Discussion (1L): Reimagining Capitalism (240W): Scholars' and policy makers' thinking about political economy evolves as one understanding of the role of government ceases to reflect people's aspirations and views of social reality and is superseded by another. The laissez faire thinking of the 19th century was replaced by Keynesian management in response to the Great Depression. After WWII, Keynesian thinking was challenged, by 'neoliberalism'---a challenge that began to achieve success in the 1970s in response to perceived failures of government, high inflation, and other economic and social woes. By the mid-1980s, neoliberalism had become the new conventional wisdom, and liberals as well as conservatives accepted its core premises: that society consists of atomized individuals competing rationally to advance their own interests; that this behavior, in aggregate, produces good social outcomes and economic growth; that free markets are therefore the best way to allocate societal resources and government should intervene only to remedy market failures. Disagreements about what constitutes such failures and about corrective interventions persisted, but the general premises were widely embraced by policymakers and politicians. Today, that consensus is breaking down. Neoliberal policies and the particular systems of capitalism that accompany them have generated profound wealth inequality and have little to offer to address the perceived threats of globalization, climate change, and emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics. The coronavirus pandemic has only served to highlight these and other problems.But what should come next? Our readings in the course will explore a variety of themes related to these issues. How did neoliberalism come to dominate political discourse? What are its core tenets? What kinds of challenges are being presented to them, and what might alternative approaches to political economy for the 21st century look like? This discussion seminar will meet four times during the Fall quarter. Meeting dates and times to be arranged by instructor. Elements used in grading: Attendance and class participation.
2020-2021 AutumnSchedule No Longer Available