Pluralist Economic Analysis

Sophia Kuehnlenz
Manchester Metropolitan University, 2020
Level: beginner
Perspectives: Neoclassical Economics, Post-Keynesian Economics
Topic: Capitalism, consumption, Crisis, Development, financialization, globalization, history of economic thought, inequality, mainstream critique, Neoliberalism, teaching material
Format: Course description/syllabus

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Pluralist Economic Analysis

This syllabus was originally taught at Manchester Metropolitan University Winter Semester 2020/2021.
Instructor: Sophia Kuehnlenz 


Course Summary

 This course encourages a critical analysis of mainstream economic thought whilst introducing a variety of alternative approaches. These alternative approaches to the socio-political, economic system will be in the form of heterodox economic theory, historical evaluations and historical placement of current issues as well as interdisciplinary research approaches. The discussed theories, methods and analyses will not only be appraised for their potency but they will also be contrasted with prominent mainstream theories regarding the current state of capitalism. Based on this, you will be able to critically assess and evaluate prevailing socio-economic problems by employing more than just one point of view. This module aims to provide students with the theoretical knowledge and academic skills to evaluate and reflect on economic and socio-political challenges of our time. The analysis will always be in the form of a critical Pluralist perspective to enable students to develop and refine critical thinking that is couched within multiple approaches.

Learning outcomes 

Upon completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Apply a variety of theoretical and empirical approaches to pressing global challenges
  • Critically asses mainstream thought and contrast mainstream assumptions with alternative theories
  • Debate the current economic and socio-political concepts by contrasting and reflecting on a multitude of theories and empirical studies
  • Develop own ideas about socio-political and economic challenges of the 21st century and how to tackle them

Course Overview

Schedule of topics covered and mandatory readings

Week 1 Pluralism, Keynes and the classical school of economic thought Required

  • Arnsperger, C. & Varoufakis, Y., (2006). What is Neoclassical Economics? The three axioms responsible for its theoretical oeuvre, practical irrelevance and thus, discursive power. Panoeconomicus. 53(1), p.pp. 5-18.
  • Colander, D. (2000). The Death of Neoclassical Economics. Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 22(2), 127-143.
  • Dow, S. (2008). Plurality in Orthodox and Heterodox Economics. The Journal of Philosophical Economics. 1 (2). p.pp. 73-96.
  • King, J. E. (2005). Three Arguments for Pluralism in Economics. Post-autistic economics review. 30. article 2.

Week 2 Mainstream schools of thought and Post-Keynesians as an alternative Required

  • King, J.E. (2013). A Brief Introduction to Post Keynesian Macroeconomics. Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft - WuG. [Online]. 39 (4).
  • Lavoie, M. (2014). Post-Keynesian Economics: New Foundations. Glos: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited. Chapter 1.
  • Minsky, H.P. (1992). The Financial Instability Hypothesis. [Online]. Available from: http://www.ssrn.com/abstract=161024
  • Stockhammer, E. (2018). Post-Keynesian economics in Rethinking Economics. Routledge.
  • Fontana, G. (2009). Money, uncertainty and time. London: Routledge. Chapter 7.

Optional

  • Alves, C. & Kvangraven, I. H. (2020). Changing the Narrative:Economics After Covid-19. Foundation for Agrarian Studies.10 (1).
  • Cassidy, J. (2010). Interview with Eugene Fama. The New Yorker. [Online]. Available from: https://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/interview-with-eugene-fama.
  • Dymski, G.A. (2014). The neoclassical sink and the heterodox spiral: political divides and lines of communication in economics. Review of Keynesian Economics. 2 (1). p.pp. 1–19.
  • Muth, J.F. (1961). Rational Expectations and the Theory of Price Movements. Econometrica. [Online]. 29 (3). p.p. 315.
  • Snowdon, B. & Vane, H. (2005). A Modern Guide to Macroeconomics: Its Origins, Development and Current State. Edward Elgar Publishing Limited.

Week 3 Bretton Woods, the Golden Age of Capitalism, and the neoliberal turn

  • Streeck, W. (2014). Buying time: the delayed crisis of democratic capitalism. Verso. Chapter 1.
  • Varoufakis, Y. (2013). The Global Minotaur: America, Europe and the Future of the Global Economy. 2nd Ed. London: Zed Books. Chapter 3 &4.
  • Wolfson, M. H. & Epstein G.A. (2013). The handbook of the political economy of financial crises. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chapter 19 & 21.

