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Course Syllabus

ECON 120/Section 1                                              Gene Dallaire, (517) 487-1275
POWER, AUTHORITY & EXCHANGE              Time: Tues., Thurs: 10:10 - noon
Social Science Department                                    Place: Arts & Sciences, Rm 401
Lansing Community College                                 Office hrs: Tu, Th, noon - 1: 00 pm
Spring 2002 Semester                                            -- and by appointment.

Section 2                                                                    Time: Tues., Thurs: 2:10 - 4:00 pm
                                                                                     Place: Arts & Sciences, Rm 167
                                                                                    Office hrs: Tu, Th, 4 - 5 pm
Spring 2002 Semester                                           -- and by appointment.
 
 
 

COURSE OBJECTIVES

      The major aims of this course are:

      þ (1) To study the main highlights of the economic history of the
western world, from ancient times (10,000 B.C.) down to the present (i.e.
exchange in action);

      þ (2) To study the central ideas of some major economic thinkers and
practitioners from the 17th century down to the present (i.e. exchange in
theory);

      þ (3) To study the main ideas of some of the most important political
thinkers and practitioners, from Plato (350 B.C.) down to the present (i.e.
theory of power and authority).
 
 

COURSE DESCRIPTION

      þ CONCERNING OBJECTIVE # 1, TO STUDY THE MAIN HIGHLIGHTS OF ECONOMIC
HISTORY --

      We will study carefully and expand upon Rondo Cameron's highly regarded
book, A Concise Economic History of the World, From Paleolithic Times to the
Present and also the briefer yet very insightful The Making of Economic
Society by Heilbroner and Milberg.

      Among the main themes explored in these books that we will pay close
attention to:  economic development in the Mediterranean world in ancient
times (10,000 B.C. to 400 AD); economic development in medieval Europe; non-
Western economies on the eve  of European expansion; European exploration,
discovery, and overseas expansion; advances in agricultural and industrial
technology; trade and commercial organization; economic imperialism of Spain,
Portugal, Netherlands, and Britain; the dawn of modern industry and the
crucial role of industrial technology and innovation; social aspects of early
industrialization; economic development in the 19th century; the early
industrializers -- Great Britain, U.S., Belgium, France, Germany; the later
comers, including southern and eastern Europe, Imperial Russia, and Japan; the
strategic sectors of an economy -- agriculture, finance and banking, and the
state; growth of the world economy in the 19th and 20th centuries;

ECON 120 SYLLABUS, PAGE TWO OF FIVE

international economic disintegration -- WWI, Russian Revolution, Great
Depression, WWII; rebuilding the world economy after WWII; and the world
economy at the end of the 20th century.
 
 

      þ CONCERNING OBJECTIVE # 2, TO STUDY SOME IMPORTANT ECONOMIC THINKERS
AND PRACTITIONERS --

       Daniel R. Fusfeld's The Age of the Economist will give us a good start.
The lectures will expand greatly on that book, discussing the key ideas of a
wide range of economic thinkers and practitioners from the 17th century to the
present.

      Among the important economic philosophies we will examine are
mercantilism, physiocracy, Smithian free-market economics, 19th-century
capitalism, utopian socialism, Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist socialism, 20th-
century capitalism, Maoist and post-Maoist Chinese communism, and Castro Cuban
socialism.

      Among the major economic thinkers or practitioners of economic
philosophies that we will be probing:  Jean Baptiste Colbert, finance minister
to King Louis XIV in the late 17th century and one of the first practitioners
of mercantilism; Francois Quesnay, the leader of the French Physiocrats, who
strongly opposed Colbertian mercantilism, advocating instead that the
government leave the economy alone (laissez faire) and let it run by natural
forces (physiocracy); Adam Smith, Scottish friend of Quesnay and great admirer
of French physiocracy, who develops a British version of physiocracy, spelled
out in his classic work, The Wealth of Nations. Smith is sometimes called "the
father of economics."

      Turning now to the 19th and 20th centuries, other thinkers to be
examined will include: Thomas Robert Malthus, David Ricardo, Robert Owen,
Charles Fourier, Count Henri de Saint-Simon, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx,
Thorstein Veblen, V.I. Lenin, Joseph Stalin, John Maynard Keynes, Mao Tse-
tung, John Kenneth Galbraith, and Milton Friedman.
 
 

      þ CONCERNING OBJECTIVE # 3, TO STUDY SOME MAJOR POLITICAL THINKERS --
      The lectures will discuss the key ideas of some of the major political
thinkers, from ancient times down to the modern. Among those to be discussed:
Plato, Aristotle, Polybius, Cicero, Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau,
Baron de Montesquieu, Tom Paine, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and Karl
Marx.

      Among the political forms and concepts to be discussed: absolute and
limited monarchy, aristocracy, polity, oligarchy, plutocracy, democracy, mixed
government, republican government, capitalism. socialism, communism, anarchy,
conservatism, classical liberalism, and radicalism.
 
