Political Economy from Great Recession to Pandemic (Spring 2021)
We consider contemporary comparative political economy and macroeconomics of advanced industrial economies through the lens of the past decade and a half, bookended by the long recession kicked off by speculative bubbles and financial crisis, and the sharp, still evolving recession created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the period, massive technological change and widening inequality renewed debate on the appropriate role of government in managing the business cycle and addressing systemic disparities. In the shadow of a once-in-a-century public health crisis, the rich economies of the US and Europe face deep questions about the future of work in an era of automation, globalism in a time of xenophobia, and democracy under the rise of populism. We tackle three key questions through discussion of a mixture of popular and academic readings: What happened during the Great Recession, what political economic changes followed in its wake, and how will the pandemic shift these trends?
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