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040044 UK The End of Laissez-Fair. Marx, Schumpeter, and Keynes (2021W)

4.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 4 - Wirtschaftswissenschaften
Continuous assessment of course work
Fr 10.12. 09:45-11:15 Digital


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 50 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Friday 01.10. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Friday 08.10. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Friday 15.10. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Friday 22.10. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Friday 29.10. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Friday 05.11. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Friday 12.11. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Friday 19.11. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Friday 26.11. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Friday 03.12. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Friday 17.12. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Friday 07.01. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Friday 14.01. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Friday 21.01. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital
Friday 28.01. 09:45 - 11:15 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

Aims: the aim of this course is to introduce students to the economic theories and ideas as developed by Marx, Schumpeter, and Keynes as well as to certain epistemological and methodological problems such as the rational choice between economic theories, different kind of explanations and different concepts such as prophecies, scientific predictions, and trends. Content: Marx, Schumpeter, and Keynes forecasted that capitalism cannot survive in terms of laissez-faire systems. Marx and Schumpeter maintained that socialism will necessarily substitute capitalism; and Keynes maintained that in order to retain capitalist systems, present laissez-faire systems have to be substituted by systems characterized by market intervention in order to avoid and correct market failures. This course investigates the different ideas and theories upon which Marx, Schumpeter and Keynes base their forecasts. Do they form forecasts regarding the future development of capitalism on the basis of empirical, i.e., testable economic and sociological theories and have these forecasts to be regarded as scientific and testable predictions? Or do they have to be regarded as non-scientific prophecies, based on non-empirical and non-testable theories like laws of historical development and metaphysical ideas? Or are these forecasts simply singular historical hypotheses in terms of extrapolations of trends? Problems discussed in this course are: performance and evaluation of the economic theories upon which these authors base their forecasts regarding the future development of capitalism; concepts of scientific predictions, prophecies and trends; different kinds of explanations such as explanations regarding development processes in contrast to laws of historical development; theories of philosophical and scientific determinism and indeterminism; possibilities of examining and criticising scientific predictions, prophecies and trends. Diligent students will learn to make sense of and evaluate the historical background as well as the performance of theories, the main criticisms and later developments of those controversies which implicitly still cover much ground in temporary discussions. Method: teaching consists of one unbroken 90-minute seminar; discussion of different text passages which students have to prepare on the basis of questions distributed in advance for every meeting.

Assessment and permitted materials

Student’s efforts will be evaluated on the basis of brief, but substantial presentations, written answers to questions, and participations in discussions.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Rewards and Requirements:
In order to complete that course successfully, students are required 1) to provide a short presentation of their answers prepared for one particular meeting. 2) to provide answers to all questions for every meeting in writing and hand them in by the end of the term. And 3) to contribute in a lively manner to discussions at all classes. The quality of talks and written answers will be evaluated on the basis of completeness, clarity of argument, logical reasoning, and precision. Answers have to be formulated in complete sentences and are not acceptable if stated in keywords only. Answers do not necessarily have to be correct but have to form an argument. Lively participations in discussions will be particularly honoured. Grades will be jointly and individually determined with students on the basis of suggestions made by me. If students cannot agree to those suggestions, they are invited to have an additional discussion with me on an individual basis and on the basis of their written answers. These additional discussions have the form of genuine discussions and not exams and can take place in terms of physical meetings or in digital form.

Examination topics

Areas of Examinations
Problem situations, problems and solutions discussed.

Reading list

Introductory Reading:
Robert L. Heilbroner, The Worldly Philosophers, Touchstone, New York, 1999, chaps VI, IX, X. (chap. VI, ‘The Inexorable System of Karl Marx’; chap. X, ‘The Contradictions of Joseph Schumpeter’; chap. IX, ‘The Heresies of John Maynard Keynes’.)

Robert L. Heilbroner, Teachings from the Worldly Philosophy, Norton & Co, New York, London 1997, part IV ‘Karl Marx’, pp 159 – 197; part VI, ‘John Maynard Keynes’, pp 264 – 297; ‘Joseph Alois Schumpeter’, pp 297 – 331.

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Mo 13.09.2021 09:48