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Governing Society: Politics, Economics, and Public Policy

John Schwarz's picture

The basic foundation of “society” (a formally-organized community) is governance. This course in political economy looks at governance from a theoretic perspective, focusing on the material aspects of social existence: How and why societies arise to address material conditions by adopting political and economic governance mechanisms, how politics and economics are intertwined, and how they define the terrain for forming public policy.

Lecture and discussion. Suggested readings, none required. No assignments, but instructor will evaluate relevant written work by students.

This course will benefit those seeking to better understand government/political science, economics, and public policy, including those interested in reforming the current 99% vs. 1% US political economy.

Week 1. Basic political economy.

General theory and interplay of governance by government and economic structures. Tragedy of the Commons as introduction. Humanist model, social contract, and collective action. Intro to political meta-narratives/ideology.

Week 2. Economic theory overview.

Theories of value. Macro vs. Micro, part 1. The Standard Model. Adam Smith vs. Karl Marx. Market failures: No market is truly “free.” Economic and finance inertia.

Week 3. Political theory overview.

Expanded look at ideologies. Popular vs. Elite rule. “Universalism" and “normal” as oppressive notions. Political philosophy principles. Macro vs. Micro part 2.

Week 4. A. Political governance systems and B. Finance.

Western governance and election systems. Finance and financial markets, rights vs. privileges, advantages for some, and derivatives.

Week 5. Public Policy, Reform Challenges, and Course Review.

US policy debates in 5 axes. Challenges for the American Left in public policy debate and reform. 99% vs. 1%. Course review.

Facilitator email(s): 
[email protected]


Ford Hall, Room 110 U of MN East Bank/Washington and Church St.
224 Church Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States
Phone: n/a
Facilitator's experience: 
MA, Political Science, Cornell Univ. Specialty: political economy. Sr. Field Researcher, Service Employees International Union/Minnesotans for a Fair Economy ('11-'12); Director, United Health System-Progressive, non-profit health policy think-tank ('05-'10). Wells Fargo ('85-'96). EXCO: I taught this course in 2009 and have taught three other EXCO courses. Teaching Assistant/Cornell U., Teacher/MN Literacy Council. Member: American Political Science Assoc. and MN Political Science Assoc.
Facilitator phone number(s): 
Class minimum size: 
Class maximum size: 
Class times: 
Tue, 07/10/2012 - 18:30 - 20:30
Tue, 07/17/2012 - 18:30 - 20:30
Tue, 07/24/2012 - 18:30 - 20:30
Tue, 07/31/2012 - 18:30 - 20:30
Tue, 08/07/2012 - 18:30 - 20:30
Location Accessibility: 
Location not set.
Ford Hall, Room 110 U of MN East Bank/Washington and Church St.
224 Church Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States
Phone: n/a
44° 58' 31.6992" N, 93° 14' 1.8888" W
Additional class location information:
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