Fundamentals of Political Economy

General Course Information

Course Lecturer Name(s):  Gregory Renwick BBA, MA, LLB (Hons)

Course Director Name: Gregory Renwick

Course Lecturer(s) Contact Information:  439- 2000/4433395, 4147500

Course Director Contact Information: 439-2000 ext 3361

Course Lecturer(s) Office Hours:  OPEN 

Course Director Office Hours: Open

Course Lecturer(s) Office Location:  Balisier Building

Course Director Office Location:  N/A

Course Support: Nikisha Thomas, Nichole Philip

Course Management tool: To learn to use Sakai, the Course management tool, access the link

Course Curriculum Information

Course Description: 

Political Economy has been defined as a social science dealing with political policies and economic processes, their interrelations, and their influence on social institutions. This course will take a multidisciplinary approach drawing from many subjects, i.e. history, economics, sociology and political science to describe how political institutions work, within economic and political environments, interacting with and influencing each other.  The combination of economics and politics provide insights into the most fundamental issues affecting our common problems in nation states. The course will also refer to policy initiatives in the distribution of income, taxation policies and the actions of the public sector as determined by the political process and the prevailing economic system.  In essence, how the struggles for power and for wealth affect each another as well as the prevailing politics at the time.   

Course Objectives: 

  1. Understanding the development of economic thought and practice through the prism of history.
  2. Linking economics and politics as tools to analyze the social transformations that preoccupied the great economic thinkers throughout the centuries.
  3. Explain the relationship between pre-capitalist and capitalist societies.
  4. Explain how political economy has been transformed from the past to the present.
  5. Students will be exposed to a multidisciplinary curriculum that allows them to analyze their findings through a theoretical approach.
  6. Explain how political economy has been transformed from the past to the present.
  7. Applying concepts of political economy to contemporary issues.

Student Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this course

  1. Students must understand the intersection between international politics and economics and learn about the effects of politics on economic policy at the state, national, and international levels.
  2. Articulate the role and importance of economics as a social science.
  3. Recall the basic terminology of economics.
  4. Analyze and apply basic economic concepts to real world economic situations. 
  5. Begin the process of recognizing the merits and limitations of the economic way of reasoning to identify key issues pertaining to the future of capitalism.
  6. Apply simple quantitative and qualitative tools to analyze political economy.

Program Outcomes Met By This Course:

PO 2. Be able to analyze problems and address problems in policy applications that impact society PO 3. Develop quantitative literacy skills and confidence using numerical data.

PO 4. Effectively communicate information by extracting and constructing meanings through analysis and critical thinking.

SAS Grading Scale: Grades will be assigned as follows:

A  = 89.5% or better

B+ = 84.5 - 89.4%

B  = 79.5 - 84.4%

C+ = 74.5 - 79.4%

C= 69.5 - 74.4%

D = 64.5 - 69.4%

F = 65% or less 

Course Materials:

Text: N/A

Supplementary Readings/Resources: An Introduction to Political Economy by R. Page Arnot,

Publishers; Lawrence and Wishart ltd. London

Journal of Political Economy

Course Grading Requirement:

Course grading requirement:

Assignments – 20%

Midterm take home assignment – 30%

Final/Project Presentation – 35%

Class participation and Discussion – 15%

Students will be required

  1. To read material on the relevant topics before class.
  2. Submit assignments in a timely manner.
  3. Participate in classroom discussion.
  4. Be courteous and respectful of other participants' contribution.
  5. Attend and be punctual in attendance for class.
Course Schedule
Weeks Topic Reading
Week 1 Topic 1. The economic way of thinking Miller, Eonimics Today, Chap1; Class handouts
Weeks 2-3 Topic 2. What is Political Economy? Background and Context Handouts
Week 4 Topic 3. Ancient foundations of economic thought

Mehar1, Tesla, A short History of Economic Though, pages 21-32

Samuels, Warren, A Companion to the History of Economic Thought, pages 11 to 14

Week 5 Topic 4. Pre-Classical Economics (18th century and earlier)

Sandelin, Bo, A Short History of Economic Thought, pages 3 to 14;

Class handouts

Week 6-7 Topic 5. The Mercantilist era Samuels, Warren, A Companion to the History of Economic Thought, pages 46 to 60
Week 8   Midterm Assignment
Weeks 9-10 Topic 7. The significance of the Labor Theory of Value Dooley, Peter The Labour Theory of Value, Pages 136 to 162
Week 11 Topic 8. The Marxist and Malthusian dismal economics Foley, Duncan K. Notes on the Theoretical Foundations of Political Economy
Week 12 Topic 9. The rise of Neo-Classical Economics Handouts
Week 13 Topic 10. Thorstein Veblen and the emergence of modern Capitalism Veblen, Thorstein, The Theory of the Leisure Class
Class 14-15 Topic 11. Capital and Labor tensions Sorenson, Michael, Capital and Labor; Can the conflict be solved?
Week 06 Presentation Final Papers' Submission

School of Arts and Sciences Master Syllabi — Info for All Sections

Plagiarism Policy

Academic Integrity

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

Plagiarism is regarded as a cardinal offense in academia because it constitutes theft of the work of someone else, which is then purported as the original work of the plagiarist. Plagiarism draws into disrepute the credibility of the Institution, its faculty, and students; therefore, it is not tolerated” (p. 48).

Plagiarism also includes the unintentional copying or false accreditation of work, so double check your assignments BEFORE you hand them in.

Be sure to do good, honest work, credit your sources and reference accordingly and adhere to the University’s Honor Code. Plagiarism and cheating will be dealt with very seriously following the university’s policies on Plagiarism as outlined in the Student Manual.

Your work may be subject to submission to plagiarism detection software, submission to this system means that your work automatically becomes part of that database and can be compared with the work of your classmates.

Attendance Requirement

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

Students are expected to attend all classes and or clinical rotations for which they have registered. Although attendance may not be recorded at every academic activity, attendance may be taken randomly. Students’ absence may adversely affect their academic status as specified in the grading policy. If absence from individual classes, examinations, and activities, or from the University itself is anticipated, or occurs spontaneously due to illness or other extenuating circumstances, proper notification procedures must be followed. A particular course may define additional policies regarding specific attendance or participation” (p. 9).

Examination Attendance

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

All matriculated students are expected to attend all assigned academic activities for each course currently registered. Medical excuses will be based on self-reporting by students. Students who feel they are too sick to take an examination or other required activity on a specific day must submit the online SAS medical excuse, which is available on Carenage. Students are only allowed two such excuses a year. Upon consultation with the Director of University Health Service, the third excuse will result in a mandatory medical leave of absence. The policies regarding make-up examinations are at the option of the Course Director” (p.46).

For additional specific examination policies and procedures, refer to the St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020), pages 31 through 37.

Student Accessibility and Accommodation Services Policy

The St. George’s University Student Manual (2019/2020) states as follows:

A student with a disability or disabling condition that affects one or more major life activities, who would like to request an accommodation, must submit a completed application form and supporting documentation to the Student Accessibility and Accommodation Services (SAAS) located in the Dean of Students Office. It is highly recommended that students applying for accommodations do so at least one month before classes begin to allow for a more efficient and timely consideration of the request. If a fully completed application is not submitted in a timely fashion, an eligibility determination may not be made, and accommodations, where applicable, may not be granted prior to the commencement of classes and/or examinations” (p. 8).


It is the responsibility of the student to read and understand the policies, laws, rules and procedures that while they could affect your grade for a course, have not been specifically outlined in the course syllabus. These are contained in the St. George’s University Student Manual.