Money, Finance and Power
NEW! Last Updated: 05/18/2009
Faculty: Tom Womeldorff Economics
Major areas of study include macroeconomics, money and banking, political economy of finance, economic history.
Class Standing: This all-level program accepts up to 25% freshmen as well as supporting and encouraging those ready for advanced work.
The holding of cash, stocks, bonds, and other financial assets is an act of faith; faith that the assets will hold their value into the future when they can be converted into consumption. Throughout history, the ephemeral nature of value has been forgotten during periods of low inflation and financial stability. Yet repeatedly, these periods have ended. Asset values dissolve instantaneously like a car wreck or like a chronic disease, slowly and inexorably. This affects "Main Street," not just "Wall Street."
In this program, we will examine the nature of money, finance, monetary policy and power in the world market system. We will focus on historical moments of financial volatility, hyper-inflation and collapsing speculative bubbles. This will aid us to understand our current financial woes evident in the sub-prime mortgage crisis and stock market crash. We will consider what government's roles should be in regulating financial sectors. As we explore these issues, we will be conscious of how the structure of our financial system differentially impacts the poor, the working class, and the holders of financial instruments (e.g., the rich and retirement fund owners).
The program will consist of three parts. Lecture and workshop will focus on introduction to macroeconomics and quantitative methods. Seminar readings will focus on mainstream, institutionalist and political economy interpretations of historical and current financial crises. Finally, each student will complete a research project related to money, finance and power.
Credits: 16 per quarter
Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in economics, political economy, business, public policy and social science in general.