on the earth. It depicts the realms of the people that have gone against the spiritual values and who, instead, have chosen bestial appetite, violence, or fraud and malice. The nine circles of hell are limbo, lust, gluttony, greed and wrath. Others are heresy, violence, fraud, and treachery. The purpose of this paper is to examine the Dante’s Inferno in the perspective of its portrayal of God’s image and the justification of hell.
In this epic poem, God is portrayed as a super being guilty of multiple weaknesses including being egotistic, unjust, and hypocritical. Dante, in this poem, depicts God as being more human than divine by challenging God’s omnipotence. Additionally, the manner in which Dante describes Hell is in full contradiction to the morals of God as written in the Bible. When god arranges Hell to flatter Himself, He commits egotism, a sin that is common among human beings (Cheney, 2016). The weakness is depicted in Limbo and on the Gate of Hell where, for instance, God sends those who do not worship Him to Hell. This implies that failure to worship Him is a sin.
God is also depicted as lacking justice in His actions thus removing the godly image. The injustice is portrayed by the manner in which the sodomites and opportunists are treated. The opportunists are subjected to banner chasing in their lives after death followed by being stung by insects and maggots. They are known to having done neither good nor bad during their lifetimes and, therefore, justice could have demanded that they be granted a neutral punishment having lived a neutral life. The sodomites are also punished unfairly by God when Brunetto Lattini is condemned to hell despite being a good leader (Babor, T. F., McGovern, T., & Robaina, K. (2017). While he commited sodomy, God chooses to ignore all the other good deeds that Brunetto did.
Finally, God is also portrayed as being hypocritical in His actions, a sin that further diminishes His godliness and makes Him more human. A case in point is when God condemns the sin of egotism and goes ahead to commit it repeatedly. Proverbs 29:23 states that “arrogance will bring your downfall, but if you are humble, you will be respected.” When Slattery condemns Dante’s human state as being weak, doubtful, and limited, he is proving God’s hypocrisy because He is also human (Verdicchio, 2015). The actions of God in Hell as portrayed by Dante are inconsistent with the Biblical literature. Both Dante and God are prone to making mistakes, something common among human beings thus making God more human.
To wrap it up, Dante portrays God is more human since He commits the same sins that humans commit: egotism, hypocrisy, and injustice. Hell is justified as being a destination for victims of the mistakes committed by God. The Hell is presented as being a totally different place as compared to what is written about it in the Bible. As a result, reading through the text gives an image of God who is prone to the very mistakes common to humans thus ripping Him off His lofty status of divine and, instead, making Him a mere human. Whether or not Dante did it intentionally is subject to debate but one thing is clear in the poem: the misconstrued notion of God is revealed to future generations.
Babor, T. F., McGovern, T., & Robaina, K. (2017). Dante’s inferno: Seven deadly sins in scientific publishing and how to avoid them. Addiction Science: A Guide for the Perplexed, 267.
Cheney, L. D. G. (2016). Illustrations for Dante’s Inferno: A Comparative Study of Sandro Botticelli, Giovanni Stradano, and Federico Zuccaro. Cultural and Religious Studies, 4(8), 487.
Verdicchio, M. (2015). Irony and Desire in Dante’s” Inferno” 27. Italica, 285-297.