RES (Bridge Course) – New Perspectives on Economics and Politics

General Information

We live in interesting times both, economically and politically. Many observers point to crises and uncertain developments in the economic and political world. Making sense of the nature of these challenges and pointing toward economic and political solutions for the future requires new perspectives. This is a course about the big and bold questions in economics and politics. How can or should economics and politics be organized to best serve society? What does it mean to put humans as they really are at the center of economic and political thinking? What role do morals and values, or dignity and respect, play for the way economics and politics work?

We will try to come to grips with these questions by reading and discussing six key books on various new perspectives at the intersection between economics and politics. The aim of this course is to go as deep as we can and to get as much out of an in-class discussion of the material as possible. Willingness to acquire and read the books is a must. If you are unsure about whether or not you would want to take on the commitment of reading six books in one semester then this course is probably not the right one for you.

Students need to be willing to read books, form their own opinions on them, and elaborate on and defend their own views in group discussions and a final essay.

Further Information

  • Learning Outcomes

    The aim of this course is to engage in intellectual dialogue, to develop a personal point of view on some of the central economic and political questions we face today, and to allow ourselves to think creatively, freely, and out of the box. After completing this course, students will have read important texts on new perspectives in economics and politics, they will have trained their ability to distill an own point of view from the writings of leading scientists, they will train their writing and discussion skills, and they will train to creatively apply what they have read in writing about the future of economics and politics in our society.

    For each session, students need to have read the respective book in advance. (Detailed schedule will be provided in an introductory session.)

    • Fukuyama, F. (2018). Identity: The demand for dignity and the politics of resentment. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
    • Sandel, M. J. (2020). The tyranny of merit: What’s become of the common good?. Penguin UK.
    • Goodhart, D. (2017). The road to somewhere: The populist revolt and the future of politics. Oxford University Press.
    • Rajan, R. (2019). The third pillar: How markets and the state leave the community behind. Penguin.
    • Haidt, J. (2012). The righteous mind: Why good people are divided by politics and religion. Vintage.
    • Bowles, S. (2016). The moral economy. Yale University Press
  • Prerequisites

    Formal: Students need to be enrolled in a PhD program at the University of Mannheim and must have passed their first-year courses. 

    Recommended: Willingness to read, discuss, challenge, engage and think for yourself is critical for this course.

  • Registration

    Registration is obligatory as class size is limited. Registration on the GESS Website.