This course will examine six themes and theories in classical political economy—and put them into contemporary perspective. The course will explore issues such as: the nature and purpose of government, inequality, the relationship between government and the economy, the ways in which individuals interact with government and vice-versa, industrialization, liberalism, and bureaucracy. Each week will consist of a lecture based on original theorists (such as Rousseau or Smith), followed by a discussion that places these theories in conversation with contemporary and current events.
Alan Karras is Associate Director of International and Area Studies; he has taught at Berkeley for nearly 25 years, and has been honored both locally and nationally for his teaching and service. A former chair of the College Board’s AP World History committee, and the author of several books and articles on subjects as diverse as migration, transnational crime (including smuggling and piracy), he is also an author of one of the leading World History textbooks. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA/MA from The Johns Hopkins University, where he decided not to become that kind of a doctor.