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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

David Prindle

Professor Ph.D., MIT

David Prindle

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Biography

Professor Prindle has published research in the areas of voting and parties, energy policy, the presidency, and the politics of the entertainment media. His first book, Petroleum Politics and the Texas Railroad Commission (1981) won the V.O. Key, Jr. Award, given by the Southern Political Science Association to the best book on Southern politics. He has also written The Politics of Glamour: Ideology and Democracy in the Screen Actors Guild (1988), and Risky Business: The Political Economy of Hollywood (1993).

In 1982 he received the Allen Shivers Award as the best teacher in the Department of Government, and in 1994 the Harry Ransom Award for Teaching Excellence as the best teacher in the College of Liberal Arts. Prof. Prindle won the the Eyes of Texas Teaching Award in 1998.

In 2009 Prometheus Books published his latest book, Stephen Jay Gould and the Politics of Evolution. In 2006 Johns Hopkins published his book, The Paradox of Democratic Capitalism.

T C 357 • Polit And Eco In Amer Thought

43440 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm CRD 007B
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Description:

This will not be the usual political theory course, in which topics such as legitimacy, federalism, and checks and balances comprise the subject matter. Nor will it be a class in economics, in which a theory and mathematical techniques derived from it are taught as 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 way Americans have argued about such questions as the following: does the market or the government do a better job 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?  Was there any justification for the $700 billion bank bailout of 2008?

Although much of our reading and discussion will deal with historical subjects, the final two weeks of the course and the final reading assignments will deal primarily with contemporary policy controversies.

 

Texts/Readings:

John Locke, Second Treatise on GovernmentAdam Smith, selections from The Wealth of NationsGeorge Gilder, Wealth and Poverty

Paul Krugman The Consience of a LiberalThe following sections of Michael Levy (ed.), Political Thought in America: An Anthology: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Daniel Webster, Andrew Jackson, John Calhoun, Woodrow Wilson, The Populist Party Platform, Franklin Roosevelt, Orestes Brownson, Walt Whitman, William Graham Sumner, John Dewey, Milton Friedman, Eugene Debs, Norman Thomas, Irving Kristol, Richard Ely

 

Assignments:

Two in-class quizzes: 5% each

Class participation: 20%

Two mid-term essays (7 pages each): 20% each

Final essay (12 pages): 30%

  

About the Professor:

Professor David 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, spent a decade investigating the political relevance of the entertainment media, and is now writing his second book on the politics of evolution. His book that is most relevant to this course, The Paradox of Democratic Capitalism, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2006.     Professor Prindle garnered two degrees at the University of California before earning his Ph.D. from M.I.T. in 1977. He won the Jean Holloway Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2012. His hobbies are racquetball and fishing.

T C 357 • Polit And Eco In Amer Thought

42905 • Fall 2011
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am CRD 007A
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Description:This will not be the usual political theory course, in which topics such as legitimacy, federalism, and checks and balances comprise the subject matter. Nor will it be a class in economics, in which a theory and mathematical techniques derived from it are taught as 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 way Americans have argued about such questions as the following: does the market or the government do a better job 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?  Was there any justification for the $700 billion bank bailout of 2008?Although much of our reading and discussion will deal with historical subjects, the final two weeks of the course and the final reading assignments will deal primarily with contemporary policy controversies.

Texts/Readings:John Locke, Second Treatise on GovernmentAdam Smith, selections from The Wealth of NationsGeorge Gilder, Wealth and PovertyGar Alperovitz  American Beyond CapitalismThe following sections of Michael Levy (ed.), Political Thought in America: An Anthology: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Daniel Webster, Andrew Jackson, John Calhoun, Woodrow Wilson, The Populist Party Platform, Franklin Roosevelt, Orestes Brownson, Walt Whitman, William Graham Sumner, John Dewey, Milton Friedman, Eugene Debs, Norman Thomas, Irving Kristol, Richard Ely

Assignments:Two unannounced in-class quizzes: 5% eachClass participation: 20%Two mid-term essays (7 pages each): 20% eachFinal essay (12 pages): 30%

About the Professor: Professor David 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. His book that is most relevant to this course, The Paradox of Democratic Capitalism, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2006.     Professor Prindle garnered two degrees at the University of California before earning his Ph.D. from M.I.T. in 1977. He won the Harry Ransom Award for Teaching Excellence in 1994. His hobbies are racquetball and fishing.

