History & Political Science
PS 110 Globalization (CRN 1495)
Taylor 26: Tu/Th 10:30-12:20
OBJECTIVES: Citizens of nation states throughout the world are confronting challenges to their identity. Individuals who saw themselves as citizens of a well-defined community now find their communities disintegrating and their identity transforming.
This course challenges students to come to grips with their identities, who their parents and grandparents are or were, and who they, their siblings, friends and children are likely to become. In the process we will examine the nature of politics and markets in a world of increasingly interdependent nation states. Students will examine the nature of politics and markets in an interdependent world of “nation states,” which in the words of one analyst, are becoming “market states.”
Along the way students will explore the emergence of transnational entities, like the United Nations and Amnesty International, as well as multinational corporations, and terrorist networks. By factoring in the above referenced associations, we can understand how an emerging international community responds to pressing global problems, such as environmental degradation, ubiquitous and persist organized violence, and rapid technological change.
This course is approved for University Studies (Explorations Strand F: Social Science).
READING. The text for the course is The Lexus and the Olive Tree (“Text”) by Thomas Friedman. Additional readings are linked below in the “Daily Schedule.”
The Lexus and the Olive Tree is relatively long but not a difficult read. It is really a series of stories about how people advance, react to, overcome or oppose the forces of globalization. The most important element is probably at the beginning where the author describes the factors contributing to an increasingly integrated world. After that, he is teasing out the implications almost like a cheerleader for globalization. The supplementary readings present different views or issues that Friedman has not fully addressed if at all. In particular those readings tend to stress the difficulties associated with globalization.
The daily reading and discussion schedule for the class is at the end of this syllabus/website (“Daily Schedule”). The schedule published there is subject to modification for all of the usual reasons. It is the student's duty to check this web site regularly for changes. Changes will also be announced in class when practicable.
PEDAGOGY: For the most part, class is conducted in “Socratic” style. While this will be developed more fully on the first day, it can be summarized as follows: Students (usually in groups of three, four or five) are called upon to answer a series of questions about the reading for a day, or perhaps to pick up the discussion from the previous class. The questions will explore a conceptual or normative problem, a component of globalization or a policy question. The objective is to develop, in hopes of identifying the relevant criteria for analyzing the issues associated with the politics of globalization. Students will be expected to show they understand and can apply these criteria in the exercises assigned to them for the class.
Students are called upon in random fashion and can expect to be called upon several times during the term. Students will always be told in advance when they are expected to participate in a Socratic dialogue.
If a student is unprepared he may “pass” and another student will be selected. Each student gets one “free” pass per term. A second pass will result in a five point deduction from the total points accrued from exams. An inadequate or disruptive performance may cost a student up to ten points. Absences are treated as passes. Students should recognize that a major premise of the Socratic method is that students are conversant the assigned reading in advance of class.
STUDENT EVALUATION: Students are evaluated based upon the following criteria:
(1) Five take home exercises. The first two are worth 15 points, the third is worth 20 and fourth and fifth are worth 25 points each. All will entail the analyses of political, policy, or resource allocation problems and will require a two to four page typed response. In every material respect they will appear to be take home exams. These exercises will evaluate the student’s capacity to analyze a problem rather than reach the “correct” or “right” conclusion.
(2) As discussed above, the point total that students accrue on their exercises may be reduced, where appropriate, for inadequate classroom participation. This specifically refers to Socratic dialogues discussed above and other classroom activities such as simulations.
(4) Occasionally, small research projects may emerge from the flow of the class. That is, as the class moves through some analytical puzzle it may be useful to have some more facts. Student volunteers will be asked to identify some “authority” on a subject (i.e. the internet, a professor, book, or other source) and come prepared to the next class to enlighten us all. These presentations count as “extra credit”. There are likely to only be two or three of these in the term (if that) and arise spontaneously from the class discussion rather than any instructor planning.
(6) At least two simulations or games will be played in the term and students who succeed (i.e. win, place or show) will receive extra credit.
