Essay 1

Please write an essay on one of the two topics below. The essay should be 12-15 pages double-spaced. It is due on Lecture 7 at start of class. No additional reading or research is required beyond the syllabus, class lectures and section discussions.

  1. Historically, free trade seems to be a rather recent policy. Why were governments more protectionist in the past? Why and when - did states stop providing protection against economic forces coming from outside their borders? Is it that states are less willing - or that they are less able-to provide such protection today?
    What changed? The essay should consider alternative explanations of the decline of protectionism. It should identify which changes grew out of changes within domestic societies (e.g., in ideas, or interests, or national policies) and which derive from international factors (e.g., "globalization," new institutions, changes in the relative power of different countries, and so forth).
    After considering different approaches, lay out and provide evidence for your own conclusion about the most convincing explanation. [Feel free if you wish to take a longer historical perspective and to consider the fall-rise-fall of protectionism from the 19th to the 21st centuries.]
  2. Who is for free trade and for capital mobility? Who opposes them (one, or the other, or both)? Do the positions on free trade and capital flows of individuals and of social groups depend mainly on their economic interests? Do given economic interests point clearly to support or opposition for lowering the barriers to cross-border flows? Or if some other factors are more important in determining positions on trade and capital markets - what are they? Which "other factors" might matter in explaining support or opposition?
    Lay out alternative views presented in the readings, and present your own conclusion. Provide evidence (historical or contemporary) from at least two different countries. Whichever position you take, be sure to consider counter-arguments.

Essay 2

Please write an essay on one of the two questions below. The paper should be 12-15 pages double spaced and it is due at the start of the last class.

  1. How can we evaluate the effects of globalization as against the other processes at work in the world at the same time? Why should we want to be able to sort out the impact of globalization from the impacts of other forces at work-how does this matter? Consider these issues by focusing on one important contemporary social, political, or economic issues. Examples might be inequality, economic growth, unemployment and job creation, development, democracy. Analyze how globalization has affected changes in this area, and in order to be able to specify the role of globalization, lay out carefully the other processes that may be at work. Lay out the argument on all sides, and draw your own conclusion about the significance of globalization for the issue in question. Consider whether changes in public policy (and which changes) might improve outcomes. Use evidence and arguments from readings of the entire semester in developing the arguments. [Note: you may choose some other issue, like culture, environment, or innovation - and examine globalization's effects. But there's not enough in the readings to make that possible, so you'd have to do extra reading. For the topics listed above, it is possible to write a good essay without further research.]
  2. Opponents of globalization argue that it weakens national governments making it difficult or impossible for them to maintain social welfare policies, environmental policies, and other fiscal redistributive measures. Others claim there is little or no evidence of national governments' decline. Yet other writers seem to think that whatever the effects of globalization on governments, they are likely to be beneficial for long-term economic growth.
    Please analyze the claims laid out in this controversy, and try to argue the strongest case you can in favor of the view(s) you find most convincing. In doing so be sure to consider seriously the case that might be made against your position, and why you reject it.