Reflecting upon how an existential threat like the current global pandemic that we are experiencing can highlight the strength and weakness of democratic institutions and capitalist economic structures, as well as the tension between capitalism and democracy.

Existential threat like the current global pandemic that we are experiencing

As the coda to the modified course each student will be required to write a long essay (5 to7 pages, double spaced) reflecting upon how an existential threat like the current global pandemic that we are experiencing can highlight the strength and weakness of democratic institutions and capitalist economic structures, as well as the tension between capitalism and democracy.

This will not be a research paper but should be a reflective and exploratory thought piece that should seek to develop an answer to a specific and well-defined question or should to produce a clear and identifiable argument.  The exploration could be theoretical or even philosophical.  The conclusions could be ethical or moral.  Students are encouraged to think about whether the global pandemic would produce the necessity and possibilities for systemic changes in the current structure of global political economy.  

Keeping with the theme of the course the essay should reflect whether any particular existing political-economic system or arrangement is better equipped/positioned to deal with the fall out of the pandemic and thus emerge stronger at the end.

In writing the essay students are prompted to engage with some of the broader themes, topics, and arguments presented throughout the course and to call upon the texts we have discussed.  In addition students must also critically engage with some of the texts that have assembled under the “Political Economy of Pandemic” folder in the content section.  Students are not required to do any additional research for this paper but are certainly free and encouraged to do so.

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