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333.spring_2008_Syllabus - ILRIC 333 Gov 330 Spring 2008...

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ILRIC 333, Gov 330, Spring 2008 Lowell Turner, lrt4 T.A.s: Kate Edwards, kse24 Office hours: 373 Ives Alex Feltham , ajf36, Tarak Shah , tns4 Tuesday, 2:00–3:30 p.m. Administrative Assistant: Vicki Errante, ve25 POLITICS OF THE GLOBAL NORTH Europe, the U.S. and Japan in a Changing World Economy The three most prosperous areas of the world economy are Europe, North America and East Asia. The expansion of the European Union has raised serious internal challenges while pushing alternative perspectives into global debates. In North America, a strong United States plays the leading role in world affairs yet is weakened by international opposition as well as domestic problems such as growing inequality and massive debt (budget and trade deficits, consumer debt). In the 1970s and 1980s, the competitiveness of Japanese firms on world markets forced U.S. and European firms to reorganize production (and Toyota, for example, is increasingly dominant in American markets), yet the Japanese economy stalled in the 1990s after the collapse of a speculative bubble. While American, European and Japanese multinational corporations continue to dominate the global economy, the emergence of other East Asian economies – first the “tigers” such as South Korea and Taiwan and now China – has changed the landscape of world affairs. In the meantime, widespread poverty and weak economic development in much of the global South persist. In trade negotiations, countries such as Brazil, India and China have challenged the dominance of what once was the “Washington consensus.” The ruling economic policies of the G7 – the rich countries of the North – are increasingly contested at home and abroad. In this course, we consider issues such as those raised above, in the context of wide-ranging, high- stakes global debates. To understand the politics of the global North, we look at distinctive types of economic and political organization in Europe, the U.S. and Japan and the capacities of these societies to meet current economic, political and social challenges, domestic and international. The emphasis is on institutions, politics and debates in the post-cold war period (1990-2008) and above all on today: issues in the news, how we understand these issues, what they tell us about the changing world in which we live. We will look, for example, at the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, the rise of global protest movements (labor, environmental, human rights, debt relief), the politics of the climate crisis, and the challenges to American economic and political power. Two themes thus define the course: global economic debates and varieties of capitalism. Ranging in focus from world politics to national debates to the workplace, we also emphasize the role of labor: the effects of a changing world economy on workers and unions as well as labor’s responses to the new challenges. The labor focus is important in its own right, showing us the impact of globalization on
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