PEIS 101: Modern Theories of Political Economy

Course Rationale:

"Political Economy" is that bloody crossroads where economics, politics, history, and culture meet. Economics deals with the production and distribution of wealth. Politics deals with how we decide what our collective purposes are and implement them, or how we oppress each other. History is the record of what people have done and suffered, and tells us what sets of politico-economic arrangements have succeeded and failed in the past. And culture determines both what kinds of things people think are worth doing--what they value--and also what will be the modalities of human interaction on top of which politics and economics are built.

How are we to think about issues of "political economy" in the context of modern industrial societies--or, rather, in the context of modern societies, for almost every society today is industrial or post-industrial? This course bets that an examination of modern intellectual debates in their current contexts is the best way to approach these issues. In the twentieth century four major ideologies--liberalism, fascism, Marxism, and nationalism--have competed for dominance. Which of these views of the relationship between the market and the state, the nation and its productive organization, wealth and power has won out at any particular moment has been determined by the international political-economic environment, the pace of industrialization and development, imperialism, war, and many other factors. This course will try to trace how ideologies, institutions, political-economic environments, and chance have given rise to the political and economic forces that have shaped everyone's lives during the modern era.

Syllabus Outline:

INTRODUCTION: Barber, Fukuyama, Stiglitz, "The Public Sector in the United States," Lindblom, "The Market as Prison, " Olsen, The Logic of Collective Action.

THEORIES AND IDEOLOGIES: Liberalism: Friedman, Hayek, Coase, Sen; Nationalism: Reich, Hirschman, Krugman; Marxism: .

THE GREAT DEPRESSION: Kindleberger, Keynes.