Valuing (and Teaching) the Past

22 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2003

See all articles by Sandra J. Peart

Sandra J. Peart

University of Richmond - Jepson School of Leadership Studies

David M. Levy

George Mason University

Date Written: February 27, 2003


There is a difference between the private and social cost of preserving the past. While it may be privately rational to forget the past, the social cost is significant: we fail to see that Classical political economy is a polemic against racism. The past is a rich source of surprises and debates, and resources on the Web are uniquely suited to teaching such wide-ranging debates. Our ASecret History of the Dismal Science on the web, provides a rich series of windows on the literary and analytical texts, and the artwork, that figured in the debates. Students who read Smith juxtaposed with Whitman, who read the Carlyle-Mill exchange, and who see these images, understand the debate the way a student who reads only the Wealth of Nations, Ricardo's Principles, or John Stuart Mill cannot.

JEL Classification: A11, A22, B12

Suggested Citation

Peart, Sandra J. and Levy, David Milton, Valuing (and Teaching) the Past (February 27, 2003). Available at SSRN:

Sandra J. Peart (Contact Author)

University of Richmond - Jepson School of Leadership Studies ( email )

Jepson Hall
Richmond, VA 23173
United States

David Milton Levy

George Mason University ( email )

Carow Hall
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
703-993-2319 (Phone)

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