Identify and discuss in several pages, ONE out of the following TEN questions (give references if you use an outside source)
- How many people live on $2 dollars a day or less? What percentage of the world’s wealth is owned by the Top 1% of the world’s population? And what percentage by the bottom 80%? How can we distinguish between the orthodox economic definition of poverty and the alternative view embraced by the UN Millennium Program? Why should we be especially concerned with female literacy and poverty? What can we expect will happen to the percentage of world living in poverty by 2050 under the most severe environmental forecasts?
- What country was the greatest source of CO2 emissions by 2011? What other countries will emerge as the major sources of CO2 emissions by 2050? What fossil fuel source is driving this global increase in emissions that pushed over the threshold of 400 PPM of CO2 this year? What’s the significance of that number? Why did we choose a 2.0 celsius temperature rise as a safe threshgold? What will happen to the world of 2050, if we follow a “business as usual” scenario in terms of fossil fuel consumption? What did Exxon Mobile know about Climate change in the 1980’s? What did they think it was a threat to their business model? Bill McKibbins right to call them a “rogue industry?” What organizations stand to lose the most from the deployment of alternative energy systems?
- What did Aristotle mean by the term “Oligarchy?” And how has that term been used in the post -communist era in Eastern Europe? Why do you think that term become popular in the American media to describe the “shadow elite” that links government policy outcomes to the demands of the private sector. Does Larry Summers have the profile of a modern “Oligarch?” Why? And what would Michael Taibbi say about the degree of criminal responsibility of the Big Banks and financial elites and our seeming inability to bring any of them to justice? What does that say about role of professional ethics in modern economics?
- The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria wishes to eliminate the national borders of the Mid-East which date back to the Sykes Picot Treaty n 1917. How does the Islamic Caliphate of IS differ from the strategy and organization of Al Queda? How much responsibility does the United States bear for creating the conditions necessary for IS’ rise in Iraq? And Saudi Arabia? What role if any did climate change play in the failure of the Syrian and Iraqi states? What are the aims of IS terrorist attacks in Western countries? How does Islamophobia help advance the political agenda of the IS? Should we put boots on the ground in Syria?
- Does America have one power elite or many competing ones? Why does Bill Moyers among others argue that party leaders have become dependent on private business and professional elites? Is it true that Big Business holds American politics “hostage?” How has the decline of Big Labor altered the balance of power within the American system? Is there much room for the average citizen to influence political decisions? Who has power in Obama’s America? Oligarchs? or Veto Groups? And how do we see that playing out in the politics of Health reform or the Bank Bail-outs.
- C.Wright Mills argued that the American military were an important part of America’s power elite. What’s evidence do we have the American military has become an important actor in our domestic politics. How did the Bush a nd Obama administrations “privatize” the “American Way of War?” How would that have changed the way policy networks – what we call “Iron Triangles, “ usually work? Is the Military Industrial Complex today better described as an “iron triangle” or a “policy diamond?” How does the MIC fit into the larger system that Michael Lofgren called the “Deep State’?
- Neo-Liberals promised us that Globalizing Free Trade would mean not only the growth international trade but also greater prosperity for all. Has Free Trade reduced Global poverty rates and built a new middle class in the Global South, or not? Many critics of neo-liberal free trade policies argue that the development of this “Global Hiring Hall” has undermined labor and environmental standards and wages in the developed countries. Why? Does greater inequality in old core countries weaken the legitimacy of Neo-Liberal policies? What has happened to global carbon emissions over the past 25 years as international trade grew exponentially? What dilemmas does that create for us ? For China? For India?
- How many prisoners are currently held in U.S. state and Federal Prisons? How many men and women are on Parole? What percentage of the world’s total prison population does that represent? What do these figures tell us about the size of the American “Penal State” compared with other advanced industrial nations? Could one say that we have “criminalized being poor “in the United States? Why does Michele Alexander argue that the dramatic rise in the number of incarcerated persons in the 1980’s was a means of reversing the gains of the Civil Rights Revolution of the 1960’s. How does this help us understand current protests over the deaths of Eric Garnier and Freddie Gray and so many others?
- What is the significance of the rise of the “Big-Box” retailers like Walmart for the “ Business model” of American corporations. How has the power relationship between Retailers and Manufacturing changed since the 1950s’ What lessons does the rise of Wal-Mart teach us about America’s growing dependence on foreign suppliers like China and the widening gap in income and wealth between America’s elites and its working class? How does the story of Rubbermaid and Walmart help us understand the policy debate over whether to save the American Automobile industry or not? How did Walmart partner with the Chinese Communist Party to conquer the American home market? Who won the most out of this partnership?
- What is JSOC? In how many countries are JSOC forces currently deployed? How did the American “Long War Against Terrorism” change under the Obama administration? What policy did the Obama administration adopt regarding off-battlefield “targeted killings” by drone strikes in countries where we don’t have a formal state of war? What problems do Presidential “kill lists” generate over time. Are they legal under international law? Why does Jeremy Scahill argue that our War on Terrorism may never end?
- Can we say that American political cultures are immune to the appeal of fascist movements? Which regional culture in the United States has a historical narrative that is proto-fascist? In what ways could we argue that the TEA Party/Patriot wing of the Conservative movement has fascist characteristics? What would it take to develop an American fascism according to Sara Robinson? Given the Trump anti-Hispanic and anti Muslim campaign’s appeal to working class whites, are we now there?
Read the Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Is Uncle Scrooge an ideological cartoon? If so, what 19th century ideology does he embody? What was Scrooge’s approach for managing the poor and unemployed? Can you find examples of American politicians today who are recommending a similar policy ? And what is that anti-welfare policy called? Why does the Christmas Carol tale appeal to Americans so much that Hollywood does a remake every other year? Do you believe that Dicken’s Spirit of Christmas Future will visit America’s four million, long term unemployed this Christmas time? Or should we just say: “Bah! Humbug!!”