Optional

  • Bellofiore, R. (2013). ‘Two or three things I know about her’: Europe in the global crisis and heterodox economics. Cambridge Journal of Economics. 37 (3). p.pp. 497–512.
  • Crouch, C. (2009). Privatised Keynesianism: An unacknowledged policy regime. British Journal of Politics and International Relations. 11 (3). p.pp. 382–399.
  • Fine, B. & Saad-Filho, A. (2017). Thirteen Things You Need to Know About Neoliberalism. Critical Sociology. 43(4-5). p.pp. 685–706.
  •  Glyn, A. (2006). Capitalism Unleashed: Finance, Globalization and Welfare. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Steil, B. (2013). The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order. Princeton University Press. Chapters 5-10.

Week 4 Globalization, Financialization and Inequality

  • Palley, T. I. (2007). Financialization: What it is and Why it Matters? Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), Working Paper, 153.
  • Shaikh, A. (2003). Globalization and the Myth of Free Trade. Paper for the Conference on Globalization and the Myths of Free Trade. New School University, New York.
  • Tooze, A. (2018). Crashed: How a decade of financial crises changed the world. Penguin Random House. Introduction & chapter 1. p.pp. 1 – 41.
  •  Wolfson, M. H. & Epstein G.A. (2013). The handbook of the political economy of financial crises. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chapter 24 & 25.

Optional

  • Chang, Ha-Joon (2003). Kicking Away the Ladder: The “Real” History of Free Trade. Foreign Policy In Focus (FPIF). FPIF Special Report.
  • Krippner, G.R. (2005). The financialization of the American economy. Socio-Economic Review. [Online]. 3 (2). p.pp. 173–208.
  • Serieux, J. (2008): Financial Liberalization and Domestic Resource Mobilisation in Africa: An Assessment. International Poverty Centre Working Paper, 45.
  • Stockhammer, E. (2010). Financialization and the Global Economy. Workingpaper Series. [Online]. Amherst.

Week 5 Financial instabilities and economic bubbles

  • Dymski, G.A. (2010). Why the subprime crisis is different : a Minskyian approach. Cambridge Journal of Economics. 34 (December 2009). p.pp. 239– 255.
  • Kindleberger, C.P. & Aliber, R. (2005). Manias, Panics and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises. 5th Ed. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. , Chapter 1 & 2.
  • Minsky, H.P. (1982). Can “It” Happen Again? A Reprise. Challenge. 25 (3). p.pp. 5–13.
  • Rickles, D. (2011). Econophysics and the Complexity of Financial Markets. Philosophy of Complex Systems. p.pp. 531–565.
  • Wolfson, M. H. & Epstein G.A. (2013). The handbook of the political economy of financial crises. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chapter 35.

Optional

  • Bellofiore, R. (2013). ‘Two or three things I know about her’: Europe in the global crisis and heterodox economics. Cambridge Journal of Economics. 37 (3). p.pp. 497–512.
  • Dymski, G.A. (1999). Asset bubbles and Minsky crises in East Asia: A spatialized Minsky approach. [Online].
  • Fontana, G. (2009). Money, uncertainty and time. London: Routledge. Chapter 7
  • Minsky, H.P. (2008b). Stabilizing an Unstable Economy. London: McGraw-Hill.
  •  Schumpeter, J. (1928). The Instability of Capitalism. The Economic Journal. 38 (151). p.p. 361.
  • Stockhammer, E. (2010). Financialization and the Global Economy. Workingpaper Series. Amherst.

Core readings

  • Streeck, W. (2014). Buying time: the delayed crisis of democratic capitalism. Verso.
  • Tooze, A. (2018). Crashed: How a decade of financial crises changed the world. Penguin Random House.
  • Varoufakis, Y. (2013). The Global Minotaur: America, Europe and the Future of the Global Economy. 2nd Ed. London: Zed Books.
  • Wolfson, M. H. & Epstein G.A. (2013). The handbook of the political economy of financial crises. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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