Throughout the world, societies, markets, and governments are in upheaval. Some would even argue that we are on the brink of a new world order. So how do we understand the current historical moment? How are nation-states being remade in the face of the hyper-mobility of capital? Are global corporations the new arbiters of rule? What is the fate of global cooperation in an era of growing nationalism? How are emerging economies and global social movements challenging the terms of the globalization debate? How are power and wealth distributed between and within nations? International Political Economy engages students to understand how the relationship between states, markets and civil society on a global stage affect issues like poverty, inequality, unemployment, security, and climate change.
In this course students learn about the functioning of the United Nations and participate in a Model UN conference. Students research contemporary issues facing the UN and debate these issues from the perspective of a selected country. Fees may be required to cover conference costs. Course may be repeated.
This course trains students in the modern International Political Economy analysis of the battle between the winners and losers of economic globalization. The first part of the course focuses on political economy approaches to international trade issues, including discussions of trade policy in rich and poor countries, the role of government in assisting displaced workers, the regulation of labor standards, and the politics of multinational corporations. The second part of the course provides students with a well-rounded understanding of the political, economic and social aspects of the international financial system and financial crises.
This course serves as an introduction to global development and provides an overview of several problems associated with development and globalization. There are two themes that run throughout the course. First, what are the tradeoffs inherent to the process of industrialization, globalization, and economic growth? Second, what are the political, social, and economic challenges faced by low-income countries? In pursuing these two themes, this course will cover several topics related to development and globalization: the historical trajectory and meaning of the development idea; the role played by colonialism in shaping the contours of the contemporary world; the policy dimensions of development and globalization; the tradeoffs associated with the modernization of agriculture; the causes and consequences of the debt crisis; patterns of health and illness in low-income countries; the environmental impact of industrialization and growing global consumerism; and the challenges faced by women in low-income countries. Crosslisted as IPE/GDS 211.
This course combines Economic and IPE approaches to understand and compare different governments' choices to influence markets and how those choices affect incentives and the behavior of economic agents (consumers, suppliers, laborers, employers, policymakers, etc.) in markets which are "misbehaving". In one way or the other, the markets considered in this class do not meet the economic goals of efficiency, equity, stability, or growth, requiring government action. This action, however, often creates distortions of its own. By considering nations' differing approaches to common problems, the successes and failures of government policy can be evaluated. The purpose of this course is to identify the need for market intervention, apply and evaluate policies which seek to achieve national goals, and identify optimal government action in the context of both economic, political, and cultural realities. Policy areas considered include healthcare, environmental protection, education, taxation, and equity.
This course examines theoretical explanations of international political economy relationships and events. Students become acquainted with important theoretical debates and research methods used to answer questions in IPE. Students identify and research questions suitable for the senior thesis.
This course studies the interaction between states, markets and civil society, in the fight against global poverty. More precisely it analyzes the roles of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Corporations and social entrepreneurs. The course addresses a number of issues: What do NGOs do and how do they finance their operations? Can multinational corporations play a role in the fight against global poverty, and if so, how? How can we make sense of so-called 'social enterprise'? What is the role of the state in regulating and encouraging private solutions to poverty? Are these private solutions further proof of economic liberal dominance or a move toward a new form of capitalism tailored to serve social needs?
In the contemporary world, tourism is often the foremost process that brings together people from different parts of the world, allowing those from vastly different societies to interact on a face-to-face basis under peaceful, if not always equal, circumstances. As such, tourism as a phenomenon and as a process raises questions about global interconnections and global movements of finance, cultural and material artifacts, ideas, and people across national and cultural boundaries. The two questions this course addresses throughout the semester are 1) what are the economic, political, social, cultural, and environmental impacts of tourism in low and middle income countries? and 2) what are the tradeoffs associated with tourism? In tackling these two questions the course examines a wide range of issues, including the political, economic, social, and cultural implications of tourism, the impact of global tourism on environmental and global conservation efforts, and tourism as a vehicle of social change and as a facilitator of cultural and material globalization. Crosslisted as IPE/SOAN 323.
