T C 357 • Politics and Economics in American Thought
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
This will not be the usual political theory course, in which topics such as legitimacy, federalism, and checks and balances will comprise the subject matter. Nor will it be a class in economics, in which a theory and mathematical techniques derived from that theory are taught as though they were scientific truth. Instead, we will focus on American attitudes toward the proper relationship between government and the economy as they have evolved over more than two centuries. We will address the ways Americans have argued about such questions as the following: Does the market or the government do a better job of creating prosperity and justice? Are small or large units of production healthier for society, and what should government do to encourage units of the appropriate size? Is agriculture or industry more useful for a healthy society? Under what conditions, and to what extent, should government regulate business? Should government attempt to ensure that income is equally distributed?
About the Professor: Professor Prindle is a political scientist whose interests have varied over the years, leading him to publish work in several different areas of the discipline. He began as a specialist in voting and parties, changed to study the politics of oil in Texas, moved on to examine the Presidency in comparative perspective, and for the last several years has investigated the political relevance of the entertainment media. He is now occupied with a study of the history of American ideas about politics and economics. His last book, published in 1993, was Risky Business: The Political Economy of Hollywood. In 1994 Professor Prindle won the Harry Ransom Award for Teaching Excellence. He garnered two degrees at the University of California before earning his doctorate at M.I.T. in 1977. His hobbies are racquetball and fishing.
This is NOT a substantial writing component course. Two unannounced in-class quizzes 5% each Class participation 20% Two mid-term essays (7 pages each) 20% each Final essay (12 pages) 30%
John Locke, Second Treatise of Government Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (selected pages) George Gilder, Wealth and Poverty Kenneth Dolbeare and Janette Hubbell, 2012: After the Middle-Class Revolution Michael Levy (ed.): Political Thought in America: An Anthology,