Alternatives to Capitalism and Socialism
Sarah Hernandez, Associate Professor
Join New College Associate Professor Sarah Hernandez, University of Michigan Ph.D., in an exploration of the current debate regarding the best way to organize the economy in society. A common vision is a bifurcated idea of capitalism vs. socialism. However, there have been many more nuanced efforts to develop an economic structure that offers a better distribution of wealth and improvement in the quality of life of people. Students will explore these efforts, beginning with a brief review of classical economic theory, mid-20th century analyses and critiques of the live experience in capitalist production; we will then dedicate most of the course to exploring various responses and alternative proposals (labor unions, ESOPs, LETS, socially responsible corporations, social entrepreneurship, Cooperatives, Kibbutz, intentional communities and participatory economics). As we address these readings, we will explore: what defines capitalism, is there a difference between capitalism and a market economy and is it possible to balance individual freedom with social welfare.
What you will learn:
Students will gain a more nuanced understanding of economic and social organization, capitalist production and the large variety of human efforts to construct a more humane organization of economic and social life. They will also become acquainted with social theory regarding economic organization, an awareness of the debates embedded in these theoretical outlooks and the challenges posed by the various forms of economic organization that continue to be tried. In addition, the writing exercises will strengthen students’ writing skills.
How you will be evaluated:
Students will write three short essays in which they strengthen their writing skills. They will need to identify one topic that is addressed in various readings and explain how it is addressed by various authors.
Number of hours and cost:
2 hour & 13 minute sessions, three times per week for six weeks
Students earn four credit hours per course.
Cost: $753.68 in-state
Cost: $3,312.44 out-of-state
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