ECON 3529 - Rethinking Capitalism III

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2023

This course may provide a broad ranging discussion of many of the most pressing issues confronting modern market economies, adopting a pluralist perspective throughout. While technological advances and economic globalisation have contributed to economic growth over time, they have been accompanied in many countries by underemployment and insecure employment; higher levels of income and wealth inequality; financialisation and rising private indebtedness; higher concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere; and a variety of other ecological problems. In recent years, secular stagnation, low investment rates and stalling productivity growth have been widespread. The course may consider innovative and often controversial approaches to addressing these issues, drawn from both neoclassical and heterodox economists. It is intended to be challenging to students who already possess an extensive background in economics, while at the same time remaining accessible to those who have not progressed beyond the first year Principles course. The approach taken is discursive and empirical, rather than being either mathematical or heavily theoretical and technical.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code ECON 3529
    Course Rethinking Capitalism III
    Coordinating Unit Economics
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assumed Knowledge ECON 1012
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Kostas Mavromaras

    Office hours: Wednesday 10-12 (or by arrangement with the Lecturer)

    Office location: Nexus 10, Level 4, Room 4.46.
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    Each student is expected to attend two one hour lectures each week, and a one hour tutorial. A full timetable of the lectures and tutorials can be found on the Course Planner at:

    The lectures will be used to explain relevant concepts, theories, models and policies, whilst the tutorial time will be used to apply the acquired knowledge to active discussions. The tutorial contents will typically include a mix of real world and theoretical, quantitative and analytical, topic explorations which will be posted on MyUni prior to the tutorials.

    Students are expected to study the course materials carefully and to fully engage in class discussions. All work discussed in both the lectures and the tutorials and any submitted material can form the basis for the final examination.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    1. Identify and explain a range of contemporary economic issues which are currently subject to debate and controversy.
    2. Identify, explain and apply contributions from a variety of prominent economists and various schools of thought to modern controversies relating to economic policy
    3. Construct effective pieces of written work of a professional standard, to communicate the results of economic analysis to non-economists.
    4. Present economic analysis to a diverse group of students and members of staff, making appropriate use of the available technology for the purpose.

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    There will be no designated main text book for this course. Reading and related resources will be provided throughout the course's duration in MyUni.

    Recommended Resources
    Further resources will be recommended during the course on MyUni.
    Online Learning
    All of the material related to the course, including the full details of each assessment task, will be available on MyUni.

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Lectures and related reading mayterial should reinforce each other. You are strongly advised to keep up with the recommended reading. Ideally, you should be covering the recommended reading for each week prior to the lecture. You will find that the course will be far easier to follow if you do this on a regular basis.

    Tutorials are intended to reinforce the lectures, and will require active participation from all students. Active tutorial participation will form part of the tutorial contribution assessment.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Lecture attendance: 2 Hours per week.

    Tutorial participation: 1 Hour per week.

    Home study expectation: 10 Hours per week.
    Learning Activities Summary
    The schedule will include topics of current importance for understanding how the present economic thinking may be "re-thought" taking into account the current state of economic thinking combined with the current state of some of the policy problems where solutions may be debated between economists and beyond. The course is planned to allow for the students to have a voice about (some of) the topics choice, as the course develops over the semester.

    Possible examples may include:

    How do we understand climate change and how it influences differently developed and less developed countries. What has economics to say about the use (or abuse) of natural resources? How is the burden distributed nationally and internationally?

    In many countries we can see an intense ageing of the population taking place. By the middle of the 21st Century such countries will be needing a large proportion of their GDP to be dedicated to Social and Aged Care. How will this be provided and how will it be funded?

    Technology is taking over many job activities. Will the traditional distinctions such as between "employees" and "employers" or between "producers" and "consumers" continue to be useful for understanding how we allocate scarce resources? Is the idea that we all have a "right" to work an idea that will survive the explosion of technology? 

    Is the concept of education as an individual investment activity going to survive the changing production proceses? Who should be paying for training and education?

    What is the role of public policy in regulating market structures? Is it the obligation of the state to control large national and multinational monopolies or oligopolies?

    What is the purpose of housing policy? Is there an optimal level of home ownership? Should the rental market be regulated?

    Why would we need a minimum wage? What would be its consequences? Should we go further and think about a basic/living wage as an entitlement?

    Can we expect globalisation to persist in the future? If it does, in what form will this happen and who will benefit from it? What will be the role of debt in this context?

    Some of these examples may not be followed up and other examples may be included as they may be raised during the progression of the course. 

    An essential commonality between these questions questions is that they all question (in one way or other) the capacity of a model based on a well-functining market motivated by utility maximising individuals and profit maximising firms to deliver socially desirable economic and social outcomes, without state intervention. The course will take the student through exploring many questions and hopefully finding some answers, basaed more on evidence and common sense and less on opinion and dogma. The understanding that neither a "fully competitive market" nor a "fully planned economy" are very likely to offer any definitive, feasible and practical solutions will underpin the thinking of this course.
    Specific Course Requirements
    The minimum grade to pass this subject is a mark of 50% overall. There are no separate requirements for individual assessments.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Due Length Weighting Learning Outcome
    Tutorial participation Collaborative; Formative Weekly, ongoing N/A 10% 1,2,4
    Online quizzes Individual; Formative Weeks 4, 8 and 11 N/A 30% 2
    Final Exam Individual; Summative Exam period 3 hours 60% 1,2,3
    Total 100%
    Assessment Related Requirements
    The minimum grade to pass this subject is a mark of 50% overall. There are no separate requirements for individual assessments.
    Assessment Detail
    1) Three online quizzes – (Due: Weeks 4, 8 and 11 and announced one week in advance). 30% Weight (10% each).

    These are designed to assess the extent to which students have assimilated the materials covered during the previous four weeks, and to help students to prepare for the final examination.

    2) Tutorial Participation. 10% Weight.

    Students will be expected to participate actively in tutorials at all times. Assessment of Tutorial active participation will be explained to students at the beginning of the course.

    3) Final Examination – 3 hours, Closed Book. 60% Weight.

    The exam will comprise a mix of short answer questions and longer written questions. 

    Date: For details on examination location and date/time, please refer to the examination timetable, which will be published later in the Semester.
    1. Online quizzes are to be conducted and submitted via MyUni. Failure to submit an assessment on time will lead to a zero mark.

    2. Extensions and alternative assessment conditions will only be considered if they follow the relevant University regulations. It is the student's responsibility to contact their lecturer about such exceptional circumstances as early as is practically possible.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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