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COURSE NUMBER: ECON 300
COURSE TITLE: Introduction to Canadian Political Economy
NAME OF INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Gerda Kits
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 3(hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 0 - hrs lab 0)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course will examine the relationship(s) between economics and politics, both as practice and theory. Central to this is the appropriate role of government in the economic life of Canadian (and other) society. The present controversies on these issues will be investigated and discussed, as well as their origins. It will be argued that the general course of economic and other development in rich and poor countries (including Canada) is decisively influenced by views taken on this issue; that various options for the future present themselves, and that options for change in political economy are linked to and will be resolved on the basis of fundamental/religious perspectives.

Prerequisites: ECON 203
REQUIRED TEXTS: There is no assigned textbook for this course.  Assigned readings and instructions for preparing for class will be available on Moodle.
MARK DISTRIBUTION IN PERCENT:
Reading assignments15%
Class participation10%
Course project45%
Final exam30%
100%
COURSE  OBJECTIVES: While Canada, like most other countries in the world, is a "market economy," the market is rarely left completely on its own to determine what happens in Canadian economic life. The government sets rules and boundaries for market activity, influences income distribution and other economic outcomes, and even produces goods and services itself. When is this appropriate? How should it be done?

In this course, we will examine how these questions play out in several pressing issues of today. These include poverty, health care, industrial policy, labour policy, environmental issues, and corporate power. By the end of the course, you should be able to:
  • Identify a variety of current issues and debates in Canadian political economy (CPE).
  • Describe current policy arrangements and institutions that influence these issues by assigning particular roles and responsibilities to the state, market and civil society
  • Discern the underlying theories and beliefs that play a role in shaping these policies
  • Describe alternative policies, institutions and theories from other societies, times and perspectives, including Christian perspectives
  • Take and defend your own position on various issues
COURSE OUTLINE:
  • Sept. 5, 7 Introduction to the course; defining the subject matter of CPE
  • Sept. 12, 14 Current and historical policy and institutions (McKeen and Porter)
  • Sept. 19 Using (and misusing) socio-economic evidence
  • Sept. 21 No class – I.S. Conference
  • Sept. 26, 28 Finding and using reliable evidence
  • Oct. 3-12 Liberalism (Howlett, Netherton and Ramesh, “Liberal Political Economy”; Richards)
  • Oct. 17, 19 Critical perspectives on liberalism (Koyzis)
  • Oct. 24, 26 A Reformed perspective: sphere sovereignty (Beukes)
  • Oct. 29, 31 A Catholic perspective: subsidiarity (Chaplin, Sirico)
  • Nov. 2-7 Putting it all together: “peeling the onion” (Citizens for Public Justice)
  • Nov. 9  No class – Fall Break
  • Nov. 14, 16 The staples approach to CPE (Howlett, Netherton and Ramesh, “Staples Political Economy”)
  • Nov. 21, 23 An alternative perspective: socialism (reading to be determined)
  • Nov. 28, 30 Indigenous issues and community based solutions (reading to be determined)
  • Dec. 5, 7 Course overview, review and collaborative exam preparation


Required texts, assignments, and grade distributions may vary from one offering of this course to the next. Please consult the course instructor for up to date details.

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