Undergraduate Course: Political Economy and the World of Work (LLLJ07014)
|School||Centre for Open Learning
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 7 (Year 1 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Not available to visiting students
|Summary||THIS IS A FOR-CREDIT ONLY COURSE OFFERED BY THE OFFICE OF LIFELONG LEARNING (OLL); ONLY STUDENTS REGISTERED WITH OLL SHOULD BE ENROLLED.
This course will introduce students to Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations and Karl Marx's Capital, situating the texts in their historical contexts and examining their legacies. In doing so, it aims to introduce key concepts in classical political economy and provide insight into the changing wold of work.
1. An Introduction to Classical Political Economy and its Critique
An examination of medieval feudal arrangements and the rise of a new powerful merchant class, who felt constrained by the old order. The need to develop a new 'science' of politics and economy to challenge the old order.
2. Adam Smith's World
Smith's life and the importance of other Enlightenment thinkers in Scotland and France in developing a new perspective on history and society. An overview of Smith's first book: A Theory of Moral Sentiments.
3. The Wealth of Nations 
Examining the early analytical chapters of The Wealth of Nations, and understanding Smith's key concepts of classification (labour, capital and land) and why he emphasises the role and organisation of labour in his Pin Factory example.
4. The Wealth of Nations 
A look at later chapters of The Wealth of Nations and some of Smith's predictions, including the predicament of the labouring classes, the growing strength of the capitalist class, and the requirement for state intervention in education.
5. Smith's Legacy
How is Smith's work viewed today, and why? Is this image accurate? A review of different perspectives on Smith, including that of Marx. An overview of other notable classical political economists (David Ricardo, Thomas Malthus, and James Mill).
6. Karl Marx's World
Marx's life and the influences on his thinking, including 'English' political economy. An examination of The Communist Manifesto, and how this early work relates to his magnus opus, Capital.
7. Capital 
From commodities to exploitation, we follow a sketch of the argument from chapters 1 to 9 in Capital. How work and struggles over the length of the working day come to play the pivotal role in social development.
8. Capital 
From everyday work to the social fabric of exploitation, we follow the argument of the later chapters in explaining how the worker is exploited even before they reach the factory gates.
9. Marx's Legacy
How is Marx's work viewed today, and why? As with Smith, are popular perceptions accurate? Might we consider that Smith and Marx have more in common than they have differences?
10. Course review
A review of the course and a chance to re-examine key concepts and ideas.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Course Delivery Information
|Not being delivered|
| By the end of the course students will be able to:
Define and explain key concepts in classical political economy;
Describe the different historical contexts in which Smith and Marx worked;
Demonstrate an understanding of the key works of Smith and Marx and their continuing legacies;
Apply this understanding to the changing world of work.
Marx, K., 1990. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy v. 1. London: Penguin Classics.
Smith, A., 1982. The Wealth of Nations: books I-III. London: Penguin Classics.
Hakkonssen, K., ed., 2006. The Cambridge Companion to Adam Smith. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Terrell, C., ed., 1992. The Cambridge Companion to Karl Marx. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
There are a number of works by both Smith and Marx available in free online editions. This includes items such as The Communist Manifesto and sections of A Theory of Moral Sentiments.
Lecture slides will be made available. In addition, several extracts will be provided for use in group work/ reading.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||Skills in reading key historical texts; understanding conceptual frameworks; and critical thinking in relation to texts and arguments.
|Course organiser||Mr Maximillian Jaede
|Course secretary||Ms Kameliya Skerleva
Tel: (0131 6)51 1855