Saint-Louis University - Bruxelles

ESPO1360 - Ethics and the economy


Credits : 5

Lecturers :
Mode of delivery :
Face-to-face , first term, 30 hours of theory.

Timetable :
First term
Thursday from 08:30 to 10:30 at 43 Botanique 1

Language of instruction :

Learning outcomes :
The main aim of the course is to give a general overview of the core problems in contemporary economic ethics (see below for further details). The course will clarify what ethics is and why it is relevant for reflections on economic issues. The main theories in economic ethics will be studied through key authors (such as John Rawls, Robert Nozick, or Peter Singer) and applied to concrete cases of public policies and individual economic behaviour.

Prerequisites :
For the Bachelor : Business Engineering :

For the Bachelor in Law :

For the Bachelor in Information and Communication :

For the Bachelor in Economics and Management :

For the Bachelor in Political Sciences: General :

For the Bachelor in Sociology and Anthropology :

For the Bachelor of Science in Business Engineering :

Co-requisites :

Course contents :
Each section of the course focuses on a detailed presentation some of the main theories in contemporary economic ethics, to be applied to concrete cases. Among the issues that might be tackled in class: - Is it fair to tax the most productive workers in order to transfer money to the least productive? - Have we a moral obligation to give a share of our resources to NGOs in development aid? - Is an unconditional basic income a promising way to reform our welfare state?
These questions might be dealt with within a single theory, but will often require a dialogue between various theories.

The main sections of the course will be as follows (subject to change):
- General introduction
- Utilitarianism
- Meritocracy
- Marxism
- Libertarianism
- Liberal-egalitarianism
- Global justice

Planned learning activities and teaching methods :
Lecture with Powerpoint presentation. The active participation of students is most welcome. A course syllabus is made available at the start of the second term. While it contains an outline and brief summaries of the topics covered, much of the theoretical discussion and case study examples will not be included. Attendance at course is therefore strongly recommended.

Furthermore, students are required to read a book (or several articles) in economic ethics. Each year, new readings are selected by the professor, and are part of the material to be studied for the exam.

Assessment methods and criteria :
The exam is written and consists of one or more questions on the required readings and several questions on the course material itself (authors, theories, historical facts, etc.). For detailed information on exam procedures and sample questions, students will check the exam procedures posted on Moodle.

Recommended or required reading :
Students are required to read a book (or several articles) in economic ethics politics. Each year, a new list of readings is selected by the lecturer, and is part of the material to be studied for the exam. References for further reading are included in the syllabus, for information only.