PSCI 246
Introduction to Capitalism Fall 2022
Division II

Class Details

Must we choose between “socialism or barbarism?” A century after Rosa Luxemburg’s challenge, it is clear that socialism did not win. Does this mean that we have descended to barbarism? Tracing the path of capitalist development in the rich democracies suggests a range of responses. Some states have developed robust institutions that provide for citizens’ basic needs and check the power of business; others leave the poor threatened by starvation and workers exposed to exploitation. How and why has capitalism evolved in different forms in different countries? This course introduces students to capitalism by examining the struggles between social groups that lead to variation in distributional outcomes and economic performance. Students will develop a conceptual toolkit to study the politics of capitalism based in the economic history of the rich democracies (Europe, United States) in the twentieth century. The second half of the course challenges students to apply this toolkit to the twenty-first century, focusing on attempts to transition from industrial manufacturing to services. We engage pressing questions around technological innovation, populism, financialization, and globalization.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 25
Class#: 1920
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Class participation, two presentations, three essays.
Prerequisites: None.
Enrollment Preferences: Potential and actual PSCI and POEC majors.
Distributions: Division II
Attributes: POEC Comparative POEC/Public Policy Courses
PSCI Comparative Politics Courses

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