History of Economic Thought

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U.S. Economy

The U.S. economy is one of the most important aspects of American society. Not only does it affect citizens on a daily basis, but it is also a pivotal element in determining U.S. politics and government. This guide serves as a brief outline of the U.S. economy, beginning with the basic history of economic policy and then covering present-day federal economic organizations, private economic think tanks, sources for economic news and economic indicators.

History of Economic Thought

To understand current economic policies and economic news, take a look at the history of economic thought. The following sites offer an overview of economic theory, some of which predates the American economy. These sites are a good source of information if you’re interested in discovering the basis of the U.S. economy today.

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Government Economic Organizations

The inner workings of U.S. government organizations provide insight into the basic principles of American economic policy and issues. Learn how each of these organizations is working to maintain and improve the U.S. economy, and what economic policy entails.

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  • Most federal organizations post their economic policies somewhere on their Web site. If an organization you’re interested in isn’t listed in the sites below, search for the organization’s Web page to read about its economic policies and agenda.
  • If you’d like to contact a political representative about an economic issue of interest (for example, taxes, social security or education funding), visit Project Vote Smart for a directory of state and local representatives.
  • As you research, keep in mind the bias of the party holding the majority in each government organization. For example, as you look up economic issues on the White House Web site, remember that the current administration will favor conservative economic policies. On the other hand, more liberal policies may dominate discussion in Congress.

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Economic Think Tanks

Think tanks unaffiliated with the government can serve as good sources of nonpartisan economic discussion. The sites below provide economic news and analysis from organizations that examine and consider economic issues, and offer strategies and economic policy proposals.

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  • The following organizations may be nonpartisan, but that does not mean they are without bias. When in doubt about the political tendencies of an organization, check the Web site’s “About Us” section.

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News About the Economy

These sources offer the most readable, immediate economic news. If you want to find out what economic issues are happening today, or want to track the progress of the markets, these sites are the best source of current economic coverage.

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  • Other thorough sources of economic news are The Wall Street Journal and Economist.com. Both require a subscription for complete access but the effort and price is worth the analysis provided.

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Economic Indicators

Economic indicators measure the economy based on how it is projected to perform. As a result, they reflect how the economy is perceived at any given point and are a great source of straight data.

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  • Economists at the Federal Trade Commission frequently present lectures detailing the state of the U.S. economy. Click on the title of any presentation that interests you for full PDF texts of these reports.
  • Staying abreast of global economic developments is also important. More often than not, the international economy influences American markets. Track international indicators using, or refer to the Financial Times, suggested in the previous section.

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