ASTK15612U  SUMMER15: Economic crises: A brief history of time

Volume 2015/2016
Education

Master level: 7.5 ECTS 
Bachelor level: 10 ECTS 

Content

As the aftermath of the global financial crisis rumbles on, the attention of politicians has been focussed squarely on narrow issues of economic policy, and on trying to reconstruct routes to economic growth in the wake of the worst recession since the Great Depression. Whilst this latter crisis is often invoked as a direct comparator, few commentators connect the dots in more meaningful ways between the current crisis and its historical and societal precursors. This summer school will therefore encourage students to reflect more deeply on the different dimensions of the current crisis, first providing rigorous introductory teaching to the overlapping issues encapsulated in the current crisis (within the economy, governance and society) before broadening this temporally and theoretically to invite students to think critically about what crisis means.

The course will take place over a period of two weeks, from 09.30 to 16.00 each day. Of this time, formal classes will take place between 09.30-14.30, with the remaining session allocated for group work, homework preparation, and individual support with the assignments. Week 1 introduces an historical overview of past crises, together with some of the key theoreticians who have analysed and defined those crises. The second week uses a series of themes to encourage students question what we mean by crisis in the global economy, and provoke deeper analysis of the ‘work’ done by the term.

A key driving force behind the programme is the desire to build a curriculum around active learning techniques that require students to participate just as actively as the lecturer. Therefore, the structure of the programme is designed to be fluid and to build in space for students to direct their own learning and draw out themes and topics that they find particularly interesting. Each day will have some kind of applied case study or task that requires students to think on their feet about the subject.

 

 

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

 

Introduction: a brief history of economic crises

The Great Depression

The crisis of the 1970s

The global financial crisis

The Eurozone crisis

09.30-10.45

Crash or crisis? The role of economic crises

Antecedents to the Great Depression

The Bretton Woods system

Globalization and interdependence

The creation of EMU

11.00-12.15

Governing the economy

The impact of the Great Depression

The collapse of Bretton Woods

The financial collapse

Debt and fiscal policy

Lunch

 

 

 

 

 

13.00-14.15

Money and monetary systems

Theoretical perspectives: Keynes, the General Theory / Galbraith, the Great Crash 1929

Theoretical perspectives: Polanyi, the Great Transformation / Friedman, Free to Choose

Theoretical perspectives: Stiglitz, Freefall / Gamble, the Spectre at the Feast

Theoretical perspectives: Blyth, Austerity / Sinn, the Euro Trap

14.30-16.00

Homework session

Homework session

Homework session

Homework session

Homework session

Expected teacher

HGS

HGS

HGS

HGS

HGS

 

Week 2

 

 

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

 

Finance

Governance and Democracy

Global competiveness and decline

Production and Consumption

Sustainability and the future

09.30-10.45

Global finance in the dock

States versus markets and public legitimacy

A hidden crisis in trade? Global rebalancing

The rise (and fall?) of global value chains

Study visit

11.00-12.15

Lehmann brothers’ collapse

The welfare state

The rise of China

The fashion industry

Study visit

Lunch

 

 

 

 

 

13.00-14.15

Active learning exercise

Active learning exercise

Active learning exercise

Active learning exercise

Class wrap up

14.30-16.00

Homework session

Homework session

Homework session

Homework session

Homework session

Expected teacher

BR

IM

JLM

CS

CS

 

Competency description

This course will give students a firm grasp of the dynamics underpinning contemporary crises across different sectors of political economy. As such, they will be well equipped to critically evaluate claims made about the nature of the contemporary economy, and this knowledge and scepticism will serve students well in a range of endeavours. Within political science, it would serve as an excellent foundation for further study in international political economy (IPE), but also more broadly to engage with many contemporary political issues that are expressed in terms of crisis, such as migration, welfare state policy, or education. As such, this course will also provide a strong introduction for students looking to build careers in international organisations, government, the media, or politics.

Learning Outcome

The seminar’s objective is to enable the students to:

  • Describe the key attributes of an economic crisis and explain how the phrase has been used in different contexts
  • Compare different periods of crisis over time and identify the features that make them similar or different
  • Critically analyse the theoretical and practical contribution of the key texts discussed during the first week
  • Relate the concept of crisis to different facets of political and social life beyond periods of immediate economic disruption

An extensive list of primary and secondary texts will be available at the start of the course. Two books will be particularly useful to acquire as basic textbooks:

Davies, Howard: ‘The Financial Crisis: Who is to Blame?’ (Polity Press, Cambridge, 2010)

Broome, André: ‘Issues and Actors in the Global Political Economy’ (Palgrave Macmillan, Hampshire, 2014)

 

In addition, the first week will comprise reading several ‘classic’ books in advance. Students would be well advised to obtain library copies of these books and familiarise themselves with them before the start of the course. These are:

 

Keynes, the General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (various editions)

Galbraith, the Great Crash 1929 (Penguin, London, 2009) 

Polanyi, the Great Transformation (Beacon Press, Boston 2001, also available online)

Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom (Chicago Press, Chicago, 2002)

Stiglitz, Joseph: ‘Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy’ (Penguin, London, 2010)

Gamble, Andrew: ‘the Spectre at the Feast’ (Palgrave MacMillan, Hampshire, 2009)

Blyth, Mark: ‘Austerity: History of a Dangerous Idea’ (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2013)

Sinn, Hans-Werner: ‘The Euro Trap’ (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2014)

This course will be taught by staff from the political science department, but is open to students from a wide range of subdisciplines. A background in economics, sociology, history, geography or anthropology would all provide valuable insights, and as such a background in political science is not expected. Students should be interested in the current global financial crisis, and have some familiarity with the key events and actors, although a familiarity gained through news broadcasts and secondary reading is more than sufficient.
Sessions will be mixed to maintain engagement, comprising mini-lectures, group work, informal presentations, visits to other institutions, simulations, take home exercises and case studies. Assessment is via five daily group exercises in the first week (which count for 10% each of the final mark), followed by a final individual assignment to be submitted after the end of the second week, allowing students to work with a case study of their choice.
Credit
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
This is assessed via five short daily assignments in the first week (group work, which each counts for 10% of the final mark) and an individual assignment to be handed in after the second week (50%, graded on the Danish seven point scale).
Exam registration requirements

75% parcipitation

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assesment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Total
  • 28