Globalization, Technology & the Rise of Populism
Professor: Douglas Nelson
Office: Tilton 108 (Murphy Institute), Phone: 865-5317
Office Hours: Tuesday and Wednesday, 3:30-5:30
In addition to the recent end of the First World War and the Irish war of independence, Yeats was particularly moved by the 1918 flu pandemic (which infected and almost killed his wife). This seems a fitting recognition of our current circumstances, but also (a major theme of the readings this term) of the fact that we (humanity) have seen this before.
It may be hard to remember, given the current pandemic, that before the emergence of COVID-19 as the most important issue in all of our lives, globalization and technological change seemed to be the most important issues facing the nations of the world. These were clearly related, somehow, to the emergence of anti-global populism in virtually all of the countries of the economic core of the world economy (and many of the most significant developing countries–e.g. India and Brazil). Establishment political parties on the right and left took up the issues of globalization and technological change as major issues, but often found themselves out-maneuvered by parties of the radical right (and in some, mostly developing countries, of the radical left). These issues have not gone away. There is still a widely held opinion that some combination of globalization and technological change have rendered democratic, capitalist politics impossible. In this seminar we will discuss research bearing on the validity of such claims.
Capstone courses. This course is a senior seminar for the Murphy Institute. 1) Prerequisites. In addition to the exposure to a broad range of perspectives in the Murphy core courses, I will presume familiarity with microeconomics at the intermediate level (i.e. Economics 3010) and a level of familiarity (and comfort) with formal and statistical analysis at the same level. 2) Participation. This course will be run as a seminar which means attendance and active participation are mandatory.
Readings: This is a seminar. There will be a lot of reading. I will expect all members of the seminar to have read, and be prepared to discuss, all the assigned readings before the date on which we discuss them. The analytical comments (see below) are an aid to this. The main texts for the course will be:
- Richard Baldwin (2016). The Great Convergence: Information, Technology and the New Globalization. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. [Baldwin]
- Carl Benedikt Frey (2019). The Technology Trap: Capital, Labor, and Power in the Age of Automation. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. [Frey]
- Barry Eichengreen (2018). The Populist Temptation: Economic Grievance and Political Reaction in the Modern Era. New York: Oxford University Press. [Eichengreen]
- Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart (2018). Cultural Backlash: Trump, Brexit, and the Rise of Authoritarian-Populism. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. [Norris/Inglehart]
- Carles Boix (2019). Democratic Capitalism at the Crossroads: Technological Change and the Future of Politics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. [Boix]
- Torben Iversen and David Soskice (2019). Democracy and Prosperity: The Reinvention of Capitalism in a Tubulent Century. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. [Iversen/Soskice]
Evaluation: Your performance in this course will be evaluated on the basis of 12 analytical comments (worth 100 points total) and 1 research paper (worth 100 points). To receive an A, you must earn at least 90 percent of the points available. To pass the course you must earn at least 60 percent of the points available.
Policy on analytical comments. Every member of the seminar must submit an analytical comment each week. The analytical comments are written assignments consisting of two parts: a comment on the assigned reading for the week (7 of 10 points); and 5 questions raised by the assigned reading for the week (3 of 10 points). The comment should be about 3 double-spaced pages long, with the questions appended on a separate page. Do not waste time summarizing the reading. The goal is to identify some aspect of the reading that strikes you as particularly interesting and to explain why you find it interesting. The questions should identify things you would like to see discussed in class. The comments are due on, or before, 6pm of the day before the class in which the material is discussed. Late comments will not be accepted. The papers should be emailed to me as a pdf file, that way I can easily mark and return your papers.
Research papers. Every member of the class is required to produce a research paper on some aspect of the relationship between current economic change and political change. I expect papers in the 20 page range [if you have picked a topic that can be effectively exhausted in 10 pages, you have picked too narrow a topic; if you need 50 pages to do the job, not narrow enough]. I expect these papers to be analytical and positive. That is, while I presume that you will pick a topic about which you have normative commitments, those commitments will have no effect on your grade (thus, space spent discussing those commitments should not be seen as contributing to your 20 page limit). As a “research paper”, I expect to see substantial reading beyond what we do in class.
To ensure that topics are well-established and suitable for the course, I require a proposal due no later than 19 September. Late proposals will result in a 10 point penalty to be assessed on the paper’s final score. If you change your paper topic without my approval, 20 points will be deducted from your final mark. Papers are due at the last regular meeting of the course (5 December). Late papers will not be accepted, and will earn a score of 0 points. The papers should be emailed to me as a pdf file.
These papers must be original work, plagiarism will not be tolerated. This includes: unattributed appropriation of someone else’s work; and excessive use (whether or not attributed) of a secondary source [including, in particular, any of the above survey articles.] If you are unclear as to what constitutes plagiarism, consult the Tulane University Honor Code on plagiarism.
Tulane Honor Code: All students are responsible for knowing and adhering to Tulane University’s Honor Code, available at http://tulane.edu/college/code.cfm.
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As such, Tulane is committed to providing an environment free of all forms of discrimination including sexual and gender-based discrimination, harassment, and violence like sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and stalking. If you (or someone you know) has experienced or is experiencing these types of behaviors, know that you are not alone. Resources and support are available: you can learn more at allin.tulane.edu. Any and all of your communications on these matters will be treated as either “Confidential” or “Private” as explained in the chart below. Please know that if you choose to confide in me I am mandated by the university to report to the Title IX Coordinator, as Tulane and I want to be sure you are connected with all the support the university can offer. You do not need to respond to outreach from the university if you do not want. You can also make a report yourself, including an anonymous report, through the form at tulane.edu/concerns.
