LABOR – History of Ideas and Political Economy (Seminar)

Man works to live. – Karl Marx (1818 – 1883)

Man lives to work. – John Calvin (1509 – 1564)

Labor is both a central category in modern thought, and in economics. This course tracks critical formulations, describes the elementary economics of who is earning what, for what work, and questions the human cooperating condition. The class offers a schizodisciplinary synthesis of history of ideas, political economy and social anthropology.

Equal Opportunity (Seminar)

Why do we become so unequal, and why would that be unfair? The course introduces participants to social scientific theories, applies them to education and migration and offers observations from a german inner city school. We’ll discuss how things might be better, and who, how, can bring about such change – to keep our capitalist and liberal societies prosperous, and to make it more just. A seminar with Anja Jungermann at Deutschen SchülerAkademie 2010-2 in Brunswick, Germany.

E-Democracy – Opportunity for Greater Participation? (Seminar)

Computer science, sociological, mathematical, political and statistic perspectives on the essential question how postindustrial, liberal democracy can organise unity in diversity in the modern world.

Statistics & Probability I (Section)

Today was my first day of teaching at UCI. “Statistics and Probability”, the class I will be holding discussion sections for three times a week, starting this week, is a three quarter series, introducing (mostly freshman) undergraduates to basic issues of statistical methods. The subject, it occurred to me today, is unlikely to be overly popular amongst the students at UCI, as is probably the case everywhere else, too. I, for my part, am determined to make the section as entertaining and applied in focus as possible, and I hope that desperate ice-breakers of the sort of the “fun” games we did today will be rewarded by active participation.

Statistics I (Section)

Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods (Section)

Give and Take – Progressive Taxation & Deliberative Democracy (Seminar)

Taxation and democracy can be thought of as two sides of the liberal-democratic, capitalist social contract: Democracy concerns the making of collectively binding decisions, and taxation is the chief means to implement these agreed-upon plans within the market exchanges of free agents. Taxation thereby delineates the boundary of private property and collective responsibility, but it also shapes the material conditions under which citizens exercise their political autonomy. Taxation and democracy, along with their mutual dependencies and contradictions, in short, are deeply implicated in social scientific questions of rule and power, social integration and inequality.

As institutions, they are also the (only?) site, where progress might happen. This seminar looks at two such reform proposals, equally radical and pragmatic: progressive taxation and deliberative democracy.