AZA3010 - Competing models of political economy - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

South Africa School of Social Science


Mr Laurence Caromba

Not offered in 2017


The defining feature of our age is the spread of capitalism to almost every corner of the globe. However, the victory of market economics has not removed the state from the realm of economic decision-making. Even the most market-oriented systems exist within political frameworks that enforce contracts, resolve disputes, regulate negative externalities, and provide public goods. Furthermore, capitalism remains intensely controversial. It has created unprecedented wealth and prosperity, but has also suffered from periodic crises, and critics argue that it has exacerbated inequality and damaged the natural environment. In this unit, Monash students learn how to evaluate these competing claims. Students will be introduced to competing models of political economy, learn about key thinkers in the history of economic thought, and gain insight into the intersection between markets and political power.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. explain the competing models of political economy: liberal and neo-classical approaches, Keynesian theories, Marxist and neo-mercantilist approaches;
  2. evaluate the significance of key economic thinkers such as Malthus, Smith, Ricardo, List, Schumpeter, Marx, Keynes and Hayek;
  3. understand the key crises facing capitalism in the world today;
  4. apply these theoretical insights to South Africa;
  5. successfully undertake a variety of research and writing tasks;
  6. demonstrate improved oral and written communication skills, particularly in relation to the analysis and explanation of ideas and the development of an argument.


Within semester assessment: 70%

Exam: 30%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Twelve credit points of second-year Arts units.