Economics: what is capitalism?
Time: 18:00 - 19:30
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HPC78
Duration: 5 sessions (over 5 weeks)
What is the course about?
Economics is about what drives human behaviour in making decisions faced with limited resources. Capitalism is an economic system in which private individuals or businesses own capital goods and use the free market to determine their prices. Economics is the study of how people allocate scarce resources for production, distribution, and consumption, both individually and collectively. Capitalism is one process by which by which the problems of economic production and resource distribution might be resolved. Instead of planning economic decisions through centralised political methods as with Socialism or Feudalism, economic planning under Capitalism occurs via decentralised and voluntary decisions.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
We will discuss a range of topics including the importance of private ownership of the means of production and the enforcement of private property rights which provide incentives for investment and productive use of productive capital. We will also discuss how Capitalism developed from previous systems of Feudalism and Mercantilism in Europe and dramatically expanded industialisation which lead to mass market consumerism. We will discuss what Pure Capitalism is and discuss whether the impact to a modern liberal democracy is beneficial or not. If not what type of Capitalism would be desirable? We will also discuss the future of Capitalism. Are we living in a post capitalist world? How does climate change, COVID, Black Lives Matter and gender identity impact on Capitalism as a functional or dysfunctional economic system.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
-Analyse, assess and critically evaluate Capitalism as an economic system in the light of COVID 19 and climate change.
-Explain and have reasoned arguments around whether the stat,e through government policy, has a positive or negative impact on the economy.
-Problem-solve and debate economic solutions using the tenents of Capitalism to solve economic challenges and evaluate its limitations.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
No previous knowledge is required. This course does, however, build on “Economics for beginners". An interest in news and current affairs may prove helpful. Reading the Business and Economics news would also develop your learning and help you gain more from the course both in terms of enjoyment and learning outcomes.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
A mixture of lectures/ short presentations by the tutor, Q&A, and class discussions. A comprehensive bibliography will be given at the beginning of the course. Also, (brief) reading materials will be handed out at the end of each session. These will mostly cover issues raised in the class. While this supplementary reading is not a course requirement, course participants will benefit more from the course if they do some of the supplementary readings recommended by the course tutor. Please note, that as the course progresses, course participants are encouraged to take a more active part in the course – this will be achieved through a mixture of smaller group work but also class discussions.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Although you are not required to buy anything, you may wish to buy books, read articles online. However, please note that this is not necessary to follow the class as such.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
HPC85 Understanding economics: from stock markets to game theory
HPC86 History of economic thought: from Adam Smith to Neoliberalism.