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POL2000 Political and Economic Ideas

Semester 1, 2013 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business and Law
School or Department : School of Accounting, Economics and Finance
Version produced : 21 July 2014

Contents on this page


Examiner: Phil Griffiths
Moderator: Geoff Cockfield

Other requisites

Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at


POL2000 is designed to give students an understanding of liberalism as a theory of politics and economic development, and of the major alternatives to it. These include theories of state-managed development, and socialist and class-based critiques. Students develop an understanding of some of the background to current debates about economic policy and the theories that inform them. Students also learn to understand how theories work, and how to identify their core propositions. Students who also study POL2001 find that POL2000 builds on the concrete understanding they have developed of debates over globalisation and global economic governance. The course has a strong emphasis on developing students' skills in ethical research, argument analysis, proposition-testing and other elements of critical thinking.


POL2000 (Political and Economic Ideas) introduces the student to liberalism and its critics, as a way to understand the modern world. It takes an historical approach, starting with the liberal revolution in politics in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and Adam Smith's economic theory. The course then looks at challenges to classical liberalism, before investigating the debates over capitalism and its problems in the twentieth century. We finish by looking at state-directed models of economic management and the neo-liberal critique of them. The course is aimed at developing students' understanding of different economic theories and the problems they were attempting to address. Students require no prior knowledge of economics, politics or history in order to understand the economic and political debates of today, however students are advised not to attempt this subject in their first year of university study.


On successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of some of the major economic and political theories since the emergence of liberalism
  2. demonstrate an understanding of the interplay between economic ideas and politics
  3. demonstrate the capacity to ethically research and critically evaluate political and economic theory
  4. demonstrate an ability to develop research findings into a credible intellectual argument
  5. demonstrate an ability to write clearly, in correct English, observing academic conventions
  6. demonstrate the capacity to engage constructively with other students on political ideas and realities.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Classical and neo-liberalism 45.00
2. Social liberalism 20.00
3. Nationalist economics 20.00
4. Socialist critiques of liberalism 15.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Cassidy, J 2010, How markets fail: the logic of economic calamities, Penguin, London.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Wolf, M 2004, Why globalization works, Yale Nota Bene, New Haven, Connecticut.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 82.00
Directed Study 83.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASST 1 - ARGUMENT ANALYSIS 100 15 25 Mar 2013
ASST 2 - ESSAY 100 40 13 May 2013
PARTICIPATION 15 15 03 Jun 2013 (see note 1)
2-HOUR EXAMINATION 60 30 End S1 (see note 2)

  1. Details of participation assessment will be provided in the course materials. Postings made to StudyDesk after 3 June 2013 will not be assessed.
  2. The examination is scheduled to be held in the end-of-semester examination period. Students will be advised of the official examination date after the timetable has been finalised. The questions in the examination will be posted on StudyDesk about a week before the examination to enable students to prepare good quality answers.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    If you are an international student in Australia, you are advised to attend all classes at your campus. For all other students, there are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks. (Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course.)

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without prior approval of the examiner, then a penalty of 2% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late. Late marks are not applied once the mark for an assignment drops to 50%.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks (or grades) obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    This is a restricted examination. Candidates are allowed access to specific materials during the examination. The only materials that candidates may use in the restricted examination for this course are English translation dictionaries (but not technical dictionaries).

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Assignments: (i) The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the examiner. (ii) Students must retain a copy of each assignment submitted for assessment. This must be produced within 24 hours if required by the examiner. (iii) In accordance with university policy, the examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances. (iv) The examiner will normally only accept assignments which are electronically submitted through the USQ Study Desk for this course. Students who are unable to meet this submission requirement should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate alternative arrangements. (v) In the event that a due date for an assignment falls on a local public holiday in their area, such as a show holiday, the due date for the assignment will be the next day. Students are to note on the assignment cover the date of the public holiday for the examiner's convenience. (vi) No assignment will be considered submitted until it has been submitted to the university’s plagiarism-checking service, ‘Turnitin’, which can be accessed through the POL2000 StudyDesk. Where necessary, staff will assist students to do this.

  2. Referencing in assignments: Harvard (AGPS) is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use Harvard (AGPS) style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide at

  3. Course weightings: Course weightings of topics should not be interpreted as applying to the number of marks allocated to questions testing those topics in an examination paper.

  4. Deferred work: Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded: IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination); IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  5. Make-up work: Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded the temporary grade: IM (Incomplete - Make up). An IM grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non directed personal study.

Other requirements

  1. Computer, e-mail and Internet access: Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at