This book provides a comprehensive overview of the development of economics from its beginnings, at the end of the Middle Ages, up to contemporary developments, including a number of significant contributions of the 1980s. The economic thought of the last 50 years has been given particular attention to reflect the remarkable growth in research accomplished during this period. The authors present traditional as well as modern theories as part of a historical process. Thus they have not only surveyed economic thought from a theoretical perspective, but have also reconstructed the intellectual climate from which new economic theories have emerged. The book therefore takes a history-of-ideas approach, whose principal aims consist, on the one hand, of understanding the context in which the ideas are formed, and, on the other, of explaining how the fundamental ideas lead to the creation of particular theoretical systems.