Economics Evolution: From the 1900s to Nature's Return

Alternatives Journal, Summer 2017 | Go to article overview

Economics Evolution: From the 1900s to Nature's Return


250,000-years ago

humans arrive

50,000 years ago

collective learning: sharing information and passing it on to the next generation

10,000 years ago

agriculture

1800 C.E.

Global connection and Anthropocene: humans start dominating the environment

1888: Southall Pads

The first commercial sanitary napkins become available. These will become essential during the war period (no pun intended).

1900

1900: Women at work

Women begin entering the workforce in more significant numbers, which increases further during World War I.

1914 to 1918: The mother of invention?

Wartime competition to dominate drives a massive push in technological development and innovation (e.g., tanks, fighter planes, poison gas, etc ...).

1920

1923: Economics starts to heat up

John Maynard Keynes (definer of modern economics as we know it) publishes A Tract on Monetary Reform, gaining the interest of economists.

1926: Ecological economics' first appearance

Frederick Soddy publishes Wealth, Virtual Wealth and Debt. Soddy criticizes the idea of the economy's ability to create infinite wealth, but Is overshadowed by Keynesian economics.

October 19, 1929: Black Tuesday

Economic production continues at post war levels, but citizens do not have the means to consume. This coupled with drought leads to the Great Depression, which begins with a stock market crash on Black Tuesday, and lasts until the end of the 1930s in many countries.

1930

1929 to 1939: Keynesianism by default

During the Great Depression, demand is unstable and creates an inefficient market. Keynes recommends economy-stimulating tactics to attempt to control the supply of money through policies relating to inflation, taxation, and interest rates. This style of economics is known as Keynesianism.

1936: Keynes' masterpiece

Keynes publishes the General Theory of Employment, Interest, & Money (commonly known as The General Theory): a magnum opus that defines macroeconomic theory.

1940

1939 to 1945: World War II

Rearmament and an increase in government intervention in economic systems helps lift countries out of economic depression.

1950

1940s to 1960s: The golden age of capitalism

World War II Is over, and governments need to solve the problem of high production and low consumption because they don't want a repeat of the Great Depression. So, they turn to Fordism. In 1914, Henry Ford of the Ford Motor Company famously doubled his workers' wages to five dollars a day so they could afford to buy the cars they were producing. Fordism has three key principles:

1. Standardized products made by machines

2. Assembly lines

3. Higher wages for workers

This, alongside great advances in efficiency, creates a perfect storm for capitalism. Industries create large quantities of Items with efficient methods to keep prices low, and pay their workers enough to buy the products. This leads to the "Golden Age of Capitalism" when owning a car and moving to the suburbs Is a popular idea of freedom.

1960

1962: Silent Spring published

Environmental pioneers give early warnings about the economy's harmful effects on the environment. Rachel Carson publishes her trailblazing book Silent Spring about biochemical use.

1968: Earthrise photo

Astronaut William Anders takes a photo of the Earth rising from the perspective of the moon during the Apollo 8 mission. …

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