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IR255: Understanding the Post-Crisis World: Money, Knowledge, and Power in the Global Economy

Session: Two
Prerequisites: at least one introductory course in either social science (e.g. political science, international relations, sociology, economics), history or law,or any other cognate subject in the Arts or Humanities.

Dr Jeffrey Chwieroth
Professor Ken Shadlen

Since 2007, the global financial system has faced the most serious crisis since the 1930s. Central bankers and governments have unleashed an extraordinary monetary and fiscal stimulus that saved the financial system from collapse, but also pushed government budget deficits and debt profiles to the brink. Many governments, most notably those in the Eurozone, now find themselves in the throes of a sovereign debt crisis. Concerns about debt sustainability also extend to Britain and the United States, where recent downgrades from credit rating agencies reflect uncertainty about the willingness and ability of politicians to manage fiscal consolidation and the need for growth. The politicization of policymaking further complicates matters. We have seen a government shutdown in the United States, strains from austerity in Greece, Italy and Spain, and more and more signs of bailout fatigue in Germany and Finland. 

The challenges are not limited to developed countries but affect developing countries too. Indeed, developing countries have long struggled with overwhelming levels of external debt and with more recent changes to international frameworks for debt restructuring. Broader changes in the global economy also present complex challenges for development. Developing countries now face new international rules on intellectual property, for example, which has important implications for the use of knowledge, technology and information. Lastly, developing countries essentially face a choice between tying themselves to multilateral rules and organizations, and tying themselves to bilateral and regional arrangements, with each option presenting distinct benefits and challenges for development policy.

This course provides a critical and extensive examination of these developments. We cover a range of the most pressing contemporary issues in a post-crisis world, including:

  •   Causes and consequences of the global financial crisis and resulting Great
  •  “Currency wars” and reform of the international monetary system
  •   Central banking
  •   The Eurozone crisis
  •   Sovereign wealth funds
  •   The politics of international debt restructuring
  •   The globalization of intellectual property rights (IPRs)
  •   IPRs, Access to Knowledge, and Development
  •   Regional Integration and Bilateral Trade Agreements

Raghuram G. Rajan. (2011). Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy.   Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Kevin P. Gallagher. (2013). The Clash of Globalizations: Essays on the Political Economy of Trade and Development Policy. New York: Anthem Press.

Lectures: 36 hours  Classes: 12 hours
Assessment: Two written examinations