Farms to Finance: an introduction to political economy
Time: 10:30 - 12:00
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HPC103
Duration: 5 sessions (over 5 weeks)
What is the course about?
This course is about far-reaching political issues: global warming, poverty, inequality and class. It is about how modern economies have contributed to them, and how such economies can be rearranged. Different ideologies offer different solutions and we shall consider a range of views. But we also need to think outside the box. Are markets really how economies work? How have we organised ourselves in the past? Should we rely on governments, or can we make change for ourselves? This course introduces the political side of economics, suggesting we have more options than we tend to believe, and encourages students to decide for themselves how much is possible.
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?
- A short history of farms, factories and work (the basics).
- Definitions of political economy.
- Busting myths about free markets, barter and human nature.
- Capitalism on poverty, inequality, and social justice.
- Critiques of capitalism.
- International political economy: Wealth of nations, or wealth of empires?
- The political economy of the media.
- Climate change: Game theory, cooperation and the alternatives to extinction.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Identify and explore political and economic forces in their everyday lives.
- Understand in new ways economic discourse as it appears in non-economic literature.
- See yourself as a historical agent, taking an active role in shaping change,
- Explore political economy further on your own.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
The course is ‘introductory’ and no background in politics or economics is required. The goal is to demystify economics, encourage interdisciplinary thinking, and challenge conventional ideas.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
A combination of lectures and class discussions. Readings will be provided each week, but they are optional, making the course as intense or relaxed as students wish it to be.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
There are no additional costs, but you may wish to bring pen and paper, or digital equivalents, as you will gain more from the course that way.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You can take a deeper dive into one or more of the topics we’ve looked at by considering other courses in politics and economics at City Lit.
James studied at the University of Warwick and the London School of Economics, specialising in empires, colonialism and globalisation. He finished top of his class in African history and his postgraduate thesis explored the Central African Federation, focusing on the political economy of the British Empire after WWII. Today, he researches state power, propaganda and economic crises and their relationships to violence, consent and rebellion. In 2018, James began a fellowship with Google, during which he was placed at the Times newspaper in London, before training as a journalist with the NCTJ. He has worked as a reporter for a local paper in Essex and as an English tutor in East London. At City Lit, James teaches courses on political economy, African history and British imperialism. He believes education should be available to all and encourages a diversity of ideas in the classroom. For James, education is about scrutinising the systems around us and imagining alternative ways to live.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.