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Finance for Social Theorists

Semester and Year SP 2014
Course Number IDSEM-UG1527
Section 001
Instructor Peter Rajsingh
Days Mon
Time 7:45 PM - 10:15 PM
Units 4.0
Level U
Foundation Requirement SOC


Why are some private, profit-making institutions “too big to fail?” The objective of this course is to provide students with conceptual, interpretive and analytical tools to understand finance. The approach is interdisciplinary and interpretive, drawing upon political theory, economics, psychology, basic statistics and accounting. For example, we use the subprime crisis to explore core concepts associated with credit, banking, business ethics, monetary policy and macro economics. We reference key ideas from familiar texts and also take up contemporary debates in finance. The aim is to help students become more literate and numerate as economic and social agents. Readings include Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations  (excerpts); John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy  (excerpts); Georg Simmel, The Philosophy of Money ; Peter Bernstein, Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk ; Mohammed El-Erian, When Markets Collide ; and Nassim Taleb, Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in the Markets and in Life. 

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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