Arts and Sciences (BASc)


Rethinking Capitalism

Module Leader: Dr Joshua Ryan-Collins
Module code: BASC0037
Taught: Term 2
Lecture: Tuesday, 4-6pm
Seminars*: Level 6: 12-1pm on Thursday or 1-2pm on Thursday or 11am-12pm on Friday or 12-1pm on Friday
Level 7: 10am-11am on Thursday or 11am-12pm on Thursday
Module level: Level 6 or Level 7 (open to Masters students only)
Credit value: 15 credits
Prerequisites: See below
* Students are automatically allocated to a seminar class, so it is not possible to pick one. Students will only be permitted to change class if they have a clash with another class.

Western Capitalism is in crisis, with falling productivity, investment and living standards, widening inequality, financial instability and the growing threat of climate change. This module will provide students with a critical perspective on these challenges, with the goal of introducing students to the link between alternative theoretical frameworks in economics and alternative policy prescriptions. The module will be based on the textbook “Rethinking Capitalism”, edited by Mariana Mazzucato and Michael Jacobs and will feature guest lectures from the chapter authors who are global experts in their respective fields, combined with presentations by global policy makers (including in the UK government) working at the frontline of the following issues:

  • The role of the state in economic growth, investment and productivity
  • The economics of innovation and technological change
  • Fiscal policy
  • Money and monetary policy
  • Financialisation and financial instability
  • The economics of land and housing
  • Economic inequality
  • ‘Public value’ and evaluating public policy
  • Climate change and resource sustainability
  • Complexity and the economy

The module will help students develop their critical thinking in general and help them make the connections between theoretical problems and real world policy issues. It will provide an introduction to a range of different economics perspectives, including Neoclassical, post-Keynesian, ecological, evolutionary, Marxist and institutional economics theories and how their different assumptions link to different public policies.


Formal training in economics is not a prerequisite for this course. However, having a background in economics, political economy or a related social science with economics content will be advantageous. If you do not possess such a background, but do wish to take the course, you are expected to engage in some study to bring yourself up to an appropriate level prior to the course commencing.  Specifically you should read:

  • Joon-Chang, H. J. (2014) Economics: A users guide, Pelican: London
  • Jacobs, Michael, and Mariana Mazzucato, eds. Rethinking capitalism: economics and policy for sustainable and inclusive growth. John Wiley & Sons, 2016, chapter 1

Finally, please also watch the videos (roughly 12 hours) for the following online Coursera course (all free to download): https://www.coursera.org/learn/intro-economic-theories

Assessment (Level 6)

  1. 2,000 word essay - 70%
  2. 1,000 word blog - 30%

Assessment (Level 7)

  1. 2,500 word essay - 70%
  2. 2 x 800 word blogs - 30%

Students enrolled on the module can view more information on Moodle.

You can view lectures from the module in 2018/19 here.

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