Course level: Undergraduate
American University of Paris
Over the past decades under the neoliberal zeitgeist, the reliance on markets has expanded to a host of new spheres, such as CO2 emissions or education, often in tandem with the privatization of public services and goods. At the same time, the idea of “the commons” has reappeared in relation to values such as biodiversity, the Earth’s climate, or human knowledge (Wikipedia, open access). What are the justifications and implications of using markets, and what kind of arrangements are necessary to establish and protect the commons?
In this course, students will study some of the major contributions to this debate: foundational texts of (neo-)liberal economics that aim to legitimize market mechanisms; philosophical treatments and critiques of key concepts such as rationality and motivation, property and common goods; political analyses of how allocative institutions – markets, governments, and cooperative alternatives – produce distributional outcomes.