The historian as citizen

Does studying the aspirations, fears and utopias of past economists and of the societies they lives in (working on “social engineering” stirs this recurrent question) give us any special ability to understand the zeitgeist, trends and salient features of our time?

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3 thoughts on “The historian as citizen

  1. Some historians of economics have sought to channel the voices of the great from beyond the grave and that gives them a particular vantage point on our time. A defunct vantage point.

    I think there should be a second possibility closer to what you suggest. It will be a special ability to read controversies, ideologies, and social systems. Will it be a great achievement and the key to unlock social and cultural progress? Maybe not. But believing in democracy as the multiplication of voices and insights, I can only see it as a positive thing.

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