T C 357 • Polit And Eco In Amer Thought

43815 • Fall 2009
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm MEZ 1.104
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Fall 2009: T. C. 357a,  Politics and
Economics in American Thought

David Prindle                    Office hours: Tuesdays,  1:50 to 3:20, and
Office:  4.104 Batts Hall                               by appointment
Unique # 43815                                        Phone:  232-7214
Classes Tuesday and Thursday,              email: dprindle@austin.utexas.edu 
     12: 30 to 1:45 p. m.         
Classroom: MEZ 1.104

Prerequisite for this course:  upper-division standing in Plan II

READING
Everyone must read:

John Locke  Second Treatise Of Government
Adam Smith  The Wealth of Nations
Michael B. Levy (ed.)  Political Thought In America:  An Anthology, selected readings
George Gilder    Wealth and Poverty   (this book is out of print; see me)
Paul Krugman     The Conscience of a Liberal
Selected articles and documents from a reading packet, available at the House of
     Tutors on the corner of 24th and Pearl Streets

CLASS SESSIONS

    Date       Reading Assignment                 Topic

Aug.  27                                          Reasoning, argument, fallacies
Sept.   1                                                                   Argument, continued
           3                                                                   Argument, continued
           8                                                                   Argument, continued
         10                            Historical context of Liberalism
         15      Locke, entire, and "Declaration        John Locke
        of Independence"  p. 81 in           
              Levy reader
         17                                  John Locke, continued
         22                                continued
         24     Smith, omitting the following                Adam Smith
                   pages:  from p. 141, third
                   paragraph to end of chapter;
                   pp. 282 350 and 359 367; pp.
                   394 429; pp. 484 520
         29                                                                  Smith, continued

 Oct    1                                Origins of American political thought                                                
           6     Docs by Hamilton; Hamilton                 Hamilton and Jefferson
                     in Levy, p. 131; docs by                    (FIRST ESSAY DUE)
                      Jefferson; Jefferson in Levy,
                    pp. 81, 97, 99, 101, 156
  Oct.  8     “Invisible Hand of James                      James Madison
                Madison;” Federalist #10 and
          #51 in reading packet
         13     Jackson in Levy; p. 199; also               Jacksonians and Whigs
                   Buel, p. 183, Whitman, pp. 200,
                   201, Brownson, p. 238,  Kent,
                   p. 174, Webster, p. 179
         15     Calhoun in Levy, p. 311                       The Problem of Slavery
         20                           Onset of industrialism
         22     In reading package: United States       Constitutional Law
        v. E. C. Knight (1895);              
        Lochner v. New York (1905);
         27     Levy: Populist Platform, p. 356; Ely,    Populism and  Progressivism
                      p. 346, Wilson, p. 350       
         29     Levy:  Debs, p. 387; Thomas,              Marxism and democratic
                      p. 445                                                      socialism
Nov.   3      Levy:  Sumner, p. 323; Carnegie,        Defense of capitalism ("Social
                      p. 331                                                      Darwinism")
           5     Levy:  Dewey, p. 411, Roosevelt,        The new liberalism; Keynes and
                       p. 419                                                     the New Deal
         10     Levy: Friedman, p. 436           [SECOND ESSAY DUE];  Milton
                                                                                     Friedman
         12                                                                 John K. Galbraith and Institutional
                                                                                     Economics
         17     Reading packet:  "The Idea of             "Marketplace of Ideas"
                      a Marketplace of Ideas"       
         19     Gilder, omitting chapters 14,               Supply-side economics
                      17, 18, 20, 21           
         24                                                                 Current events
         26                                                                 THANKSGIVING BREAK—NO
                                                                                     CLASS
Dec.    1      Krugmanm chapters 4-13                  The post-Reagan left
           3                                                                 Modern economic theory
          10  (Thursday)                                             FINAL PAPERS DUE


                    GRADING POLICY

    Two unannounced in-class quizzes       5% each
     Class participation                               20%
     Each short paper                                 20% each
     Final paper                                             30%

ESSAYS

     Three essays are required in this class.  The first and second must be from five to seven typed, double spaced pages.  The third must be from ten to twelve typed, double spaced pages.  No legal size paper.  Each must have a cover page with your
student class identification number (NOT your name), the date, the course, and the topic covered.  The first is due Tuesday, Oct. 6, the second is due Tuesday, November 10, and the third is due Thursday, Dec. 10. You have only one possible topic for each of the first two essays.  Those topics are given below.  You may choose from two possible topics for the third paper, also given below.

