Skip to Gallatin Navigation Skip to Gallatin Main Content

First-Year Interdisciplinary Seminar: Capitalism and Democracy

Semester and Year FA 2017
Course Number FIRST-UG42
Section 001
Instructor Kimberly Phillips-Fein
Days MW
Time 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Units 4
Level U


Open to Gallatin first-year students only.


For many political and economic thinkers, the free market and the private economy are the fundamental building blocks of democratic political systems. Yet activist movements of the past twenty years have been increasingly critical of the ways in which private corporations and the inequality of wealth negatively affect our democracy. This seminar will evaluate different theories of capitalism and consider the ways that thinking about capitalism has changed over time. Is economic inequality a threat to democratic institutions? How does our political system cope—or fail to cope—with large concentrations of private power and wealth? What does it mean to think about economic life from different disciplinary perspectives? Possible readings may include Adam Smith, Max Weber, Nancy Folbre, and Michelle Alexander's  The New Jim Crow .


All Syllabi

Course Type

First-Year Program: Interdisciplinary Seminars (FIRST-UG)