Berkeley Political Economy 100: Reference Document DRAFT
links for 2009-05-14

Berkeley Political Economy 101: Reference Document DRAFT


Modern Theories of Political Economy


Completion of PE 100 and IAS 45 are required before students can register for the course.


Students intending to become Political Economy majors are expected to complete PE 101 by the end of their sophomore year.


PE 101 is examines modern approaches of the interaction between economics and politics--what in an earlier age would have been called "moral philosophy." Building on the knowledge of world history covered in IAS 45, it focuses on the usefulness of alternative theories of political economy, both the classical theories covered in PE 100 and the modern theories of the 20th and 21st centuries in the their historical context. The course is explicitly interdisciplinary: theories of political economy cannot do their job if they are constrained by discipinary boundaries. It is a thoeretical course: empirical and historical facts are used as aids to theoretical comprehension and yardsticks to assess the usefulness of alternative theoretical perspectives.

The first two-thirds or so of the course will introduce students to general theoretical works and current intellectual debates in political economy. The last third or so of the course will specialize. Political Economy majors here at Berkeley tend to concentrate in one of five areas:

  • the political economy of post-industrial societies,
  • economic develpment and political democratization,
  • international relations and globalization,
  • comparative political and economic systems,
  • modern China.

The last third of each course should focus on those aspects of political economy theory that will be most useful to students concentrating in one (or at a pinch two) of these area.

Instructors are not expected to cover all of the topics or assign all the authors listed below, but they should discuss enough topics and assign enough authors to span the space of political economy.


Political economy and war, market and non-market systems, distributive justice, libertarianism and communitarianism, liberal democracy and regulated capitalism, social democracy and mixed economy, international economic orders and American hegemony, globalization, public choice, late development successes, late development failures, worlds of welfare capitalism, neoliberalism and its discontents, market reforms in post-industrial economies, transitions from communism, political economy and the digital age.


George Akerlof, Benedict Anderson, Norman Angell, Hannah Arendt, Benjamin Barber, Robert Bates, Simone de Beauvoir, Isaiah Berlin, James Buchanan, Nancy Chodorow, Ronald Coase, Milovan Djilas, Anthony Downs, Barry Eichengreen, James Fallows, James Ferguson, Betty Friedan, Michel Foucault, Robert Frank, Milton Friedman, Francis Fukuyama, Alexander Gerschenkron, Friedrich Hayek, Peter Hall, Robert Heilbroner, Albert Hirschman, John Hobson, Stephen Holmes, Tony Judt, John Maynard Keynes, Charles Kindleberger, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Janos Kornai, Paul Krugman, Timur Kuran, Vladimir Lenin, Arthur Lewis, Charles Lindblom, Charles Maier, Hyman Minsky, Mancur Olsen, George Orwell, William Pfaff, Karl Polanyi, John Rawls, Robert Reich, Dani Rodrik, Elaine Scarry, Joseph Schumpeter, James Scott, Amartya Sen, Robert Shiller, Judith Shklar, Jessica Stern, Joseph Stiglitz, Gordon Tullock, Michael Walzer, Eugen Weber, Fareed Zakaria.

Course Boundaries vis-a-vis PE 100:

This course covers the twentieth century world since the Great Depression, which is where PE 100 ends. At most a week should be spent on pre-Depression theorists and events in this course, allowing students to see the ways in which the project of classical political economy set the stage for new kinds of theory to be discussed in PEIS 101.

Assessments and Assignments:

The material lends itself to in-class exams, take-home exams, and research papers. Each instructor cam generate those kind of assignments that work best with that instructor’s teaching. At least three written assignments/exams should be required over the course of the semester, in order to observe student improvement. Provide studente with as many opportunities as possible to reflect upon tbe course content: it will be new and strange to many

Course Instructional Support:

Since the last budget crisis this course is without GSI support. The hope is that capping PE 101 sections at 50 will allow for meaningful interaction to take place in the lecture itself.

Appendix: Bev Crawford's Outline:

  1. Theoretical Perspectives on Political Economy (4 weeks)
    • The Political Economy of Freedom (Liberalism)
    • The Political Economy of Equality (Distributive Justice, Socialism, Social Democracy)
    • The Political Economy of Community (Communitarianism and Nationalism)
  2. 20th Century Theory and 20th Century History * Liberal, Really-Existing Socialist, Nationalist, and Social Democratic Systems * How they worked and didn't work
    • Political Governance of the International Economy
      • How it worked and didn't work
    • Three Crises
      • The Great Depression
      • The Asian Financial Crisis
      • The Current Financial Crisis
  3. Political Economy Theory and Economic Development
  4. Political Economy Theory and 21st Century Globalization
  5. Political Economy Theory and 21st Century Post-Industrial Societies