|Course Type||Course Code||No. Of Credits|
Semester and Year Offered: 2nd Semester, 1st Year
Course Coordinator and Team: Kaustav Banerjee
Email of course coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org
Aim: The course is in line with the vision of the University in imagining non-hierarchical spaces of globality. To do so, the course draws upon the discourses of political economy to understand the myriad global hierarchies that result from the accumulation of wealth, status and the cumulative production of inequalities. It has an interdisciplinary approach with a wide array of readings from the social sciences thereby equipping students to comprehend different writings by scholars who have specialised in a specific discipline. The specific programme, that is, MAGS takes the problems arising out of global inequities seriously, and for that reason, this is one of its six major themes. The course focuses on the use of political economy to study the accumulation of wealth and the cumulative production of inequalities under capitalism. 1 % of the world population own 40% of the global assets. The richest 2% of the world population own more than 51% of the global assets; the richest 10 % own 85 % of the global assets. All this while, almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day; more than 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where wealth and income inequalities are rising. The classical understanding of capitalism is of course in terms of class. The history of capitalism however, points to a recurring overlap between social identities and class domination. The invisible hand of the market under capitalism is commonly understood to throw up efficient solutions in terms of employment outcomes and resource allocations – and this is what would give rise to the wealth of nations. In reality however, certain social groups continue to find themselves at the lowest rungs of the economy and society, while the miniscule minority keeps expanding it’s share and retains power, often globally. The course will explore how capitalism often employs pre-existing fissures to retain profit shares and power. Capitalism, in short, is not blind to the hitherto existing practices of discrimination be it race, patriarchy, caste or religion. The course would analyse the global processes which lead to such debilitating overlaps between class domination and social inequalities.
- To show how the history of global capitalism exhibits a recurring overlap between social identities and class domination.
- To demonstrate the processes through which certain social groups continue to find themselves at the lowest rungs of the economy and society, while the miniscule minority keeps expanding it’s share and retains power, often globally.
- To help students communicate effectively, through speaking and writing, about ideas and concepts relating to the workings of global capitalism and the cumulative production of inequalities.
Brief description of modules/ Main modules:
- Wealth: The unit looks into the earlier sources of wealth creation and trace it to contemporary times. It will introduce students to processes of wealth creation and the cumulative nature of the existence of inequalities. It delves into the interlinkages between wealth, inequality and capitalist accumulation while drawing upon previous forms of wealth creation and earlier forms of inequities.
- Modes of exploitation, Inequalities and persistence: The economic system under capitalism is generally considered as a progression over earlier forms in so much as the identity of the oppressed would not be important for capitalist accumulation. Thus this unit will analyse one of the defining characteristics of capitalism over pre-capitalist forms - that of producing free wage labour as a progression over unfree labour relations. In the context of widespread histories of discriminatory labour practices under capitalism, the relevance of the concept of free wage labour will be examined. This unit will help in understanding why modes of exploitation are central to uncovering discriminatory outcomes and also analyse the reasons for its persistence in contemporary times.
- Primitive Accumulation and Criminality: This unit will deal in detail with the seamless/linear theories of transformation from feudalism to capitalism. The focus will be to uncover how primitiveness plays an important role in the evolution of capitalism. This would evolve an alternative understanding of the history of capitalism with regards to primitive/backward groups and their role in the broader cycle of accumulation. The method of political economy would help uncover the overlap between criminality and capitalist processes of exclusion.
- Patriarchy, Accumulation & Consumption: How does patriarchy shape patterns of accumulation over different modes of production? Can patriarchy be thought of as a mode of production? What role does consumption play the in sexual division of labour in contemporary capitalism? This unit maps the evolution of analysis which locates patriarchal relations of production and consumption which lie at the core of capitalist accumulation in contemporary times.
- Occupational segregation and Graded Inequality: How does division of labour become division of labourers or vice versa? What is graded inequality? How is it operationalized? Why is it invisible? This unit will cover the working of the market under capitalism and analyse how discriminatory outcomes occur.
- Race, Efficiency and Distribution: This unit looks at the impact of race/caste discrimination on market outcomes, especially issues pertaining to economic efficiency and distribution of wealth and persistence of inequalities.
Assessment Details with weights:
- Monthly Assessment (3X10% = 30%): Open book written assessment based on Units covered in a month.
- Project (30%): term paper on a topic/theme of students’ interest
- Final examination (40%): essay-based final exam based on full semester syllabus
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