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Mary Neuburger, Director BUR 452, 2505 University Avenue, Stop F3600, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-3607

Harry Cleaver, Jr.

Associate Professor Ph.D.

Contact

  • Phone: 512.475.8535
  • Office: BRB 3.162
  • Office Hours: Wednesday 10:00am-12:00pm & Thursday 8-10:00am
  • Campus Mail Code: C3100

REE 335 • Polit Econ Of Intl Crises

45240 • Spring 2011
Meets MWF 800am-900am UTC 3.132
(also listed as ECO 357L, EUS 348, LAS 355 )
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Topic description: Examines several dimensions of the ongoing crises in the world economic order and the interrelationships among them. Problem areas covered are neoliberalism, international money, debt, famine, immigration, and energy shocks. Prerequisite: Economics 304K and 304L with a grade of at least C- in each.

REE 335 • Survey Hist Of Econ Thought-W

45625 • Fall 2009
Meets MWF 800-900 UTC 3.122
(also listed as ECO 368 )
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Eco 368 syllabusEco 368
History of Economic Thought
SYLLABUS
Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9:00-10:00am, UTC 3.122
Professor Harry Cleaver
Office: BRB 3.162
Office Hours: Th:8:00-10:00am, W:10:00-12:00noon
TA name and office hours TBA
Course Description
This course deals with the history of economic thought in modern times, i.e.,
since the rise of capitalism as a social, and increasingly global, system. It is
a central tenet of my approach to studying and teaching this history, that the
ideas themselves be grasped as a part of the history within which they were
formulated and spread. Ideas stand neither above nor outside of history but
within it, as moments of strategic thinking and of the ideological justification
of strategies for organizing the world. The history of economic ideas,
therefore, can only properly be grasped as part of the history of the economy
itself, with all its moments of organization and conflict. "Economics" is the
study of the economy, i.e., the capitalist organization of the production and
distribution of wealth. But it has also been part of the effort to promulgate
and justify that economy and the subordination of all of society to it. As you
will discover, as capitalism has developed and transformed more and more of
social life into moments of itself, economics has simultaneously provided an
"economic understanding" of those moments to replace previous ones.
Indeed, the contemporary definition of economics as the "science of choice"
clearly seeks to embrace an extremely wide array of human social activities
--many of which, like the internal personal relations of families, were hitherto
considered outside the economy. But, of course, this is not just a matter of
intellectual imperilism, of economists seeking to impose their logic on new
realms of the human. It is an intellectul moment that reflects, justifies and
seeks to order the actual incorporation of families into the reproduction of the
economy (capitalism) itself.
For economists are preeminently architects of the economy. They do not simply
seek to understand it or to justify it. They seek to maintain, strengthen and
expand it. They develop abstract theories but those theories inform (often quite
intentionally) the management of the economy and of all the social life it
encompasses.
Therefore, I argue, how you feel about economic theories, about economists and
their work, depends on how you feel about the economy (capitalism) of which they
are the caretakers and propagators. If you are in fundamental agreement with
their view that this is the best kind of social order that can be achieved, then
your primary interest in studying the history of economic thought will be in
analysing the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches to managing it
within various contexts. If on the other hand, you have severe critiques of this
kind of social order and think humans ought to be able to transcend it, then
your interest in the various moments of economic thought may be primarily in
seeing how economists have contributed to thwarting such transcendence in the
past, as an aid to understanding how they are doing so in the present.
Study Materials
The majority of readings for this course are available to you on-line. When I
first created this course, I spent a goodly chunk of the summer searching the
web (and other e-text sources) to gather useful material and create links to it
here in the on-line list of readings. The online material is also linked in the
"lecture notes" I am creating for each section and you will be expected to read
all the material so linked unless you have been told otherwise. This process of
gathering material, however, has continued ever since, and I may add further to
the existing array of materials as we proceed. If in your studies you find what
you consider to be important materials that are not currently available please
bring them to my attention. A major online source for information on economists
and their original texts is the History of Economic Thought website. Many of the
links provided for this class are to that site or to others found through it. In
