Today in introductory anthropology, I will introduce you to theoretical approaches in economic anthropology. At this lecture, students often ask me “why do anthropologists study economics – don’t economists do that already?” The implicit question is that since economists are recognized by everyone to be the experts on the economy, what could anthropologists (who largely don’t even use SPSS) add to the debate? At this point, I start to talk about substantivist and neo-Marxists approach to economic processes, and we inevitably start talking about Douglas North.
Since we just took our midterms, and people may be full of grade anxiety at this point, I just wanted to point out that Douglas North, as an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley, in his words had a grade point average “a little better than a C.” Well, he beat me – I had a little better than a B-, but that could be the difference between California and Harvard grade inflation.
Have a good spring break!