Everyone eats, and therefore everyone has a relationship to global agriculture. But because less than one percent of the US population earns a living from farming, most Americans rarely think about where our food comes from. This course explores the origins of our current global food system, the political-economic relations that structure it, and emerging alternatives to industrial food. The course begins with an overview of the global food system, including the actors and ideas that have shaped its historical development. Second, students examine the dominant paradigm of industrial agriculture and the politics of its organization primarily in the US context. Finally, students discuss some of the most prescient debates over the future of our food system with a focus on the local context. Note: this course includes a required weekly three-hour experiential session in addition to regular class sessions. This experiential session provides students the opportunity for hands-on learning through field trips, volunteering, and community-based projects. Students use class materials to bring an analytical lens to these experiences, and the course culminates in a major research project and presentation that engages local community gardeners.
This course serves as an overview of the political, economic, social, and cultural processes shaping the region known as Southeast Asia. This course utilizes a range of disciplinary approaches in order to illustrate patterns of change in the Southeast Asian context. Throughout, the course integrates discussion of theoretical issues with examples from around Southeast Asia. By applying theoretical material to specific countries and real-world examples, the class explores the ways in which broad perspectives intersect with economic, political, and social issues to shape the nature and direction of change in Southeast Asia.
Eating food is critical to everyday life, and yet many have the luxury to treat daily sustenance as an afterthought. For some, the connections between food and the larger environmental and social systems that sustain human life are largely invisible. This experiential course explores these interactions through an extensive and intensive investigation of the Northwest food system from farm to fork. For three weeks, the course travels among the campuses of Whitman College, the University of Puget Sound, and Willamette University, tracing the themes of soil, labor, and money across the Northwest foodscape. Beginning at Whitman, students focus on the political economy of the food system, training a global lens on the industrial wheat farms, chicken processing plants, and large-scale dairy operations of the Walla Walla Valley. At the University of Puget Sound, the focus shifts to urban agriculture and food justice, tracing the three themes through questions of poverty and access to food, urban planning, and the challenges of growing food in the city of Tacoma. Finally, the course concludes at Willamette where students will live and work at Zena Forest and Farm, putting the methods of sustainable agriculture into practice and exploring the opportunities and obstacles associated with smaller-scale organic agriculture in the Willamette Valley.
Crosslisted as IPE/ENVR 360.
The base of the pyramid (BOP) refers to the billions of people living on very low incomes ($2-4 per day). Currently, various approaches exist as to how best to align business activity with the needs and potential of this segment of the global population. Those at the BOP can be seen as a large untapped market of demanding consumers, as creative entrepreneurs, as business partners, and as innovators. This course examines the various BOP perspectives to need satisfaction, poverty alleviation, and economic growth through business activity. The focus is on emerging business models that address individual and social needs in an innovative, profitable, sustainable, and socially-responsible manner. This course integrates concepts of development economics, international business, and strategy. Cross-listed as BUS/IPE 361.
In 2008 the United Nations announced that for the first time in human history, more than half of the world's population lived in cities. In 2016, POLITICO published the headline "Revenge of the Rural Voter" in an attempt to explain the dramatic right turn in US electoral politics. In the wake of that election, rural America is in the spotlight as (largely) urban scholars and pundits attempt to explain the dynamics of rural places to a (largely) urban audience. So, what might they be missing? While urbanization shows no signs of slowing, it more important than ever to study and understand rural places. Although fewer and fewer of us claim rural places as our home, these communities play a crucial role in natural resource management, energy development, agriculture, cultural and historic preservation, global social movements, and domestic politics. This course will examine the political, economic, and social significance of rural communities in an increasingly metropolitan world. Students will be introduced to the discipline of rural social science, and will gain a complex and nuanced understanding of the dynamics of rural communities from a global perspective.
This course examines the efforts of states in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to adapt to the international political economy. It examines and assesses the constraints and opportunities states face and how they have tried to reshape their political and economic institutions. Attention is paid to relationships that exist between the state, business, labor, civil society, international capital, and foreign governments. Topics include the relationship of economic reform to democratization, regional integration, religious radicalism, and corruption and illicit transactions.
