This course will explore the diverse markets and other sites in and around London. We will use the lenses of historical and modern-day cultures to observe Londoners’ examples of local, national, and international economic outcomes. Our explorations will range from local wholesale and retail clothing and food, to institutions such as insurer Lloyd’s and Christie’s/Sotheby’s auction houses, and the London financial markets. While visiting those local markets and the historic exchanges, we will discuss and consider the variety of outcomes that have been realized by various cultural and socioeconomic groups.
We will also study the strategic interactions among individuals, and the regulatory policies adopted by governments that promote or hinder fairness across economic, racial, ethnic, cultural, and other boundaries. The works we read will be from economists, historians, and fiction writers—drawing in part from the many connections between Britain and the rest of the world. Throughout our discussions, we will connect these ideas to London’s place at the center of world economics and finance, and to the active cultural milieux in Londoners’ neighborhoods and international identities, and to the various economic and social outcomes that have occurred over time and place.