as much as this is a one-semester survey course, there is far more informaton
available than we will cover and such sites can provide you with valuable tools
for further explorations on your own.
One hardcopy text that has been ordered for this course is Robert Heilbronner's
The Worldly Philosophers. This book provides an easy to read overview of the
history of economic thought up to the post WWII period. It is an interpretive
essay, however, and no substitute for reading original texts by the various
authors. Moreover, given the time it was written it does not cover more recent
decades and therefore must be followed up with more contemporary material.
Because this semester this course is a writing component course I have also
ordered copies of the latest edition of William Strunk and E.B. White's famous
little book Elements of Style. This book's preoccupation is with writing simply
and clearly, in the vernacular, i.e., in everyday, easy to understand prose. The
original 1918 version of the book is no longer copyrighted and is available
on-line. Master these basic elements of clear writing and you will have firm
foundation for developing more specific personal styles of writing.
Suggested Study Method
As a means of studying the materials listed above, I recommend that you keep a
notebook during the entirety of the course consisting of the following:
1) Your own notes summarizing the arguments of the various authors and relating
them to the times in which they lived and wrote as well as to each other.
2) Class notes on my lectures and class discussions, and finally, most
importantly,
3) Your own comments on the authors, critiques of my comments and your own
interpretations - and possible appropriations - of the subject matter.
The notebook could be designed as follows: a spiral or loose-leaf notebook with
notes spread across two opposing pages. The left page divided in two with the
left column for notes on the various authors and the right column for class
lecture notes, the right page for your own commentaries. I strongly recommend
that you keep your reading and note taking ahead of class lectures. If you have
read, studied and taken notes on material before it is covered in class, then
when you listen to the lectures, you will be in a much better position to
understand and evaluate what is being said, to ask questions or to offer your
own interpretations. If you get behind in this class, you are in real trouble!
The notebook can provide you with a unified, compact instrument for studying and
thinking about the materials. It would also be your best preparation for tests.
Prerequisites
This is an upper division economics course and you will find it easier if you
have already taken at least the two introductory courses in macro and micro. In
as much as we will be studying the development of economic thought within
history, you will also be better off if you are familiar with the history of the
UK (esp. England, Scotland and Ireland), of France and of the United States from
the mid-18th through the 20th Centuries. If you are not familiar then you will
have a little extra work acquiring enough familiarity to situate the texts you
will be reading.
Requirements
Largely because of the thought I have been putting into the course I teach on
the Political Economy of Education, I have become more and more convinced that
studying course material without appropriating it in some way is a royal waste
of time. Therefore in ALL of my classes I am now asking that you seriously think
about what you can appropriate, i.e., integrate into your life trajectory,
either as part of your intellectual development or in terms of your decisions
about how you behave in the world. Concretely, what I want you to do is to write
two essays, one at the beginning of the course and one at the end. In the former
case I want you to think about the path that led you to this course and how you
might make use of it. In the latter case, I want you to explain what you have
appropriated and how, as well as what you have NOT appropriated and why. These
two essays will constitute a substantial part of your grade (see below), so you
would do well to take them seriously. In my other classes I have discovered that
many students, never having done anything like this before, find this assignment
quite difficult. To clarify what I am asking for I have written an essay on
"Learning, Understanding and Appropriating" - that you can find among the other
supplementary materials on this website - that includes some examples, including
my own.
This year this course is a writing component one. That means you will write a
series of things, not just to help yourself understand and appropriate the
material but to work on your writing skills. It also means that you will get
feedback, mainly from me, aimed at pointing out problems with your writing and
sometimes making suggestions about how to improve it.
As you write, get feedback and study your writing, I want you to take note of
mistakes you make frequently and that you therefore need to check for in your
writing before posting it or handing it in. Later in the semester, when you hand
