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Elective: Best Practice: Legislating and Regulating a Better Economy (Past, Present, and Future)

Vak
2014-2015

Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies. The number of participants is limited to 25.

Description

During the Enlightenment, increasing numbers of thinkers came to the realization that economics was something that could be abstracted, isolated, and potentially improved, through the application of inductive and deductive logic, and use of the scientific method. By the nineteenth century, certain strains of radical thought suggested that these processes could be utilized both to eliminate poverty and to create a radically egalitarian society. In the early twentieth century, certain regimes inspired by pop Darwinism attempted to apply ‘survival of the fittest’-based logic to economics at the national and/or racial level. Elements of this idea, applied at the individual level, survive today in modern Neo-Liberalism and Libertarianism, and are arguably dominant in global economic theory. But many modern democracies sell economic policy to voters under the pretense of increasing egalitarianism through capitalism; national governments daily engage in important economic policy decisions, which create, regulate, and manipulate markets as we know them. Supra-national institutions such as the WTO and the World Bank are gaining increasing traction, but seem by turns both mighty and weak.

The economic system is greatly at the mercy of political institutions: this we have learned in the past half-century. But what economic policies are best? Which have worked best in the recent past, and why? What are the main policy options available to governments today? Is supranationalism a good answer? These are some of the main questions that will be explored in this course. In addition, many economists are becoming increasingly restive about a future which promises resource depletion, environmental unpredictability, and stagnating global population figures, combined with a lack of new markets. What do the next several decades hold for the global economy, and what policy options are being advocated by the brightest and best minds?

This course will work through a number of primary and secondary sources. Additionally, the students will work through W.C. Booth, G.G. Colomb, J.W. Williams, The Craft of Research, third edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

The elective courses for International Studies are designed to teach students how to deal with state-of-the-art literature and research questions. They are chosen to enhance the students’ learning experience by building on the interdisciplinary perspectives they have developed so far, and to introduce them to the art of academic research. They are characterised by an international or comparative approach.

Academic skills that are trained include:

Oral presentation skills:
1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
a. in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;
b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
c. using up-to-date presentation techniques;
d. aimed at a specific audience;
3. to actively participate in a discussion following the presentation.

Collaboration skills:
1. to be socio-communicative in collaborative situations;
2. to provide and receive constructive criticism, and incorporate justified criticism by revising one’s own position;
3. adhere to agreed schedules and priorities.

Basic research skills, including heuristic skills:
1. to collect and select academic literature using traditional and digital methods and techniques;
2. to analyze and assess this literature with regard to quality and reliability;
3. to formulate on this basis a sound research question;
4. to design under supervision a research plan of limited scope, and implement it using the methods and techniques that are appropriate within the discipline involved;
5. to formulate a substantiated conclusion.

Written presentation skills:
1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
a. in the form of a clear and well-structured written presentation;
b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
c. using relevant illustration or multimedia techniques;
d. aimed at a specific audience.

Timetable

The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

The course moves temporally; roughly 40% is pre-present, 40% is concerned with present-day issues, and 20% is concerned with future predictions and policy options. Each week, primary sources will be given (i.e., excerpts from important thinkers/policymakers); alongside secondary sources.

Each week will involve a mixture of lecturing, presentations, and discussion of primary sources.

Attending lectures and tutorials is compulsory. If you are not able to attend a lecture or tutorial, please inform the tutor of the course. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the final exam or essay.

Course Load

Total course load for the course: 10 × 28 hours= 280 EC, broken down by:

  • Attendance: 2 hours per week x 12 weeks = 24 hours

  • Reading: 10h/week (calculated at 7 pages/hour) = 120

  • Presentation Prep: 6 hours research (72hrs) + creation/week= 76

  • Paper research/writing: 3 hours/week = 36

  • Exam: 2 hours/week = 24

Assessment method

Weekly assignments, and a final paper of approx. 5-6,000 words (excluding tables and bibliography), plus final exam if class desires.

Note: The maximum possible grade to be obtained for re-submission of the final essay is a 6.0

Blackboard

Blackboard will be used. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrollment in uSis
Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

W.C. Booth, G.G. Colomb, J.W. Williams, The Craft of Research, third edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

To be announced.

Registration

Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Remarks

Attending lectures and tutorials is compulsory. If you are not able to attend a lecture or tutorial, please inform the tutor of the course. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the final exam or essay.

Contact

Dr. J. Fynn-Paul, email j.fynn-paul@hum.leidenuniv.nl