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Per Tulane’s religious accommodation policy (with hyperlink), I will make every reasonable effort to ensure that students are able to observe religious holidays without jeopardizing their ability to fulfill their academic obligations. Excused absences do not relieve the student from the responsibility for any course work required during the period of absence. Students should notify me within the first two weeks of the semester about their intent to observe any holidays that fall on a class day or on the day of the final exam.
I am aware that Tulane students are able to read a standard university syllabus and determine the content of the course and its relation to the major and the individual student’s course of study. However, the administration of Tulane University, along with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS–which “accredits” primary and secondary schools as well as all varieties of 2 and 4 year undergraduate programs [with very little in the way of adjustment in rubrics, metrics, etc.]), has determined that you require additional information. I collect this material in a separate section so that you can refer to it, or discard it, as you consider appropriate.
STUDENT OBJECTIVES/OUTCOMES: By the end of the course, the student should be able to think, speak, and write fluently and competently about the ideas and issues covered in the course (as reflected in the course description and the syllabus). The student should have a solid understanding of the social, political, economic, and philosophical significance of ideas and concepts in the analysis of social networks and they should be familiar with major ideas and theories regarding explanations, interpretations, applications, and criticisms of work on social networks. The student should be able to formulate critical views concerning these issues and respond fluently and competently to questions concerning these views.
1. Students will be able to identify and recognize major themes, ideas, and concepts.
2. Students will analyze, interpret, and discuss these ideas in a scholarly and coherent manner.
3. Students will construct, formulate, and develop creative and critical scholarly assessments.
4. Students will appraise, evaluate, and appreciate the values and consequences of these ideas.
Topic I. Intro: Two Views of the Beast
- Dani Rodrik (2018). “Populism and the Economics of Globalization”. Journal of International Business Policy, V.1-#1/2, pp. 12-33. [Canvas]
- Bernard Hoekman & Douglas Nelson (2018). “Reflecting on Populism and the Economics of Globalization”. Journal of International Business Policy, V.1-#1/2, pp. 34-43. [Canvas]
- Iversen and Soskice, Chapter 1
Topic II. Globalization & Technological Change
27 August: Historical Background to Globalization & Technological Change
- Baldwin, Chapter 1.
- Frey, Part I.
3 September: First Unbundling and the Industrial Revolution
- Daron Acemoglu & Pascual Restrepo (2019). “Automation and New Tasks: How Technology Displaces and Reinstates Labor.” Journal of Economic Perspectives, V.33-#2, read only 3-13.
- Baldwin, Chapter 2.
- Frey, Part II
10 September: Political Response to the Industrial Revolution
- Iversen and Soskice, Chapter 2
- Frey, Part III
- Boix, Chapter 2 & 3
17 September: End of the Golden Age
- Frey: Chapters 9 & 10
- Iversen & Soskice: Chapter 3
24 September: Technological Change & the Second Unbundling
- Baldwin: Chapters 3-5
- Frey: Part V
- Daron Acemoglu & Pascual Restrepo (2019). “Automation and New Tasks: How Technology Displaces and Reinstates Labor.” Journal of Economic Perspectives, V.33-#2, read only 14-27.
1 October: Political Economy of the New Economy
- Baldwin: Part III
- Iversen & Soskice: Chapter 4
- Boix: Chapter 4
Topic III. Populism, Nationalism and the New Politics
8 October: Defintions et cetera
- Eichengreen: Chapter 1
- Norris/Inglehart Part I
15 October: Historical Background
- Eichengreen Chapters 2-8
22 October: Things Fall Apart, The Centre Cannot Hold
- Boix, Chapter 5
- Iversen & Soskice, Chapter 5
- Frey, Chapter 11
29 October: Values and Votes
- Norris/Inglehart, Chapters 4-9
5 November: Donald Trump and American Populism
- Norris/Inglehart: Chapter 10
- Eichengreen: Chapter 9
12 November: European Populism
- Norris/Inglehart: Chapter 11
- Eichengreen: Chapter 10
19 November: Where are we going, what can we do about it?
- Norris/Inglehart: Chapter 12 & 13
- Eichengreen: Chapters 11-13
Topic V. Additional Readings
If we make great speed through the above, or if you are looking for additional readings, we might consider one or another of the following.
● Enrico Moretti (2012). The New Geography of Jobs. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
● Adam Tooze (2018). Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World. New York: Viking.
● Kimberly Clausing (2019). Open: The Progressive Case for Free Trade, Immigration, and Global Capital. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
● Richard Baldwin (2019). The Globotics Upheaval: Globalization, Robotics, and the Future of Work. New York: Oxford University Press. [Baldwin Globotics]
● William Galston (2018). Anti-Pluralism: The Populist Threat to Liberal Democracy. New Haven: Yale University Press.
● Roger Eatwell and Matthew J. Goodwin (2018). National Populism: The Revolt against Liberal Democracy. London: Pelican Books.
● Kevin O’Rourke (2019). A Short History of Brexit: From Brentry to Backstop. London: Pelican.
● Morris P. Fiorina (2017). Unstable Majorities: Polarization, Party Sorting, and Political Stalemate. Stanford, California: Hoover Institution Press, Stanford University.
● Alan Abramowitz (2018). The Great Alignment: Race, Party Transformation, and the Rise of Donald Trump. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
● John Sides, Michael Tesler and Lynn Vavreck (2018). Identity Crisis: The 2016 Presidential Campaign and the Battle for the Meaning of America. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
● Marisa Abrajano and Zoltan Hajnal (2015). White Backlash: Immigration, Race, and American Politics. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
● Robert Wuthnow (2018). The Left Behind: Decline and Rage in Rural America. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
● Sasha Polakow-Suransky (2017). Go Back to Where You Came From: The Backlash against Immigration and the Fate of Western Democracy. New York: Nation Books.