SOCS 615
The Origins of Global Capitalism

Erik Grimmer-Solem

Course Description

This course explores how the modern market economy came into being in Europe and why this system expanded outward to bring the rest of the world into its orbit. It seeks to provide answers for why China’s economy—perhaps the most sophisticated in the world before 1600—fell into relative stagnation and why Britain was the first country to develop mechanized industry and break out of a poverty trap that had restricted prosperity for millennia. Likewise, it will explore how once "backward" economies in the 19th century (Germany, the United States and Japan) were able to surge forward rapidly to become industrial leaders in the 20th century. We will begin by studying the profound transformation of Europe’s overwhelmingly rural and agricultural economy into the most dynamic urban industrial region in the world, looking closely at entrepreneurs, technology and changing trading patterns during various phases of this process. Following this, we will consider the economic impact of technological transfer, great power rivalry, war, protectionism and depression, highlighting the complex relationship between economic and political power. We will conclude by discussing reconstruction after the Second World War, the rise of high technology industries, and global economic integration in the late 20th century. The course aims to be accessible, broad, and comparative; we will draw insights from many fields to consider the geographical, cultural, institutional, and political factors shaping the economic changes that have created modern capitalism.
 

Course Requirements

1. Midterm paper of 8-10 pages (50%)

2. Final paper of 8-10 pages (50%)

Both papers will be essay assignments that will allow you to choose from a number of questions treating different aspects of the material covered in the first and second half of the semester, respectively. These essays must demonstrate a critical mastery of the assigned readings and a sound command of the topics discussed in class. It is important that students come to class having completed all of the required reading for each session. Due to the compressed nature of this course and the importance of class discussion in synthesizing the material of the course, regular attendance is crucial.

For your convenience, papers may be submitted to me as e-mail attachments but must arrive in my inbox on or before the day and time outlined on the syllabus. Papers received late will be penalized 1/3 of a grade for each day late (i.e., from A to A-, then A- to B+, etc.). If you do better on one of the exams than on the other, the better of the two will count for more in determining your final grade.

In making references in your papers, please use footnotes following the Chicago notes/bibliography style outlined in the Chicago Manual of Style (14th or15th edition). These citation conventions are usefully summarized in Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 7th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007), chs. 15-16. Papers must be double spaced. Please use a font no smaller than 12 points and provide generous margins (1 ¼ inches minimum).
 

Required Texts

1.) Bernstein, William J. A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2007. ISBN-13: 978-0871139795 (Henceforth "Bernstein").

2.) McCraw, Thomas K., ed. Creating Modern Capitalism. How Entrepreneurs, Companies, and Countries Triumphed in Three Industrial Revolutions. Cambridge, Mass and London: Harvard University Press, 1997. ISBN-13: 978-0674175563 (Henceforth "McCraw, ed.").

3.) Mokyr, Joel. The Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic Progress. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990. ISBN-13: 978-0195074772 (Henceforth "Mokyr").

4.) Pomeranz, Kenneth. The Great Divergence: Europe, China, and the Making of the World Economy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000). ISBN-13: 978-0691090108 (Henceforth "Pomeranz").

5.) A selection of readings available as PDF files from the course Blackboard.

The textbooks will be available for purchase from the University Bookstore, 45 Broad Street, Middletown. Call to assure the texts are in stock: (860) 685-7323. Please note that the Blackboard readings may also be purchased as a course packet from PIP Printing, 179 Main Street, Middletown. This packet will only be made upon request. Call PIP to place an order: (860) 344-9001. Please be sure to bring the relevant texts to class.
 

Course Schedule

Th, Sept. 11: No class.

Th, Sept. 18: The Medieval Origins of the Early Modern Economy

     Bernstein, pp. 110-151.

     Mokyr, pp. 3-16, 31-56.

Th, Sept. 25: Daily Bread—Agriculture before the Dawn of Industry

     Braudel, Civilization and Capitalism, vol. 1, pp. 104-182 (Blackboard).

Th, Oct 2: Early Modern Technology and Trade

     Bernstein, pp. 152-213.

     Mokyr, pp. 57-80.

Th, Oct. 9: States and Markets

     Bernstein, pp. 214-240.

     Braudel, Civilization and Capitalism, vol. 2, pp. 25-137, 514-553, 581-599
     (Blackboard).

     Pomeranz, pp. 166-207.

Th, Oct. 16: The Industrial Path— Why Europe and not China?

     Bernstein, pp. 241-279.

     Mokyr, pp. 151-92, 209-38.

     Pomeranz, pp. 211-97.

     Midterm exam will be handed out.

Th, Oct. 23: The Industrial Revolution in Britain and the Expansion of Global Trade

     Bernstein, 280-315.

     Braudel, Civilization and Capitalism, vol. 3, pp. 536-609 (Blackboard).

     McCraw, ed., pp. 19-50, 51-67.

     Mokyr, pp. 81-112.

Fri, Oct. 24: Midterm exam due 6:30 pm.

Th, Oct. 30: Germany, the United States and the Second Industrial Revolution

     Bernstein, pp. 316-337.

     Chandler, Scale and Scope, pp.1-46 (Blackboard).

     McCraw, pp. 67-85, 133-152, 185-263, 264-339.

     Mokyr, pp. 113-48.

Th, Nov. 6: The Great War, the Depression and the Collapse of Global Trade

     Bernstein, pp. 338-352.

     Garraty, The Great Depression, pp. 182-257 (Blackboard).

     McNeill, The Pursuit of Power, pp. 262-345 (Blackboard).

Th, Nov. 13: The Second World War and the Postwar Economic Order

     Bernstein, pp. 352-365.

     Findlay and O’Rourke, Power and Plenty, pp. 473-496 (Blackboard).

     McCraw, pp. 96-129,

     McNeill, The Pursuit of Power, 345-361 (Blackboard).

Th, Nov. 20: Japan and the Third Industrial Revolution

     McCraw, pp. 351-393, 398-489.

     Final paper assignment will be handed out.

Th, Nov. 27: No class. Thanksgiving recess.

Th, Dec 4: Reglobalization

     Bernstein, pp. 366-385.

     Findlay and O’Rourke, Power and Plenty, pp. 496-546 (Blackboard).

F, Dec 12. Final paper due 6:30 pm.
 

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