Here are some cautionary notes regarding grading for this class:
(A) Students should keep a copy of all written exercises. The burden of loss of any missing written work will rest entirely on the student.
(B) Class grades will be assigned based upon a rough curve comparing point totals accumulated by students over the entire term. No individual exercise will be assigned a letter grade. Rather you will be given a point total. After each class exercise, students will be shown two "curves" enabling them (1) to compare their point totals with others for the discrete exercise and (2) compare their cumulative point totals for all exercises given by that point in the term.
(C) Other than as discussed in connection with class participation, class attendance is not considered when evaluating students. You will be treated as mature individuals, capable of choosing responsibly whether to attend class on a given day. Students should recognize that class meetings also serve as a medium for communicating to them about the structure and pace of the class. Information concerning the class, not contained in the syllabus, is generally communicated at one class meeting and noted on the class website, but not repeated elsewhere. This may include additional reading assignments, handouts, exercise information, modifications in the syllabus and "Socratic Dialogue" participation. Students bear the entire responsibility to ensure that they understand the requirements for the class by either attending regularly or making other arrangements to ascertain how the course is moving.
(D) The principles espoused in the SOU policy on academic dishonesty are applicable to this class.
If you are in need of academic support because of a documented disability (whether it is psychiatric, learning, mobility, health-related, or sensory), you may be eligible for academic accommodations through disability services for students. Contact Disability Services for Students; Director, DSS; 552-6213; or schedule an appointment in person at the ACCESS Center, Stevenson Union, Lower Level.
(Subject to change)
September 25: Course Overview
September 27-October 2 Globalization 1.0. What does Globalization mean? When pundits, sages, wonks or seers say refer to a “globalized world,” how is the world different than any other time in the earth’s history? Was the world not global before? Not round? What has changed? How do we know?. Simulation #1: “Coalitions” (played October 4)
October 4-18 Globalization 2.0. It appears certain social, economic and political phenomena give impetus to globalization and that humans have experienced “spasms” of globalization previously. But the momentum toward globalization has been arrested and reversed. Why? Is that a good thing? Are the forces animating our current rush to globalization immutable? What are the irreducible requirements for integration of political and social institutions on a global scale? In more accessible English, what has to happen to cause globalization? What dangers or adverse consequences flow from this trend toward integration? Again more simply, who might object to globalization and how might they oppose it?
READ: Text pp 16-142
October 12 Second Exercise Distributed; Due beginning of class, October18
October 18-November 1 Markets as political phenomena . The driving forces for globalization are (1) enhanced capacity to communicate and (2) ubiquitous access to labor and financial markets. Banks, hedge funds, pension plans, individuals and a seeming infinite variety of other combinations of people feel secure in investing their money and their time across the globe. What are the preconditions for this phenomenon? What happens to the idea of community, nationality, and states when this happens? Specifically what is the relevance for the state of Oregon and Southern Oregon University?
READ: Text pp 144-211;
October 26 Third Exercise Distributed; Due November 1 at 5 pm in Taylor 122 the Social Science Office.
November 1-15 Markets and the transformation of government. Nations-states (including their state and local governments) are struggling to develop coherent responses to globalization. On the one hand respect for the core political value of liberty would encourage states to promote markets and the freedoms they advance. On the other hand the disparity in distribution benefits procured by markets and the weakening of the sense of political community create misgivings about unfettered globalization. However there may be little that states, particularly democratic ones, can do to stem the tide of globalization.
November 15- November 29. The “Backlash.” The world has experienced a variety of attempts to integrate politically, socially and economically into a more centralized set of institutions. But each time a variety of forces have emerged to beat back those efforts. Is there any reason to believe that a backlash won’t or isn’t emerging this instant? What will be its form, its impetus? How successful will it be? Would greater decentralization be a good thing? Have we gone down some paths too far to retreat and are we likely to end up with some degree of integration greater than ever before?