Topic, first essay:  Taking Locke and Smith as the archetypal Liberal theorists, assess and evaluate the extent to which Liberalism successfully accomplishes the following 
 a.  Derives individual and social behavioral rules from natural law.  By “behavioral rules,” I mean both prescriptive rules (how humans should behave in a moral  sense) and prudential rules (useful or workable versus useless or unworkable).
 b.  Justifies minimal governmental interference with private property.
 c.  Justifies political democracy.
    Having done this, evaluate classical Liberal theory according to your own values.  Is it emotionally and intellectually satisfying?  Why or why not?

Topic, second essay:  Pick three "conservatives" from this list:
Hamilton, Kent, Webster, Calhoun, Sumner, Carnegie, the Supreme Court in 1895 and 1905 (counts as one). Pick three "progressives" from this list: Jefferson, Madison, Buel, Jackson, Whitman, Brownson, Debs, Thomas, Populists, Ely, Wilson. Compare and contrast the way the conservatives as a group and the progressives as a group deal with question “a,” and any two of the remaining three questions:
 a.  What activities are proper for government in the economic sphere, and what explicit
         limits should be placed on its activities?
 b.  Are people basically equal or unequal?  Is it to the advantage of society to consider them equal or unequal?
c.  Are there natural laws?  If so, what are they, how do we discover them, and what do they tell us about the relationship of politics and economics?
d.  How should wealth and power be distributed in society, and how should that
        distribution be determined?
    Try to account for (explain the source of) their similarities and differences.  Are the conservatives and progressives, as a group, consistent in their arguments across time, or do they change on one or more fundamental questions?  If you decide that they change, explain  when and why.  Finally, explain why you find the conservatives or progressives more persuasive.
HINT: You will find it easier to write this paper if you are first able to explain what all conservatives have in common, and what all progressives have in common.
HINT:  You will find it easier to write this paper if you choose at least one progressive and at least one conservative from the years prior to the Civil War, and at least one progressive and at least one conservative from the years following the Civil War.

Topic A, third paper:  First, pick a disputed question about politics and economics in current American society.  Such a question might be, but is not limited to, the following:
  a.  Should we have national health insurance?
  b.  Has our attempt to "end welfare as we know it" been a success?
  c.  Should we attempt to redistribute wealth?
  d.  Should we more vigorously regulate business in order to protect our environment?
  e.  Should we allow completely free trade, or should we place limitations on imports?
  f.   Should government do anything about the supply and price of oil, and if so, what?
  g.  Should the stock market be more closely regulated?
  h.  Should the government regulate hate speech?
  i.   Should private campaign contributions be outlawed, and candidates and/or parties
       be publicly financed?
  j.   How should we raise government revenue, and how should the tax burden be
       distributed?
    Spend a page or so summarizing the problem as it has been depicted in the media.
    Second, compare and contrast what Krugman, on the one hand, and Gilder on the other, DO or WOULD argue on the subject of the question you have chosen.  As part of this exercise, you will be expected to do the following for each theorist:
  a.  Analyze the premises underlying their argument.
  b.  Evaluate the logical structure of their argument.
  c.  Evaluate their use of evidence.
  d.  Explain how their arguments apply to the social problem in question.
    Third, evaluate the approach of the two theorists you have chosen to the problem you have chosen.  Who is more persuasive, and why?

Topic B, third paper: Critique Gilder from the standpoint of Krugman.  Critique Krugman from the standpoint of Gilder.  That is, analyze and criticize each using the ideology and method of the other.  You will want to begin by summarizing the argument of each, which will include elucidating the underlying premises, explaining the logical reasoning, and giving examples of the use of evidence.
    How would Gilder criticize Krugman's premises, and vice-versa?
    What important points would Krugman claim that Gilder leaves out, and vice-versa? 
    What important mistakes in the marshaling of evidence would Gilder claim that Krugman make, and vice versa? 
    Finally, giving due allowance for the fact that Gilder's book appeared in 1981, and Krugman's in 2007, explain whether you find Gilder or Krugman more persuasive, and why.

Students with Disabilities

    As per University policy, any disabled student may request appropriate academic accommodations from the office of Services for Students with Disabilities, 471-6259.

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