Sep 14th 2015

Configuring the World: A Critical Political Economy Approach (Coursera)

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In today’s world, politics and economics are inextricably interconnected, but what is the nature of this connectivity? What are the power relationships that shape the world economy today and create new challenges for international institutions facing globalization? What makes some countries wealthier than others? Do we face cultural diversity or fragmentation? Does the type of governance effect economic development and social change or is it the other way around? How do we measure it and how trustworthy is the data? These issues and many more will be examined in this course along with up-to-date sources and biting criticism.

The course is composed of eight modules that together will introduce students to the influences that shape the world in which we live today and to some of the political economy concepts used to explain them. It will examine the forces that explain the differences between success and failure in economic development and effective government in different countries. It will view how these forces also interact in the global economy.

The course will adopt a ‘critical political economy approach’ in two ways. It will criticize the data that are employed by social scientists to test their hypotheses on questions of governance and economic development. However, it will also raise the prospect that the problems in economic development might lie at a more fundamental, systemic level.