LAS 381 • 8-INTL BUSINESS FELLOWS SMNR
5:00 PM-8:00 PM
Description: The McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin will offer a multi-disciplinary graduate-level seminar in the spring 2010 semester to study events and forces affecting and re-shaping the world. Students from all graduate programs at the University of Texas at Austin are invited. The overall purpose of the seminar is to help prepare students to be leaders in their respective professions over the course of their careers. To do that, the seminar will bring together students and faculty from across disciplinary lines to explore the reasons for and the implications of the changing global landscape. The seminar will include lectures, readings and discussions on: (i) international economics, finance, and business; (ii) international political and military affairs; (iii) cultural, historical, and religious factors bringing together and dividing peoples, countries and civilizations around the world; and (iv) demographic developments, environmental challenges, and other risks and challenges putting pressure on world systems and structures at this point of the 21st century. In analyzing these issues, the seminar will consider such possibilities as the following: 1. Are we entering into an era in which regional trading blocs and protectionism will replace globalization; or will recent episodes of financial crisis, terrorism, and war serve as catalysts for a renewed commitment to global cooperation? a. What are the implications of continued globalization? For example, will convergence pressures bring an end to the American middle class; will the EU's social safety net be weakened; will economic development end Chinas one-party rule; will India rise as a dominant power? b. What are the implications of a retrenchment from globalization? What would a world of trade blocs and protectionism portend for business, the global economy and international relations? 2. How will economic exigencies and energy requirements affect political and military arrangements? For example, (i) will the hegemony of the U.S. end as its recent excesses drain it of strength and new centers of power emerge, or will the U.S. overcome its current crisis and remain the dominant global power; (ii) will the Trans-Atlantic Alliance between the United States and the European Union continue as a centerpiece of U.S. and E.U. foreign policy or will it be reduced in importance by (A) a bilateral "Pacific Partnership" between the U.S. and China and/or (B)a closer relationship between the European Union and Russia and/or the Middle East; (iii) will China, South Korea and Japan shed their historic antipathy and join together with other Asian countries to form an Asian Alliance ? 3. What are the implications of demographic trends and a warming world? What cultural, historical and religious factors need to be taken into account as we prepare for a future in which peoples from different cultures and religious traditions commune and compete with one another on more and more levels of life? Will such intercourse lead to a clash of civilizations or will people find ways to retain their values and still interact with others with respect and dignity? 4. What will the world look like in 2050?
Michael Howard, in his book The Lessons of History, wrote that the real lessons of history are not so much about "pride and folly," as about people, often of masterful intelligence, trained usually in law or economics or perhaps political science, who have led their governments into disastrous miscalculations because they have no awareness whatever of the historical background, the cultural universe of the foreign societies with which they have to deal. It is an awareness for which no amount of strategic or economic analysis, no techniques of crisis management or conflict resolution...can provide a substitute. The seminar will bring such historical and cultural factors into our exploration of these issues, in addition to the disciplines of business, economics, law, and political science. Students will meet in weekly seminars with speakers from both within and outside the University to pursue this study. In addition, students will work with each other across disciplinary lines to develop class projects on topics of their choosing. Resources will include portions of textbooks, periodicals, and other publications and pieces on area studies, business, economics, ethics, finance, history, international affairs, philosophy, politics, and religion. More information may be obtained from the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER at 471-8031). Area studies students also may obtain further information from the director of their program.