Articles on Economic History

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In 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted a 15-hour work week – working three hours a day – within a few generations. Shutterstock

It’s time to put the 15-hour work week back on the agenda

The idea of reduced working hours was once seen as an essential indicator of progress. It's time it was again.
Spinning, Warping and Weaving the Wool (1594-1596) by Isaac Claesz. van Swanenburg. By permission of the Museum De Lakenhal, Leiden

The fragility of women’s rights: how female guilds wielded power long ago

In 15th and 16th century France, two female textile guilds - comprised of single women and wives working independently of their husbands - wielded great power. By the end of the 18th century, they had been dismantled.
China is Australia’s most important trading partner and a growing source of investment. AAP/Lukas Coch

Book review: Takeover – Foreign Investment and the Australian Psyche

The “national interest”, at least as far as economic policy is concerned, has always been a contested compromise and a consequence of the relative political influence of domestic forces.
New African economic history is challenging earlier wisdom by showing, for example, that railways have had profound effects, both positive and negative on African societies. Reuters/Thomas Mukoya

The renaissance in understanding Africa’s economic past

African economic history has had a renaissance and its most valuable contribution has been to show that Africans have not always been poor, nor are current poverty levels an inevitable destiny.
The G20 of today faces a different type of crisis to the one it was founded on. Jason Hargrove/Flickr

A history of crisis: can the G20 save capitalism from itself?

To understand this week’s G20 Summit being held in Brisbane, Australia, and measure its success, requires a sense of the history of economic crisis and change. Recurring crises have shaped global institutions…

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