|AUBURN UNIVERSITY||SUMMER 1997
|POLITICAL SCIENCE||DR P.JOHNSON|
Course overview: This course has two basic objectives: (1) to give the student an overview of how the American political economy works, and (2) to introduce the student to some key theories and analytical tools of the disciplines of economics and political science that can also be used to study other issues or other national political economies. We identify and analyze basic institutions and processes of the American political economy, showing how some of our more important economic and political institutions work and how they influence each other. Specifically, we discuss the role of private property rights and the price system in a free market economy and the radically different ways in which markets and governments decide how to produce and distribute goods and services. We outline the main ways in which various institutions of American government influence people's economic behavior through available instruments of economic policy, and we look at how such policies are fought over, decided on and implemented. We also give attention to how well or how poorly the actual consequences of government economic policies tend to match the policy-makers' original intentions and to how significant unintended consequences of policy often turn out to be. Because economic resources can be used to seek political power and influence, and because political influence is often used to acquire or protect economic advantages, the analysis of political behavior is also highly relevant to investigating whether capitalist economic institutions and liberal democratic political institutions are mutually compatible or fundamentally antagonistic in the long run. In what ways do American economic institutions and practices support and/or undermine political freedom and democracy? In what ways do the institutions and practices of American politics support and/or undermine the efficient functioning of a basically market economy?
Course requirements and grading policies: All students enrolled for credit are expected to attend class regularly and to complete reading and homework assignments in a timely fashion. Attendance will be recorded at most class meetings by passing around a sign-in sheet. Students are required to complete several homework exercises during the summer quarter (about 2-3 hours work) in lieu of the usual computer lab exercises that are unavailable during the summer. There will be two in-class midterm examinations and a final examination (see course schedule below for tentative dates). The final examination is "comprehensive" -- that is, it covers lecture and reading materials for the entire quarter, not just the last unit following the second midterm. Course grades are based on the higher of each student's two weighted averages, computed as follows:
Office hours: Dr. Johnson is normally available for brief conversations in the classroom or hallway for a few minutes after each class meeting. He is also usually available for conversation or consultation in the lounge area near "Take-Ten" in the basement of Haley Center from about 8:00 to 9:00 on non-class mornings (MWF). Official drop-in office hours will be Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in 7068 Haley Center. Students unable to use these times may arrange an appointment with Dr. Johnson for any mutually convenient time. Please do not drop in on or phone the instructor during the hour just before class meetings.
Textbooks: All three required textbooks should be on sale in the textbook section of Auburn University Bookstore on floor one of Haley Center as well as in other campus area bookstores. They are:
The schedule of lecture topics and the corresponding reading assignments are listed below. Students should be aware that lectures do not repeat all the main points of the readings but rather build upon and add to them. There is important material in the readings that may be only lightly touched on in class or omitted entirely from lectures if time is pressing. There is important material in lectures that is not covered at all in the readings. To do well on exams, it will be important that you both carefully read the assignments and attend the lectures. Best results are likely to be achieved if you read most of each unit's assignment before the first lecture of the unit, so that you will understand the instructor's referring in passing to ideas explained in detail by the readings.
The (J) textbook contains a lengthy and extensively cross-referenced "Glossary of Political Economy Terms" by the instructor in the very back of the book that can be very useful to you for looking up precise definitions and explanations of specialized political economy terms and concepts that you will encounter in the readings or lectures. An even more extensively cross-referenced hypertext edition of this glossary is also available via the Internet from the instructor's web page. Use Netscape, Internet Explorer, Lynx or the web-browsing software of your choice to connect up at this URL: http://www.auburn.edu/~johnspm. (Other political economy relevant WWW links are also available via the political science department's web page at http://www.auburn.edu/~polisci.) Form a habit of checking the glossary for definitions and explanations of all key terms in lectures or readings. If an unfamiliar term is not explained there or in the other readings, make a written note of it and give it to Professor Johnson so it can be explained in class (and perhaps added to the next edition of the Glossary). The reading assignments below specify especially important terms to look up, but all material contained in the Glossary is fair game for coverage on the final exam, whether specifically assigned below or not.
Final exam period for the 9-10:30 class will be Saturday, August 23rd, from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m. The exam for the 11:00-12:30 class will be Tuesday, August 26th from 1:30-4:00 p.m.
The odd 1 1/2 hour scheduling of this course can create time conflicts over final exam scheduling with other courses students may be taking. Carefully check and compare the announced final exam times for this course and all your other courses.
Students who foresee a time conflict between the final exam for this class and the exam for some other class should notify the instructor of the potential conflict in writing no later than the date of the first midterm exam so that plans can be made for any necessary make-up final exam period. Please do not ask to take the final exam before the final exam period. This would be contrary to general university policy and the personal policy of the instructor -- non-cancellable airline reservations and impending wedding ceremonies, not withstanding. Students who cannot take the final exam at the regular exam time or at any scheduled exam period make-up time that may be announced and who also present documentation of an acceptable excuse for this (such as personal illness, death or serious illness in the immediate family) may receive a temporary course grade of "X" or "XF," which university regulations require must be cleared by the student taking a make-up examination before the end of the first week of the student's next quarter of registration at AU.