Essay questions Karl Marx

Essay length: 2500 words (about 10 pages double spaced) but I’m not strict about page count at all. If you can write a good essay in 7-8 pages, you can still get an A+. On that same note, you are also free to go over 10 pages if you need to. I am not grading you on the length of the essay, but on the quality.

Make sure references are done properly! Whether you use APA, MLA, or Chicago, make sure you follow the citation guidelines. You need 5 external sources for your essay. You can have as many or as few course references as are relevant to your topic, but they do not count towards the 5 external sources. Your essay topic needs to be underpinned by at least one major course theme (you’ll need to reference relevant course readings when discussing that theme).

You may use your original topic that you wrote your proposal on, you may change that topic, or you may use one of the topics Paul provided (see my previous email with that list from a few weeks ago). Whatever you choose to do, you don’t need to confirm it with me.

“The essay will be based on a summary and discussion of your choice of any of the topics covered in this course, followed by a detailed analysis that expands on your topic based on sources from outside our course. The final paper should be approximately 2500 words. For example, if you choose to write about imperialism your essay should cover what our course says about imperialism by citing course materials, and then find 5 more sources from outside of our course to expand on the topic. You need not write an argumentative paper – instead try to present an overview of the topic you have chosen from various perspectives.”

If you have no interest in changing your topic, you can completely disregard this email.

The topics shared by Paul were:

  1. Discuss the significance of the difference between mainstream economics and political economy (as we have described in this course). In your response, please discuss the role of thinkers such as Adam Smith and Karl Marx. Do we often misinterpret and misunderstand the insights of these thinkers? 
  2. Do you believe that Adam Smith provides us with a useful model to understand and conceptualize capitalism in the modern age? In your response, please discuss the two of the following ideas: mercantilism, the invisible hand, innovation and the free market. 
  3. Discuss the significance of the ideas of Karl Marx to an understanding of capitalism. Discuss Marx’s core ideas of alienation and exploitation. Are these key ideas in our attempt to grasp modern capitalism? 
  4. Discuss Veblen’s idea of ‘conspicuous consumption.’ Do you feel that this idea goes to the core of modern behavior in a capitalist society? Further, is consumption the key organizing and motivational principle of the modern economy? And what are the dangers of such a focus on consumption 
  5. Discuss the issue of economic development considering the concerns of human rights. Do these issues sometimes collide? If so, in what manner can the drive for development and economic wealth creation come together with a concern for human rights? Please use some examples from the modern world to show your argument. 
  6. Discuss the role of the state in economic development. Do you feel that the state has an important role to play in guiding development in the modern age? Or, alternatively, do you think that the state should leave development to the market? In your response, discuss the contrast between neo-liberal models and neo-statist models
  7. Discuss the role of international politics and international relations in the process of development. Do you feel that this ‘international order’ impedes or enhances development? In your response, please discuss the contrast between ‘internationalism’ and ‘nationalism.’ 
  8. Discuss the idea of colonialism in the context of decolonization and postcolonial thought. Do you feel that we are moving towards an equality among nations? Or is this a new age of imperialism? Please explain with reference to the thought of DuBois or Fanon. 
  9. Discuss the persistence of race and racism within the global economy. How does this system of inequality reproduce itself?
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