 
 

ECON 120 SYLLABUS, PAGE THREE OF FIVE
 

REQUIRED BOOKS

þ Rondo Cameron
  A Concise Economic History of the World, from Paleolithic Times
  to the Present, 3rd Ed.
  Oxford University Press, New York, 1997 [403 text pages]

þ Daniel R. Fusfeld
  The Age of the Economist, 8th Ed.
  Addison Wesley Longman, Reading, MA, 1999  [224 text pages]

þ Robert Heilbroner and William Milberg
  The Making of Economic Society, 10th Ed.
  Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 1998 [175 text pages]
 
 
 

USEFUL BUT NOT REQUIRED BOOK

þ Robert L. Heilbroner
  The Worldly Philosophers: the lives, times, and ideas
  of the great economic thinkers
  Simon and Schuster, New York, 1972  [323 text pages]
 
 

REVIEW OF THREE SCHOLARLY JOURNAL ARTICLES
 
      Over the course of the semester, you will be asked to select and read
three scholarly journal articles. For each article, you need to prepare a one-
page summary (typed single-spaced) highlighting the key ideas in the article.
 
      In addition, from time to time, I may assign certain articles for
reading, to expand upon ideas being discussed in class. These would be made
available in the library or be accessible through a web page.
 
 

EXAMS: TWO MID-TERMS AND A FINAL

      There will be two exams during the semester (each exam will likely have
two parts: in-class part + take-home essays) and a final exam. If you should
do poorly on an exam (excluding the final) please see me to restudy and take a
make-up exam. In-class exams are closed book, closed notes, but you have
unlimited time.

      To insure that students keep abreast of their reading, I may give a
short quiz from time to time. A quiz would be announced several days in
advance.
 

ECON 120 SYLLABUS, PAGE FOUR OF FIVE
 

GRADING

      The final grade will be determined this way:

            þ 2 mid-term exams + final .........  60 - 70 %
              (inclass + take-home parts)

            þ 2-4 short quizzes  ................ 10 - 20 %

            þ 3 journal reviews ................  10 %
 
            þ class participation ..............  10 %
            __________________________________________
                                         TOTAL   100 %
 
 
 

CLASS ATTENDANCE IMPORTANT

      The student is expected to attend all classes and to remain for the
entire class session. For we will be covering considerable material in class
not covered anywhere in the assigned books. Also, the student is expected to
participate actively in class, asking numerous questions and contributing
his/her own observations, insights, and opinions on the issues discussed.

      A  student is permitted three cuts/semester. Students having additional
unauthorized cuts could lose from 0.5 to 2.0 points off their final course
grade. An attendance sheet will be passed around near the end of every class
session.
 
 

CLASSROOM ETIQUETTE

      The usual standards for American college and university classrooms of
course apply in this LCC class: please be on time, but if late, come anyway --
rather than miss the entire class; remain for the full duration of the class;
no reading of newspapers or other materials once the class has begun; cell
phones off; full attention to the classroom discussion; etc.

      If I am talking too fast or not being sufficiently clear or have failed
to discuss aspects of the topic of interest to you, please tell me right then
and there so I can adjust my presentation. My aim is to help you to learn.

      Be active: ask questions; and contribute your insights and opinions on
relevant issues -- spoken in a direct yet diplomatic manner. I
enthusiastically welcome a wide range of ideas and opinions on the issues
being discussed -- whether from the left, center, or right of the political
spectrum -- as such will hopefully stimulate discussion and illuminate all.
 

ECON 120 SYLLABUS, PAGE FIVE OF FIVE
 

GROUP STUDY STRONGLY ENCOURAGED

      Learning economic history and economic and political philosophy well
calls for discussing ideas with other students outside the classroom. Such
animated conversations are an important part of your liberal education and
college experience, enhancing your listening and debating skills and
opportunities to teach one another.

      To that end, the class will divide itself into study groups of 4-to-5
students each. But will your study group be worthwhile?  That depends solely
on your initiative -- and that of others in your self-selected group.

      But what should such a group do?  A few suggestions: meet informally
weekly over lunch or coffee to discuss assigned readings, exchange and discuss
class notes, study together for forthcoming exams, discuss take-home essay
questions, etc. Don't be a loner! Work to make your group into a meaningful
college experience!
 
 

EXTRA-CREDIT PROJECTS
 
      Students especially intent on earning a 3.5 or 4.0 for the course are
strongly encouraged to take on some extra-credit projects. Some possibilities:
 

      þ Reading an additional book or some additional journal articles, and
            writing a review.

      þ Writing a paper on an appropriate mutually agreed upon topic.

      Those interested in extra-credit projects should meet with me to discuss
matters by the fourth week of the semester.
 
 

OTHER

      Please keep all returned exams. On any submitted assignments, hand in
only the duplicate copy, retaining the original for yourself. In this way,
should any paperwork get misplaced, you can provide me with another copy.

      This syllabus is a general guide for the course -- not a set of
unalterable requirements. Accordingly, we may make some changes as the
semester progresses.

--------
Syllabus, Spring 2002, Edition # 1 [1/15/2002], E120-1.S02
Subject to revision.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

power =

      þ the ability or capacity to act or perform effectively.

      þ Strength or force exerted or capable of being exerted; might.

      þ The ability or official capacity to exercise control; authority.

      þ The might of a nation, political organization, oe similar gp.
 

authority =

      þ the right and power to command, enforce laws, exact obedience,
determine, or judge.

      þ A person or gp invested with this right and power