ECON 354 Perspectives on Economic Theory (Not offered 1999-2000)

This course is intended to put into perspective the basic economic theory taught in the department's required theory courses-Economics 251 and 252-by looking at the work of modern economists who are critical of the shortcomings of conventional theory and are trying to identify and, if they can, to overcome them. The concerns of some of these mainstream economists are remarkably similar to those of more radical critics of economic theory and of students first reading economic theory. Each year the course focuses on a set of issues of concern to such authors (and the instructor). These have included: famine as a case in which markets work too well, the role of imperfect information in the functioning of markets, a feminist critique of Economics 251, rationality as a cornerstone of economic theory, positivist science as the economist's intellectual role model, moral behavior as product or precondition of market behavior, deception and honesty in markets, the casual treatment of time in conventional theory, discounting the future, conflicting and inconsistent preferences. Seminar discussion, not lectures, will be the method of the class. Prerequisites: Economics 251 and 252. Enrollment limited to 20. This course satisfies the Economics Department's alternative paradigms requirement.