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Political Economy (POEC) 302

Introduction to Political Economy (Revision 1)

POEC 302 course cover

Revision 1 is closed for registrations, replaced by current version.

Delivery Mode: Individualized study

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: None.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Political Economy home page

POEC 302 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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What is the relationship between politics and economics? How has the relationship changed over time? What is the ideal relationship between politics and economics, states and markets, democracy and capitalism? These are fundamental questions of the field of political economy.

The fundamental concepts and questions of political economy are introduced to students as they read the works of major political and economic thinkers. The course surveys the market system from its foundation in the thought of Aristotle to its nineteenth and twentieth century exponents and critics, including Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and John Maynard Keynes.

Introduction to Political Economy encourages students to cultivate a greater appreciation of the relationship between politics and economics, and how the integration of the two has produced the distinctive tradition of political economy. It explains the interdependency of political and ideological issues of power and the allocation of resources with economic problems such as unemployment, poverty, and inflation. This course should appeal to all students who want one basic course on the fundamental questions concerning the relationship between politics and economics.


The course consists of the following nine units.

Unit 1: Ancient and Medieval Political Economy: Aristotle and Aquinas

Unit 2: Mercantilism and Its Decline

Unit 3: The Classical System (I): The Physiocrats and Adam Smith

Unit 4: The Classical System (II): Malthus and Ricardo

Unit 5: Socialist Economics and Karl Marx

Unit 6: The “Marginal Revolution”: Jevons, Menger, and Walras

Unit 7: The Institutionalist Critique of Marginalism, Veblen, and Galbraith

Unit 8: The Great Depression and Keynes

Unit 9: Schumpeter and the Future of Capitalism


To receive credit for POEC 302, you must complete all of the assignments, achieve a mark of at least 50 per cent on the final examination, and obtain a course composite grade of at least "D" (50 per cent). The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Exercise 1 Exercise 2 Exercise 3 Final Exam Total
10% 20% 30% 40% 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Robert L. Heilbroner. 1999. The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times, and Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers. 7th Edition. New York: Touchstone.

Other Materials

The course materials include a study guide, a student manual, and a reader.

Three-year BA concentration in Political Economy

Four-year BA major in Political Economy

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.

Full information for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the POEC 302 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least "C-" (60 per cent) on the examination.

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1.


Last updated by SAS  09/20/2013 12:57:40