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Spring 2025 Course

Political Economy and Its Future

Prerequisites: None

Exam Type: Extended paper/take-home examination at end of course; take-home exam not adminstered by HLS.

The world’s economic and political order reels under mounting challenges: the global financial crisis, the austerity debacle, a slowdown in economic growth and productivity, the aggravation of inequality and the inadequacy of conventional responses to it, the discrediting of the Washington Consensus, the globalization backlash, the re-emergence of nationalist politics in Europe and the United States, and a contest over the meaning, value, and requirements of democracy. We examine connections among these phenomena and explore alternative ways of thinking about contemporary market economies and their reconstruction. We organize the course around four related themes: the worldwide financial and economic crisis of the recent past and its management; the effort to promote socially inclusive economic growth in richer as well as in poorer countries; the nature, fate, and dissemination of the new knowledge-intensive style of production; and the past, present, and future of globalization.

Students should have some previous acquaintance with economics, but no advanced economic training is required. The course is open to undergraduate and graduate students outside as well as within economics. Readings will be drawn from the classic and contemporary literatures of economics, political science, philosophy, and social theory.

Note: This course is jointly-listed with FAS as GOV 1025 and HKS as DEV-233.