Poli 489 The political economy of inequality Course outline (under construction)
Professor Harold Chorney
Thursday 6-8:15 H 523
The real estate bubble and the crash of 2007 -09 uncovered serious strains in the economic and social fabric of global capitalism. The recovery from what turned out to be the most serious recession since the great depression of the 1930s has been slower than hoped for and very uneven. In North America largely because the Fed reinforced the Keynesian fiscal stimulus with significant quantitative easing thereby ensuring appropriately low interest rates, the performance of the recovery has been more solid than in Europe where the European central bank and the European Union have both retarded the recovery by refusing until quite recently to use quantitative easing and stressing fiscal austerity rather than Keynesian policies. As a consequence European unemployment is still very high in a number of countries and Europe appears to be teetering on the edge of deflation and stagnation. But in addition to these negative features of the recovery, the crash and slow recovery laid bare the terrible and widening gap in socio-economic inequality as well as growing poverty in many countries. This course will focus on the issue of inequality and equity in a number of leading global economies in an effort to document the problem, analyse emerging trends and evaluate policy proposals and programs designed to counter it.
Texts: Thomas Piketty, Capital in the 21st century , 2014 The Belknap press of Harvard University, 2014 also available in the original French edition Le capital au XXIe siècle editions du Seuil.
Joseph Stiglitz, The Price of inequality, Norton, 2013.Robert Reich, Saving Capitalism For the Many, Not the Few, 2015:Alfred Knopf.
Paul Krugman, End This Depression Now
Peter Clarke, Keynes:the rise, Fall and Return of the 20th Century’s Most Influential Economist
Joeseph Stiglitz interview with Lynn Parramore in Salon magazine.
Anthony Atkinson, Inequality:What can be done?
Meghnad Desai, Marx’s Revenge:The Resurgence of Capitalism and the Death of Statist Socialism, Verso. 2004.
Amartya Sen, Development as Freedom, anchor books, NYC, 1999.,
Ethan Kapstein, Sharing the Wealth,W.W. Norton, 1999.
Frank Stilwell, Political Economy:the Contest of Economic ideas, Oxford University Press, 2012.
John Kenneth Galbraith, The Economics of Innocent Fraud,Houghton Miflin,Boston&NYC, 2004
Helen Sasson, Between Friends, Perspectives on John Kenneth Galbraith Essays by Derek Bok, Carlos Fuentes, Peter Galbraith et al, Houghton Miflin , 1999.
James Galbraith, Created Unequal:The Crisis in American Pay,Twentieth Century fund, The Free Press,Simon&Schuster, 1999.
Samuel Hollander,Classical Economics,University of Toronto Press, 1992.
Alvin Finkel, Our Lives:Canada after 1945, James Lorimer&Company, 1997.
Robert Heilbroner, The Worldly Philosophers,Simon%Schuster, NYC, revised edition 1965.
Between Capitalism and Socialism:Essays in Political economics, Vintage,Random House, 1970
Robert Lekachman, Greed is Not Enough, Pantheon, NYC, 1982.
John Porter, The Vertical Mosaic, University of Toronto Press
Wallace Clement The Canadian Corporate Elite
A.A. Hunter, Class Tells:On Social Inequality in Canada, 1986
David Harvey, Limits to Capital,Verso, 2006.
Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class,Macmillan, 1912,Mentor edition 1953.
C.W. Mills, Power,politics and People
Steve Keen, Debunking Economics, Zed books, U.K.2001,London&NYC.
H.Bougrine & Mario Seccareccia eds. Introducing Macroeconomic analysis,Edmund Montgomery, Toronto, 2010.
Adam Harmes, The Return of the State, Protestors, Power Brokers and the New Global Compromise, Douglas and McIntyre, Vancouver&Toronto, 2004.
Tony Cutler, Karel Williams&John Williams, Keynes, Beveridge and beyond, Routledge&Kegan Paul,London&NYC, 1986.
Students will be asked to consult the quality and financial press including The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, the Guardianthe New York Times and the Globe and Mail , Le Monde ,Le figaro, Liberation various issues and weekly during the course for relevant articles to the discussion. Also see the New York Times on line archive on inequality https://www.nytimes.com/topic/subject/income-inequality.
Each student will required to present a topic in class in combination with one other student 25 % and make available a short 2-3 page synopsis of the presentation to all students and to me. Complete a term essay 40 % and write a final test 40 %.The course is a seminar and hence requires students to come to class prepared to discuss t0pics and react to presentations and display their knowledge of the texts and additional readings.
Course weekly topics:
1.Introduction and overview:
2.The ethical basis of Democracy and markets :Flaws at inception.R.H.Tawney and the Acquisitive society.C.B. Macpherson, Hobbes, Locke, Bentham and Mill, Arrow, Debreau and Sraffa, Marx’s critique.
3. Keynes, full employment and the Beveridge Welfare state.the neo-conservative epoch and the return of inequality.
4.The crash and the sudden growth of inequality as an issue.
5. From Veblen to Keynes to C.W.Mills to J.K.Galbraith; James Galbraith.
6. Thomas Piketty and Joseph Stiglitz
7. Piketty and Stiglitz continued Robert Reich
8 .Reich, Piketty and Stiglitz continued
9. The Canadian case an exception? Innis, Porter, Clement, Hunter,John Macionis global inequality; The American case :Michael Hout, Inequality by Design.
10. Marx, Ricardo,Malthus Keynes and the distribution question in age of globalization
11. Distribution and development :Amartya Sen
12. Distribution and the environment, carbon taxes, stable states, guaranteed annual incomes, GDP and trade issues.
13. Review and conclusion.