Undergraduate Course Code: POL485H1S L0201
Topics in Political Thought II
The Politics of Capitalism
Does capitalism promote human freedom and emancipation or does it depend on and perpetuate inequality and exploitation? In pursuit of this question, we will analyze four overlapping themes: labor and property, markets and exchange, commodities and commodification, and credit and debt relations. Our discussions will focus on a series of questions: What is the value of work? Does capitalism exploit laborers, or offer new outlets for creative production? What is the connection between labor and property? Are markets the best way of organizing human relationships and satisfying needs and wants? Are there things that shouldn’t be commodified? Does a credit culture provide new moral and economic resources, or does it generate greater inequality and exploitation? In this political theory seminar, we will explore these problems by reading and interpreting a range of texts in political theory and political economy from the mid-seventeenth century to the present.
Format and Requirements
One two-hour seminar per week, requirements TBA