This course examines patterns of illicit activity in the global economy. A political economy approach is used to understand reasons why illicit behavior occurs, how it occurs, and who the relevant actors are. Attention is focused on production and distribution of commodities, especially those that originate in developing countries. Commodities are broadly defined to include drugs, money, guns, people, diamonds, oil, timber, and intellectual property. The course concludes with a discussion of efforts by states and multilateral institutions to combat illicit transnational activity.
Exploring the Chinese Economy analyzes the economic, political, and social facets of the Chinese economy and their relationships with globalization. First, we discuss China's transition to a market economy and its rise as a global economic power. This includes the role of state and market actors, labor, and the rural-urban divide. Second, students think critically about the role of education and technology in the Chinese economy, including universities, the internet, and social media. Third, we investigate China's place in the global economy, including international trade, foreign investment, the battles of global brands for the Chinese consumer market, and environmental issues. The field school portion of this course will take place between June and August. It will consist of a full time, 8-week internship in Beijing, and weekly cultural activities. Students will be immersed in the Chinese economy, experiencing it as interns, commuters, consumers, and foreigners exploring a new culture. Participation in the field school, including completion of an internship, field notes, and a final video project, is required to pass the course. The instructor will be present for the first three weeks of the field school to meet regularly with students and to ensure that students are settled into their internships.
This course examines a wide range of contemporary struggles over global intellectual property, especially patents, copyrights, and trademarks. Drawing upon and contrasting the disciplines of political science, economics, law, and cultural studies, the course examines how rules governing intellectual property have been established, who benefits from them, and how some people are using political power - and law-breaking - to try to achieve alternative intellectual property systems. Some specific cases that will be analyzed are struggles over generic medicines in developing countries, counterfeiting, music and software piracy, and "bio-piracy."
Rigorous examination of topics of current interest in International Political Economy. This course is designed to allow students to participate in focused discussion and thoughtful analysis of a number of topics in IPE while they research and write their senior theses.
Wine is a simple thing. The idea of wine, however, is very complicated, since it reflects both wine itself and wine's complex and dynamic social and economic terroir of values, attitudes, and interests. Because wine intersects social processes in so many ways, the question of which idea of wine will prevail, or how the contractions between and among the different ideas will be resolved or not, has important implications. This course looks closely at the battle for the idea of wine with special attention to its interdisciplinary aspects and conflicts and consideration of how the globalization of wine has intensified the inherent conflicts.
Political ecology is an active interdisciplinary framework with foundations in anthropology, geography, environmental studies and the biological sciences. Its central contention is that our understanding of environmental issues and environmental change must include an analysis of the social, political, economic, and cultural context in which they are produced. Through a set of advanced readings in the social sciences, students in this course become familiar with the genealogy of this interdisciplinary approach, the keystone texts that inform contemporary political/ecological work, and the new directions that comprise the cutting edge of political ecology. Recurring themes in the reading list will examine indigenous peoples' struggle over resources, the construction of nature through the capitalist lens, and an examination of sustainability in both discourse and practice. Students conduct original ethnographic research that builds upon these areas of interest.
Advanced coursework in anthropology, sociology, and/or international political economy is strongly recommended.
Many sociologists have joined economists in the study of that entity we call the economy. Apart from this interest, however, the two groups share very little in common. The disagreements include the importance of rationality and selfishness, the proper methodologies, the nature of explanation, and even the definition of the field of study. This course surveys the different ways in which economists and sociologists approach the material world and the key debates between them.
Independent study is available to those students who wish to continue their learning in an area after completing the regularly offered courses in that area.
Independent study is available to those students who wish to continue their learning in an area after completing the regularly offered courses in that area.
This scheduled weekly interdisciplinary seminar provides the context to reflect on concrete experiences at an off-campus internship site and to link these experiences to academic study relating to the political, psychological, social, economic and intellectual forces that shape our views on work and its meaning. The aim is to integrate study in the liberal arts with issues and themes surrounding the pursuit of a creative, productive, and satisfying professional life. Students receive 1.0 unit of academic credit for the academic work that augments their concurrent internship fieldwork. This course is not applicable to the Upper-Division Graduation Requirement. Only 1.0 unit may be assigned to an individual internship and no more than 2.0 units of internship credit, or internship credit in combination with co-operative education credit, may be applied to an undergraduate degree.