in the draft of your final essay, I will expect you to attach a copy of this
list of things you have found necessary to work on during the semester. One
simple example: "Go which hunting" - an admonition based on having realized that
you often use "which" where you should use "that". The practical consequence of
this awareness is that you can run a search for "which" in your word processing
program and then examine each one to make sure it is properly used, or,
conversely needs to be changed to a "that."
Writing assignments:
All of the writings assignments described below should be constructed using a
word processor and should be spell and grammar checked before either handing in
or posting, as the case may be. In the case of essays, pages must be numbered.
In the case of posting, given the peculiarities of Blackboard, you need to use
dumb as opposed to smart quotes and use n-dashes instead of m-dashes to keep the
text clean.
  The first of the two essays mentioned above will be the first of your writing
  assignments. It should be approximately five pages long (double- spaced) and
  handed in to me by the end of the second week of classes, i.e., September 4th,
  in digital form. I will assess these essays for both content and writing and
  return them to you. This essay will NOT be graded, but my comments will give
  you some idea of how I will be grading your other material, including your
  final essay.
  You will be expected to write roughly one-page responses to the course
  materials assigned each week. Those responses will be posted on the
  appropriate Blackboard forum by Friday of each week. You will also be expected
  to write reactions to each other's postings. Your responses should be written
  in the light of your initial essay, and confront the issue of "appropriation",
  as well as explaining any other reactions you may have to the texts. Because
  with a class of 20+ students, it is hardly feasible for you to react to
  everyone's responses, you need only react to one each week. However, you must
  pick one that no one else has picked, so that everyone's responses will
  receive at least one reaction. You can, of course, react to more than one, but
  if you do write up a reaction to a second or third response, don't post it
  until someone else has first posted their reaction. I will give you,
  periodically, individual feedback on how I think you are doing. Your initial
  postings will count for 30 percent of your final grade and your responses to
  others' postings will count for another 30 per cent. Let me be clear: you will
  be graded on both the thoughtfullness of your response to the ideas in the
  texts and the quality of your writing.
  The second essay mentioned in the section above (the essay on appropriating
  material made available in this course) will be constructed in two steps.
  First, by October 3rd, you need to submit an outline of your final essay,
  complete with references to whatever intellectual materials (both inside and
  outside of this course) whose influence on you will be discussed in the essay.
  That outline will be returned to you with any comments I feel are appropriate.
  It will not be graded. Second, the essay itself will be due at the end of the
  10th week of classes, i.e., October 30th. Once again, I will give you
  individual feedback and you will have an opportunity to revise and resubmit
  that essay by the last day of class. I will grade your final version and that
  grade will constitute 30 per cent of your overall grade. Because this course
  will be organized in seminar fashion, attendance is mandatory, will be
  checked, and will constitute 10 percent of your final grade.
Course Organization
Because this is a writing component course and enrollment is limited, I prefer
to conduct this course primarily as a seminar, that is to say a course more of
discussion than lecture. We will discuss this in class but I propose the
following way of proceeding. With the class meeting three times a week, on
Monday I lead discussion, explaining to you how I assess the readings of the
week, what I think is most important and what I have appropriated from them. On
Wednesday the class breaks into smaller groups of 5-6 to discuss your own
readings of the material. And then on Friday, we have general in-class
discussion of the readings with everyone, myself included, participating. If you
have finished reading the assigned material by Wednesday, discussions on
Wednesday and Friday should provide you with extra material for whatever
responses you might post by Friday. And then you will have the weekend to read
and react to each other's postings, while beginning to read the material
assigned for the following week.
The course calendar currently lists the subject matter to be covered each day
when the course is taught as a lecture course. Actual weekly reading assignments
for this semester will be posted on the Blackboard "assignments" page.
NB: Students with disabilities may request appropriate academic accomodations
from the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Services for Students
with Disabilities, 471-6259.
Available readings.

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