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POL2000 Political and Economic Ideas

Semester 1, 2020 Online
Short Description: Political and Economic Ideas
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Commerce
Student contribution band : Band 1
ASCED code : 090101 - Political Science
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Phil Griffiths

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. The work done by students in this course aims to develop their understanding and academic skills through a mixture of practise (weekly writing and online interaction) and intensive academic inquiry.
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. explain and contribute to debates around some of the major theories of political economy since the emergence of liberalism;
  2. critically evaluate, on the basis of research, rival claims made as part of political debate;
  3. write clearly in English, observing academic conventions;
  4. engage constructively with other students on political ideas.


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 expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 52.00
Directed Study 113.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASST 1 - ANALYSIS OF A DEBATE 100 20 22 Mar 2020
ASST 2 - TESTING A PROPOSITION 100 15 20 Apr 2020
ASST 3 - ESSAY 100 40 03 Jun 2020
PARTICIPATION 10 10 07 Jun 2020 (see note 1)
REVISION 15 15 07 Jun 2020 (see note 2)

  1. Details of participation assessment will be provided in the course materials. Postings made to StudyDesk after the due date will not be assessed.
  2. Details of revision assessment will be provided in the course materials. Postings made to StudyDesk after the due date will not be assessed.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    Online: 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.

    On-campus: It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and 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:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  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:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Not applicable.

  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. 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

  2. Assignments must be 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.

Date printed 19 June 2020