Carl Wennerlind

Professor of History and Chair




806 Milstein Center / Office Hours: M 2-4pm


Professor Wennerlind specializes in the history of early modern Europe, with a focus on intellectual history and political economy. He is particularly interested in the historical development of ideas about money and credit; ideas on the relationship between economy and nature; and ideas about "improvement" and "modernization." He is the author of three monographs: Casualties of Credit: The English Financial Revolution, 1620-1720 (Harvard University Press, 2011), A Philosopher's Economist: Hume and the Rise of Capitalism, together with Margaret Schabas (University of Chicago Press, 2020), and Scarcity: A History from the Origins of Capitalism to the Climate Crisis, together with Fredrik Albritton Jonsson (Harvard University Press, 2023). Currently, he is working on two books, one on early modern Swedish political economy (tentatively titled The Materiality of Capitalism: Linnaeus and the Conquest of Nature) and one on the history of arguments for and against Capitalism. In addition to his co-edited volumes David Hume’s Political Economy (with Margaret Schabas) and Mercantilism Reimagined: Political Economy in Early Modern Britain and its Empire (with Phil Stern), Wennerlind’s work has appeared in journals such as the Journal of Political Economy, American Historical Review, Journal of Economic Perspectives, History of Political Economy, and Hume Studies.

His research has been supported by the NEH, American Philosophical Society, ACLS, Institute for New Economic Thinking, Davis Center at Princeton University, Wenner-Gren Foundation, Magn. Bergvalls Stiftelse, Helge Ax:son Johnsons Stiftelse, Sven och Dagmar Salens Stiftelse, and Jan Wallanders och Tom Hedelius Stiftelse. During the spring of 2022, he was a faculty fellow at the Heyman Center for the Humanities, Columbia University. 

His undergraduate courses include "Introduction to European History: Renaissance to the French Revolution"; "A History of Money"; "Capitalism and the Enlightenment"; "Merchants, Pirates, and Slaves in the Formation of Atlantic Capitalism: 1600-1800"; "History of Capitalism"; "Scarcity: Economy and Nature"; and "Failed Empire: Sweden in the Early Modern World." He also teaches graduate seminars, such as "Commercial Practices, Commercial Imaginations in Europe, 1300-1750"; "Debating Capitalism"; and "History of Political Economy."

  • B.A., University of South Florida
  • Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin

  • European history
  • History of Ideas
  • Economic history
  • History of political economy



The Materiality of Capitalism: Linnaeus and the Conquest of Nature 

Scarcity: A History from the Origins of Capitalism to the Climate Crisis (Harvard University Press, 2023), co-authored with Fredrik Albritton Jonsson

A Philosopher's Economist: Hume and the Rise of Capitalism (University of Chicago Press, 2020), co-authored with Margaret Schabas

Casualties of Credit: The English Financial Revolution, 1620-1720 (Harvard University Press, 2011) 

Edited Volumes:

Mercantilism Reimagined: Political Economy in Early Modern Britain and its Empire (Oxford University Press, 2014), co-edited with Philip Stern

David Hume's Political Economy (Routledge, 2008), co-edited with Margaret Schabas

 'The British Lions Crouched to a Nest of Owls’: The South Sea Bubble through the Lens of the London Press.” History of Political Economy. 2023. Supplement to Vol. 55.

Atlantis Restored: Natural Knowledge and Political Economy in Early Modern Sweden.” American Historical Review. 2022. Vol. 127. No. 4. 

The Magnificent Spruce: Anders Kempe and Anarcho-Cameralism in Sweden.” History of Political Economy. 2021. Vol. 53. No. 3: 425-441.

“The Role of Political Economy in Hume's Moral Philosophy.” Hume Studies. 2011. Vol. 37. No. 1: 43-64

      Winner of Association for Social Economics' Warren Samuels Prize (2012)

“Hume on Money, Trade, and the Science of Economics.” Journal of Economic Perspectives. Co-authored with M. Schabas. 2011. Vol. 25. No. 3: 1-14.

“David Hume’s Monetary Theory Revisited: Was He Really a Quantity Theorist and an Inflationist?” Journal of Political Economy. 2005. Vol. 113. No. 1:  223-37.

     Winner of the History of Economics Society's Best Article Prize (2006). 

      Winner of the European Society for the History of Economic Thought's  
      History of Economic Analysis Award for Best Article (2006). 

“The Death Penalty as Monetary Policy: The Practice and Punishment of Monetary Crime, 1690-1830.”History of Political Economy. 2004. Vol. 36. No. 1: 129-59.

“Credit-Money as the Philosopher’s Stone: Alchemy and the Coinage Problem in Seventeenth-Century England.” History of Political Economy. 2003. Supplement to Vol. 35: 235-62.

       Revised version translated (French) and reprinted in Les Pensées 
       Monétaires dans l'histoire, de  1517 à 1776 (forthcoming)

“David Hume’s Political Philosophy: A Theory of Commercial Modernization.” Hume Studies. 2002. Vol. 28. No. 2: 247-70.

       Reprinted in David Hume (Ashgate, 2013). Ed. by Haakonssen and Whatmore.

“The Labor Theory of Value and the Strategic Role of Alienation.” Capital and Class. 2002. No. 77: 1-21.

“Money Talks, but What is it Saying? The Semiotics of Money and Social Control.” Journal of Economic Issues. 2001. Vol. 35. No. 3: 557-74.

       Translated (Bulgarian) and reprinted in Money and Culture. 2008. No. 1: 76-93. 

       Translated (Russian) and reprinted in Voprosy Economiki. Forthcoming. 

“The Link between David Hume’s A Treatise of Human Nature and his Fiduciary Theory of Money.” History of Political Economy. 2001. Vol. 33. No. 1: 139-60.

“The Humean Paternity to Adam Smith's Theory of Money.” History of Economic Ideas. 2000. Vol. 8. No. 1: 77-97. 

"Hume's Philosophy of Money" in Joseph Tinguely, ed., Philosophy and Money, Early Modern (London: Palgrave, forthcoming)

“Money and Its Ideas: Enlightenment Debates about the Morality of Money” in Christine Desan, ed., A Cultural History of Money in the Age of Enlightenment (London: Bloomsbury, 2019).

“Political Economy” in Angela Coventry and Alex Sager, eds., The Humean Mind (London: Routledge,  2019).

“Theatrum Œconomicum: Anders Berch and the Dramatization of the Swedish Improvement Discourse” in Robert Freedona and Sophus Reinert, eds., The Legitimacy of Power: New Perspectives on the History of Political Economy (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan 2018). 

 “The Political Economy of Sweden’s Age of Greatness: Johan Risingh and the Hartlib Circle” in Philipp Robinson Rössner, ed., Economic Growth and the Origins of Modern Political Economy: Economic Reasons of State, 1500- 2000 (New York, NY; Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2016).

“Money: Hartlibian Political Economy and the New Culture of Credit” in Stern and Wennerlind, eds., Mercantilism Reimagined: Political Economy in Early Modern Britain and its Empire (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014). 

“An Artificial Virtue and the Oil of Commerce: A Synthetic view of Hume's Theory of Money” in Wennerlind and Schabas, eds., David Hume's Political Economy (London: Routledge Press, 2008).  

David Hume as a Political Economist” in Dow and Dow, eds., A History of Scottish Economic Thought (London: Routledge Press, 2006). 

       Reprinted in Storia del Pensiero Economico. 2007. Vol. 32. No. 2: 5-28.

In The News