1. Why did the study of the economy (Political Economy) as distinct from theology/philosophy etc. emerge only in the 17th-18th centuries? Explain your rationale.
2. What are some key differences between Classical Political Economy (i.e. the SurplusApproach) and Neoclassical Economics?
Answer any one of the following in 150 words (10 points):
3. What is an Economic System? How does the emergence of a social surplus throughsettled agriculture shape economic systems?
4. Describe the Surplus Product in relation to the Necessary and Total Product. What isthe relationship between classes and the surplus product?
Answer any one of the following in 250 words (15 points):
5. Using the Surplus Approach, identify two ways in which Feudalism and Capitalism aresimilar and two ways in which the two economic systems differ.
6. What is Primitive Accumulation? What was the form of Primitive Accumulation asobserved by Marx in England?7. Describe some of the ways in which colonialism contributed to the rise of capitalismin western Europe. Provide concrete examples.
Sample question: What is the Surplus Approach in Economics? (250 words)
The Surplus Approach or the Political Economy approach is a school of thought in Economics that dominated
the discipline from the 18th Century till the late 19th Century (Thomas 2021, pp. 4-6). It is the study of the social
relations that shape how societies reproduce themselves and grow, i.e. that shape processes of production and
distribution of the goods and services necessary for survival (Bowles et al. 2018, p. 54).
It is recognized in the Surplus Approach that while economic interdependence or division of labor is a facet of all
economic systems (Bowles et al. 2018, p. 69), hierarchical power relations among groups of people first emerged
roughly 11,000 years ago with the advent of settled agriculture, which is the first time in human history that the
production of a surplus product became the norm (Diamond 1997, pp. 88-90).
(One small paragraph describing what the surplus product is I am not doing so here because this is one of the
questions on the first Assignment and I dont want to give you the answer!)
In this approach, questions about how surplus is producedthe social relations central to the production of
surplus, how surplus is distributed and controlled, and how surplus product is usedcan help us understand the
structure of different economic systems, and map their tendencies for change and transformation over time
(Bowles et al. 2018, p. 68).
References (to be listed at the end of the assignment) :
Bowles, S., Edwards, R., Roosevelt, F. & Larudee, M. (2018). Understanding capitalism. Oxford University Press.
Diamond, J. (2013). Guns, germs and steel: a short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years. Random House.
Thomas, A. M. (2021). Macroeconomics: an introduction. Cambridge University Press.