|Three papers (15% each)||45%|
Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session
This course focuses on capitalism and its critics in the context of the historical evolution of advanced industrial society. It will consider two major issues: the relative roles of markets and the state and the balance between individual rights and social responsibilities in the organization of economic activity. The structuring theme of the course is Thomas Kuhn's notion of a scientific paradigm. The course examines several different paradigms which have been used to analyze and understand capitalism in the context of the historical period in which those paradigms initially emerged and the specific political and economic problems with which they were designed to deal.
The material is organized under four broad headings:
The course will use fictional and ethnographic accounts of individual economic achievement to highlight and sharpen the alternative ways of thinking about the social and political dimensions of economic activity. The issue of individualism and its relationship to capitalist growth and development is first introduced through The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. We return to examine these questions again at the end of the course in the context of Watson's autobiographical account of the discovery of DNA, The Double Helix, and Tracy Kidder's study of product development in the computer industry, The Soul of the New Machine, both of which raise questions about the role of individuals relative to social groups and broader intellectual communities in modern economic development.
The course will require three types of written exercises: exams, formal papers, and weekly reactions to the readings.
There will be two exams: a midterm in Ses #15, and a final examination at the end of the term. (The midterm does not count but is used to give students an idea of what to expect for the final.)
This course is a HASS-D subject and requires 25 pages of coherent essay. This requirement will normally be met through three essays of 7-9 pages each, the first due in Ses #9, the second in Ses #17, and the third in Ses #23.
Students are required to keep a written journal consisting of two or three pages of informal reflections on the readings each week. These should identify the most important issues which the readings pose and attempt to characterize the perspective which the authors take upon the relationship between the economy and the state and/or the relative roles of individual and social forces in economic growth and development.
|Three papers (15% each)||45%|
Students are urged to purchase the following texts:
|SES #||TOPICS||KEY DATES|
|Introduction and Overview|
|1||The Evolution of the Industrial State|
|2||Paradigms and History: Kuhn, Foley, Rawls|
|Liberalism and Neoclassical Economics|
|3||Film: The Fountainhead|
|4||Discussion of Rand|
|5||Milton Friedman's Capitalism and Freedom|
|Marxism, Economics, and Politics|
|8||Marxism: The Manifesto|
|9||Elster||Essay I due|
|10||Capital, The Division of Labor and Machinery|
|11||Bowles and Gintis|
|The Social Embeddedness of the Economy|
|17||Midterm Exam||Midterm exam|
|18||Keynes||Essay II due|
|The Corporate State|
|20||Galbraith and Solow|
|21||Piore and Sabel|
|24||Lester and Piore||Essay III due|
|26||The Soul of the New Machine|
|27||The Double Helix|