UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


IGP Module: Pathways to Prosperity - Global Legacies

Pathways to Prosperity: Global Legacies

Module Code: BENVGGP1

Value:  15 credits

Module Leader: Dr Konrad Miciukiewicz

Academic year: 2018/19

Term 1

Tuesdays 10 am – 12 noon

Thursdays 1-2pm and 4-6pm

Teaching structure:  

10 hours of lectures

2 hours of fieldwork

18 hours of seminars



1 x Group presentation (10-15 minutes) – 20%

1 x Blog post of 500 words – 20%

1 x Essay of 2,000 words – 60%


Availability & prerequisites

This is a core module on the MSc Global Prosperity programme. It is also available to all UCL postgraduate students. There are no specific pre-requisites.


Module content:

The dominant economic cultures of the 20th century, which continue to shape our lives, have produced both immense material wealth and deep social and ecological dilemmas. This module looks at the ways in which today’s grand challenges – including climate change, (youth) unemployment and inequalities of income and wealth, just to mention a few – are entrenched in ideas, assumptions and institutional configurations of these economic cultures. How did the uneven cultures develop? What role did ‘development’ play in exporting them to the Global South? What role did they play in the recent global economic and fiscal crises? And how are they responsible for the deep existential crisis of Western democracies that followed?

The module is designed to shed light on these questions through core lectures, interactive seminars and essential scholarly readings. Students will be challenged to think critically about both the successes and pitfalls of 20th century economic, cultural and social practices while creatively considering how they might be productively reconfigured to suit new ecological, social, political and economic realities, in the context of humanity’s search for sustainable global prosperity.


Illustrative module outline:

  1. Visions of sustainable global prosperity

  2. In the shadow of growth I: local and global inequalities
  3. ‘Rethinking welfare state’ debate
  4. Development in question: a history of a flawed model.
  5. Student presentations: inequalities in income, education, health, access to housing, water…
  6. In the shadow of growth II: the Anthropocene
  7. Consumerist cultures and sustainability
  8. (Un)sustainable mobility
  9. The global food production system.
  10. ‘Rethinking economy’ game.

Indicative reading:

Atkinson A.B. (2015) Inequality: What Can Be Done? Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress (France), Joseph E. Stiglitz, Amartya Sen, and Jean-Paul Fitoussi, eds. Mismeasuring Our Lives: Why GDP Doesn’t Add Up. New York: New Press, 2010.

Crutzen P.J. (2002) Geology of mankind – The Anthropocene, Nature 415: 23.

Escobar A. (2012) Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.

Graham S. (2000). Constructing premium network spaces: reflections on infrastructure networks and contemporary urban development, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 24(1): 183–200.

Jackson T. (2016) Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet (revised edition). London: Routledge.

Moore H.L. (2015) Global Prosperity and Sustainable Development Goals: Global Prosperity and SDGs, Journal of International Development 27(6): 801-15.

Piketty T. (2014) Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Raworth K. (2012) A Safe and Just Space for Humanity: Can We Live within the Doughnut,  Oxfam Policy and Practice: Climate Change and Resilience 8(1): 1–26.

Sachs J. (2015) The Age of Sustainable Development. New York: Columbia University Press.

Social Prosperity Network (2017) Social prosperity for the future: A proposal for Universal Basic Services. London: Institute for Global Prosperity. Available at: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/bartlett/igp/sites/bartlett/files/universal_basic_services_-_the_institute_for_global_prosperity_.pdf

Stiglitz J. E. (2012) The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.

Stuart T. (2009) Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal. London: Penguin.