Contemporary Theories of Political Economy
First Newspaper assignment Fall 2014 PEIS 101
You may use the bSpace drop box, or email to your GSI. Late papers will be penalized.
Behind news reports, opinion pieces, and editorials are certain assumptions, often unarticulated, about three key principles upon which theories of political economy are based. (In this course we are discussing three broad clusters of allocative institutions that distinguish themselves according to three (often conflicting) principles:
There are three steps in this assignment:
First, in your daily reading of the newspaper, (WSJ) please clip, attach, or print articles that reveal Liberal assumptions and concepts (examples include . rationality, self interest, comparative advantage, role of the state in the market, role of the individual, transaction and opportunity costs, etc. etc.) , discussed in lecture, readings, and discussion. These articles can cover a range of issues and do not have to be related. Find as many different assumptions and concepts as you can, but you do not have to grasp ALL of them in this short paper. Feel free to point out the arguments of political liberalism and how they differ from economic liberalism.
Next, clip or print articles that reveal a critique of the liberal assumptions and concepts or tensions between political and economic liberalism and articles that reveal or argue for alternative principles based on a preference for equality. Note that individual articles can contain a combination of assumptions from the two schools of thought or reveal a preference ordering, (i.e. freedom > equality).
Third, in a 3-5 page paper, discuss the assumptions that lie behind the articles you clipped and your reasons for categorizing the articles in the way that you did—the passages that demonstrate that the assumption exists and why they do so. Link those passages to specific readings and provide footnotes to relevant authors and page numbers. You can also reference specific lectures.
There is no limit to the number of articles that you gather. Note that individual articles can contain a combination of assumptions from the two schools of thought. Just discuss the passages that demonstrate the various assumptions, concepts, critiques. Remember that this is a short paper and you should not exceed the page limit.
Your grade on this assignment will become part of your "participation" grade (see the "assignments" page) and will be based on the breadth and depth of your analysis of the media: how well you can demonstrate your grasp of the assumptions and arguments made in the media and their relationship to the central concepts and criticisms presented in the readings.
Hint: many of you have started this process in your wall postings and comments in the Political Economy FB group. Those of you who have posted can use their articles if appropriate.
2. If I argue that an article has liberal assumptions and concepts, then do I also have to point out any counter-arguments to my analysis?
6. How will we be evaluated?
7. Are we required to be subscribed to the print edition of the Wall Street Journal or Financial Times, or would printing and clipping articles from the online version be sufficient?
Second Newspaper assignment Fall 2014 PEIS 101
There is much controversy in the media about the causes of economic development. Your task is to choose 3 articles that discuss or even touch on this issue (the article can be about trade, international finance, etc. in general, but with a section on the developing/underdeveloped economies) written between now and the time the assignment is due. Find arguments that disagree with each other and that implicitly or explicitly make assumptions and arguments supporting the three perspectives on development that we have discussed here: liberal, dependency, and institutional theories. See if you recognize some of the arguments that development theorists were making in our readings.... for example, "Washington Consensus," "Golden Straightjacket," "Tradition and Modernity," "Stages of Growth," "Late Development," "leapfrogging technology," "core and periphery," "comparative advantage," etc. etc. Mark the sections that you will explicate .
Example: You can either copy and paste the article in a word document as I have done, and highlight and write comments within the article, or you can print the article, highlight the parts you will discuss, and write your discussion on a separate piece of paper. Your discussion of the three articles should cover no more than 2 pages.