Introduction to Political Economy

Home/ Introduction to Political Economy
Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSGA1FC1044

Semester and Year Offered: 1stSemester, 1st Year

Course Coordinator and Team:Kaustav Banerjee

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: None

Aim: The course will be offered as a foundation course to first year undergraduate BA students at Karampura Campus, within the foundation basket of Ways of Knowing. It contributes to developing AUD and SGA’s interdisciplinary vision of higher education. For BA students, this course is designed to introduce them to the one of key thematic areas of the programme, i.e., Global Political Economy. This course will provide UG students with a conceptual grounding to knowing the global.Each concept would be grounded in examples across regions and would

Course Outcomes:

  1. To understand theuse of political economy as one of the ways of knowing the idea of the global.
  2. To help students comprehend the importance of space time compression that is crucial to understanding globality.
  3. To help students communicate effectively, through speaking and writing, about ideas and concepts relating to political economy so as toestablish the global interconnectedness between historical events and the contemporary world.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

  1. What is Political Economy? The course starts with an introduction to political economy and how different schools of thought [Neoclassical, Institutionalist and Marxist] conceptualize it. In this module, we focus on the methods of political economy and the trajectories traversed by the discipline from its Classical origins to the periods between the World Wars, and the following periods right upto contemporary times.
  2. Labour: In this module, we deal with the following questions: How does division of labour/labourers impact us? What is the difference between free and unfree labour? How does labour produce surplus value?
  3. Commodity: This module will look into different aspects of commodity production and circulation. We will examine different commodities across time and spatial locations (supply side). We will also delve into commodity and demand generation.
  4. Money: This module deals with the history of money. It examines the links between money and commodity circulation. Newer forms of money and its impact on the global will be covered.
  5. Agriculture: This module looks at the agrarian roots of capitalism. It will explore the connections between agrarian change in different parts of the world. It will delve into understanding agricultural commodities and global value chains.
  6. Industrialisation:This module traces the histories of industrialisation across the globe. How does industrialization in the North impact the South and vice versa? What is the agriculture-industry dichotomy?
  7. Trade: This module looks at forms of trade and exchange. It will delve into theories of comparative and absolute advantage in trade and examine the claims of free trade. It will cover contemporary debate on the importance of external versus internal markets.
  8. Development: This module traces the genesis of the term ‘development.’ The primary focus will be to study capitalist development and examine it in a comparative frame.
  9. Globalisation: This module will look at definitions and histories of globalisations. It will examine the connections between globalisation and development.
  10. Crisis: This module looks at definitions, aspects and contours of crisis under capitalism. What is financial crisis? When did it start and how does it affect our lives?

Assessment Details with weights:

  1. Monthly Assessment (3X10% = 30%): Open book written assessment based on Units covered in a month.
  2. Project (30%): term paper on a topic/theme of students’ interest
  3. Final examination (40%): essay-based final exam based on full semester syllabus

Reading List:

Essential readings:

  • Hunt, E.K. and Lautzenheiser, M (2011), Introduction, History of Economic Thought, Third Edition, M.E. Sharpe Inc., Armonk, New York
  • Fine, B and Saad-Filho (2004), History and Method, Marx’s Capital, Fourth Edition, Pluto Press, London
  • Sweezy, P. (1962), The Qualitative-Value Problem, The Theory of Capitalist Development, Dennis Dobson Limited, London
  • Brass, T. (1999), Introduction & Towards a Definition of Bonded Labour, Towards a Comparative Political Economy of Unfree Labour, Frank Cass, London
  • Fine, B and Saad-Filho (2004), Commodity Production, Marx’s Capital, Fourth Edition, Pluto Press, London
  • Bhaduri, A. (1986), The Social Device of Money, Macroeconomics: The Dynamics of Commodity Production, Macmillan, London
  • Friedman, M. (1956), "The Quantity Theory of Money: A restatement", in Studies in Quantity Theory.
  • Byres, T (2006), Agriculture and Development: The Dominant Orthodoxy and an Alternative View, in Chang, Ha-Joon ed. (2006), Rethinking Development Economics, Anthem Press, London
  • Weiss, J. (2018), Lewis On Industrialisation And Industrial Policy, Journal of International Development Vol. 30, 61–79
  • Bhaduri, A. &Patkar, M. (2008), Industrialisation of the People, by the People and for the People, Economic and Political Weekly.
  • Krugman, P. (1993),What Do Undergrads Need to Know About Trade?, The American Economic Review, Vol. 83, No. 2, Papers and Proceedings of the Hundred and Fifth Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association, pp. 23-26
  • Bhagwati, J. (2008), "Why the Critics of Free Trade are Mistaken," C.D. Howe Institute, The Sylvia Ostry Lecture
  • Bhaduri, A. (2009), Some Implications of Economic Openness with Special Reference to India, The Face You Were Afraid To See, Penguin, New Delhi
  • Chang, Ha-Joon (2006), The East Asian Development Experience, in Chang, Ha-Joon ed., Rethinking Development Economics, Anthem Press, London
  • Palma, G. (2006), The Latin American Economies During the Second Half of the Twentieth Century – From the Age of ‘ISI’ to the Age of ‘End of History’, in Chang, Ha-Joon ed., Rethinking Development Economics, Anthem Press, London
  • Stein, H. (2006), Rethinking African Development, in Chang, Ha-Joon ed., Rethinking Development Economics, Anthem Press, London
  • Nayyar, D. (2006), Globalisation and Development, in Chang, Ha-Joon ed. (2006), Rethinking Development Economics, Anthem Press, London
  • Bhaduri, A. (2015), Development by Dispossession, S.R. Sankaran Memorial Lecture, NIRD, Hyderabad
  • Palma, G. (2006), The ‘Three Routes’ to Financial Crisis: Chile, Mexico and Argentina [1]; Brazil [2]; and Korea, Malaysia and Thailand [3], in Chang, Ha-Joon ed. (2006), Rethinking Development Economics, Anthem Press, London
  • Bhagwati, J. (2009), "The Critiques of Capitalism After the Crisis: Myths and Fallacies." World Affairs Journal.
  • Harvey, D. (2005), Freedom’s Just Another Word, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, Oxford University Press, New York
  • Bhaduri, A. (2009), On Neoliberalism, the Democratic State and Corporate-led Globalisation, The Face You Were Afraid To See, Penguin, New Delhi

Supplementary readings:

  • Smith, Adam (1776), The Wealth of Nations, edited W.B. Todd, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976.
  • Mill, John Stuart (1848), Principles of Political Economy with Some of their Applications to Social Philosophy, in J.M. Robson (ed.), Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volumes II and III, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1965.
  • Marx, K. (1970), Capital Vol. 1: A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, Progress Publishers, Moscow, (1970)
  • Ha-Joon ed. (2006), Rethinking Development Economics, Anthem Press, London