May 13, 2011

Steven Pearlstein- Fall Courses

GOVT 367:001 Issues in Government and Politics:  Money, Markets and Economic Policy

No prerequisite. Applies basic economic concepts to an examination of fundamental issues facing the U.S. and global economies. Explores the way markets work, the reasons they sometimes fail and the role of government policy. Topics include productivity and economic growth, taxes, health care, globalization, income distribution and financial crises, with an emphasis on market structure, social institutions and the not-always rational behavior of investors and consumers.

Over the last decade, economics has moved from the periphery of the political conversation to its white hot center. This course will provide a familiarity with the fundamental issues facing the U.S. and global economies, along with an understanding of the economic principles that underlie them. The course is aimed at non-economics majors seeking the economic literacy necessary to do their jobs, manage their lives and participate intelligently as citizens in a democracy.  It is taught by a prize-winning journalist with a knack for demystifying complex economic ideas and policy choices and translating them into conversational English. There are no prerequisites and the course involves very little math. Critical thinkers with curious minds are strongly encouraged to enroll. (MW 1:30 – 2:45 pm)

HNRS 131:005 Contemporary Society in Multiple Perspectives: Wealth and Poverty

In this seminar, we will explore wealth and poverty through different disciplines (literature, economics, politics, sociology, philosophy), different media (biography, non-fiction essays, journalism, novels, plays, movies) and the experience of different countries (England, Russia, the United States).  How are the wealthy different from the rest of us? Why are the poor poor, and how do we explain the persistence of poverty even in wealthy societies? Through history, how have the poor viewed the rich and the rich view the poor? What is the moral justification for great differences in wealth? How have views of social class changed?  Students will be required to write an essay answering one such question, drawing on the course readings as well as their own research and experiences.  Readings include Brideshead Revisited (Waugh), Evicted (Desmond), Behind the Beautiful Forevers (Boo), Nickel and Dimed (Ehrenreich), Andrew Carnegie (Nasaw), Scratch Beginnings (Shepard), Hillbilly Elegy (Vance) and Bonfire of the Vanities (Wolfe).  Movies include “Remains of the Day, “The Cherry Orchard,” “There Will Be Blood,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” and “Wall Street.”

(TR 10:30-11:45am)