PSCI 208
Wealth in America Fall 2014
Division II Writing Skills
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The pursuit of wealth is an important feature of American political identity, captured by the ideas of the American dream and the Protestant work ethic. The accumulation of wealth has been lauded as both a worthy individual activity and a vital component of the nation’s public interest. Yet inequality in wealth may conflict with the political equality necessary for democratic governance and public trust, leading to concerns that we are sacrificing community, fairness, and opportunity for the benefit of a small portion of the population. This tutorial focuses on questions about the public value of wealth and its accumulation, which have become more pressing now that the richest one percent of Americans own 34 percent of privately held wealth. Some readings will be historical, particularly those focusing on American political thought and the politics of the Gilded Age, such as Andrew Carnegie’s “Gospel of Wealth”. Most of the readings, such as Graetz and Shapiro’s Death by a Thousand Cuts and Pierson and Hacker’s Winner-Take-All Politics, will focus on contemporary political debates about the accumulation, concentration, and redistribution of wealth, prompted by concerns about high–and increasing–inequality in both income and wealth.
The Class: Format: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 1589
Grading: OPG
Requirements/Evaluation: five essays (5 pages each), five critiques (2 pages each), and one final paper
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: sophomores with an interest in social sciences and junior political science and political economy majors
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills
Attributes: POEC U.S. Political Economy + Public Policy Course
PSCI American Politics Courses

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