The Economic Mind (PEC2207.01)

Lopamudra Banerjee

A set of questions keeps on bugging the economic mind. They run from the smallest immediate ones, such as, do I buy this salad or that sandwich for my lunch today, to the more solemn ones, such as, do I accept this job or the other one? Other profound questions arise as well. Why does the economy not grow continually over time, but rather, economic upsurges are marred by recession and spurts of downturn? Why is there unevenness in economic distribution, with great wealth surrounded by abject poverty? While we try to resolve these questions, different answers emerge when different logical procedures are applied. The present course explores the canonical procedures of economic reasoning, and extends the discussions beyond the pales of thought patterns to focus on five concrete meta-economic concepts that have historically played outstanding roles in the development of economic reasoning: the equilibrium concept, the maximization principle, the notion of time, the idea of freedom, and the conception of law. These concepts will be explored through primary sources and critical and expository secondary-source literature. The primary mode of discussion will be verbal and written exposition, but we will explore the expression of these ideas in graphical and mathematical form where appropriate. Evaluation will be based upon participation in class discussion, writing of shorter critical-expository papers and a final project and presentation. Students need no prior knowledge of economics.

Prerequisites: None.
Credits: 4
T 4:10pm - 6:00pm; F 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency:
This course is categorized as 2000, All courses, CAPA, Environment, Four Credit, Lopamudra Banerjee, Philosophy, Political Economy, Tuesday and/or Friday Afternoons.