Faculty of Arts


Capitalism and its Critics


Capitalism is the dominant economic system of our time. Its supporters praise what they see as its productiveness, freedom and justice. Its critics think capitalism causes inequality and exploitation and corrupts social life.

In this course, we ask: Do consumers call the shots in capitalist markets or are they manipulated, or locked into battles for status? Does having more stuff make people happier? Do we work too hard in meaningless jobs? Who is exploited in modern capitalist states? Is capitalism’s inequality a price worth paying for efficiency or is it too unfair, too divisive?

"Capitalism and its Critics" sets out how capitalist markets work and then considers these and other questions and various reform proposals under the broad headings of consumption, work, social relations and justice.

This is a political theory paper that also draws on philosophy, economics and social psychology.

Availability 2020

Not offered in 2020; planned for 2021


Lecturer(s) Associate Professor Martin Wilkinson


POLITICS 316: 15.0 points


30 points at Stage II in Political Studies or Politics and International Relations, or 15 points at Stage II in Political Studies or Politics and International Relations and 15 points at Stage II in Philosophy, or POLITICS 106 and 30 points at Stage II in International Relations and Business

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