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The Ethics of Economics

How can economics contribute to the prospects of creating a humane and just society? In this course, we will investigate political economy, or the discipline that attempts to join moral philosophy with economic reasoning, asking: What are the moral values that our society should champion, and how can we achieve them given the material, psychological, and other constraints we face? We will read selections from a handful of the most important contributors to political-economic inquiry, including Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Wilhelm Röpke, Friedrich Hayek, and Irving Kristol. Our goals will be not only to understand their contributions, but also to explore the benefits and liabilities—including the moral benefits and liabilities—of a market economy.