Financial and other markets play a key role for the world we live in. This course is an attempt to help us come to grips with central questions for economics and the world: what is the proper role for markets in society? When do markets work well? When and how should we regulate them? Is there a role for morals in markets; and if so, what is it? We will do this by reading and discussing two eminent books on markets: first, perhaps one of the most influential books on markets every written, Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom, University of Chicago Press. Second, Samuel Bowles’ The Moral Economy, Yale University Press, which represents a more recent approach to understanding markets. We will complement the perspectives laid out in the books by additional material provided by the instructor. Students need to be willing to read both books, form their own opinions on them, and elaborate on and defend their views in a final write-up and group discussions.
The aim of this course is to engage in intellectual dialogue, to develop a personal point of view on some of the central economic questions we face today, and to allow ourselves to think creatively about the future. After completing this course, students will have read two important texts on the role of markets for society, they will have trained their ability to distill an own point of view from the writings of leading economists, they will train their presentation, writing and discussion skills, and they will train to creatively apply what they have read in writing about the future of markets in our society.
Formal: Students need to be enrolled in a PhD program at the University of Mannheim and must have passed their first-year courses. Students need to have both books available at the start of the course.
Recommended: Willingness to read, discuss, challenge, engage and think for yourself is critical for this course.
Registration is obligatory as class size is limited. Registration on the GESS Website.