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Introduction to Political Economy looks at how politics and economics interrelate, but also how political economy can encompass a lot more than just politics and economics. Over the course of this podcast we will also be inviting scholars from different disciplines and perspectives to speak to us about how they approach these kinds of questions. Hosted by Noaman G. Ali, assistant professor of political economy at the Lahore University of Management Sciences in Pakistan.
 
This is Mill’s first work on economics. It foreshadows his Political Economy which was the standard Anglo-American Economics textbook of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Mill’s economic theory moved from free market capitalism, to government intervention within the precepts of Utilitarianism, and finally to Socialism.
 
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This second episode of a two-part podcast explores two aspects of the Filipino peasant movement -- organizing around land and farmers rights through the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the Peasant Movement of the Philippines, and policy advocacy for food sovereignty through the People's Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS). Both organizatio…
 
The Philippines is one of the deadliest countries in the world to be an environmental or land-based activist. Its rural poverty and highly unequal landownership is maintained by military force, while the Philippines' farmers find themselves subordinated to unequal international agricultural trade policies. But the country also has vibrant and milit…
 
While China was "closed" for the most part to the world market under its socialist, planned economy model from 1949 to 1978, most of the population worked in agrarian collectives, which are often blamed for being so unproductive as to have contributed to mass famine. From 1978 on China adopted market-oriented reforms, starting with decollectivizing…
 
The farmer's movement in India continues massive protests against the new farm laws introduced by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government under prime minister Narendra Modi. Some critics have alleged that the farmers' unions leading the protests represent the "rich farmers" who dominate the countryside, oppressing poor farmers and landless labo…
 
Scholars of the agrarian question in the 20th century asked how capitalist relations were developing in the countryside, what role peasants (cultivators) played in politics, and what role agricultural production would play in funding industry—the agrarian question would be resolved when a society achieved the structural transformation from agricult…
 
Peasant movements shaped the conversations and policies that were part of decolonization in much of the Global South, including conversations about land reform and the privileges of landed elites. In post-colonial countries, problems around food availability also pressed ruling elites to pursue strategies of agrarian reform that again reshaped clas…
 
When capitalist colonialism reshaped the landscape and agrarian relations in South Asia, how did peasants — those who tilled the land — respond? Often, they did so through resistance, including by joining movements that were led by radicals inspired by socialist and communist ideals. What was the link between changing agrarian political economy and…
 
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly referred to China as the model for Pakistan to follow in pursuing economic growth and development, echoing development policy discussions about a "China model." From 1949 to 1978 China was "closed" for the most part to the world market under its socialist, planned economy model. But from 1978 on i…
 
Three farm bills passed by the government of prime minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) in India have ignited mass protests. In recent days tens and hundreds of millions of farmers and workers have taken to protest in India, especially in its agricultural heartlands of which Punjab is the most prominent. Thousands of Punjabis …
 
The mainstream approaches to climate mitigation that revolve around carbon pricing and trading appear to be limited in actually reducing carbon emissions, particularly in the advanced capitalist countries of the Global North. In response, many politicians and groups have called for even more radical approaches. One such approach is the Green New De…
 
Although many regions of the world are declaring success in reducing the carbon emissions that cause climate change, overall global carbon emissions have gone up and not down. Is it crafty accounting that allows regions like the European Union to say they have reduced emissions? Even if emissions have gone down, they’re nowhere near on course to me…
 
Has the implementation of market-oriented policies of fiscal austerity and free trade (neoliberalism) led to greater prosperity and a dramatic reduction in poverty over the last thirty years? In many countries, a curious phenomenon can be observed of increased per capita incomes but declining per capita calorie intake or food availability. Are peop…
 
Pakistan was colonized by the British alongside the rest of the South Asian subcontinent. But the basic nature of colonialism is often misunderstood, especially by the former colonizers -- the British were here to extract wealth, and the nature and magnitude of this extraction needs to be understood. What did "the Drain" mean for living standards i…
 
By now it's well understood that COVID-19, like many other infectious or communicable diseases, does not hit everyone equally. In Global North countries like the United States, Canada and United Kingdom, as well as in Global South countries like South Africa, working class and low-income communities, who also happen to belong to marginalized racial…
 
Regardless of what explains unprecedented economic growth in the West, the question remains why the rest of the world did not then catch up. One thing that is easy to underestimate, given how little we are taught about it, is how our “underdeveloped” present is shaped by the colonial past. Colonialism shaped, changed and in some cases implanted new…
 
Why are some countries rich, while others are poor? How did we get from a world of "surprising resemblances" to one where Europe pulled ahead while other major regions seem to have gotten left behind? Previously we discussed the role of culture and institutions in these transitions. But some scholars look more closely to the category of capitalism …
 
Why are some countries rich, while other countries are poor? It wasn't always the way it is now. For centuries the Middle East was doing better than Europe economically (among other things), and South Asia and China were in their own ways even worth considering as centres of the world economy up to the 1700s. Around this time most regions of the wo…
 
How does labour get reproduced? When a worker comes home tired and hungry, how does that worker then get ready for the next day or next thing? Feminist economists have long pointed to the socially reproductive labour -- such as cooking, cleaning, and emotion labour -- that women do in the household. Is there a relationship between that kind of soci…
 
How does a virus like SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, spread so rapidly and widely? A world that is increasingly connected through trade and travel has a lot to do with it. But a lot of these connections have to do global networks of production -- the commodities we buy and sell are actually produced in many countries before being finished in on…
 
Where do new diseases like COVID-19 come from? How do they jump from wild animals to humans? I look at the work of economic geographer Mike Davis and evolutionary biologist and epidemiologist Rob Wallace, who argue that the way we produce our food, and particularly livestock, under the logic of industrial capitalism, has a lot to do with it. Music …
 
What, exactly, is political economy? I talk about two broad and somewhat different ways of approaching political economy: the mainline approach and the critical approach. I finish up talking about how the impact of the Spanish Flu of 1918-1919 in South Asia cannot be understood without understanding the political economy of which it was a part. Mus…
 
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