Online Course

Economics is at root about the organization of material and technical resources to meet human needs. Traditional economic approaches that focus on the 'rational economic actor' miss the important social underpinnings of economic reality.

This course is an introduction to key concepts such as work, well-being, the social economy and human needs.


  • The ‘story of stuff’ and the ‘story of money’
  • The concept of the economic surplus
  • Long-run developments
  • Human progress and well-being
  • Inequality and efficiency
  • The market, the state and economies of reciprocity
  • Market failure, state failure
  • Crisis and change
  • Alternative models: Marxist economics, feminist economics, green economics
  • Maximizing well-being
  • Can there be a ‘postcapitalist’ society?

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Course curriculum

  • 1

    Quick Start

    • Welcome and Introduction

    • Course Syllabus

    • Tasks and Assignments

  • 2

    Introduction: Economy, Welfare and Work

    • Seminar: Economy, Welfare and Work

    • Key Learning (SE4301-01)

    • Social Analysis (W3-01)

  • 3

    Nasty, Brutish and Short

    • Seminar: Nasty, Brutish and Short

    • Key Learning (SE4301-02)

    • Social Analysis (W3-02)

  • 4

    Welfare and Wellbeing

    • Seminar: Welfare and Wellbeing

    • Key Learning (SE4301-03)

    • Social Analysis (W3-03)

  • 5

    Money and Markets

    • Seminar: Money and Markets

    • Key Learning (SE4301-04)

    • Social Analysis (W3-04)

  • 6

    Economic Models (1) Marxian Economics

    • Seminar: Marxian Economics

    • Key Learning (SE4301-05)

    • Social Analysis (W3-05)

  • 7

    Economic Models (2) Feminist Economics

    • Seminar: Feminist Economics

    • Key Learning (SE4301-06)

    • Social Analysis (W3-06)

  • 8

    Economic Models (3) Green Economics

    • Seminar: Green Economics

    • Key Learning (SE4301-07)

    • Social Analysis (W3-07)

  • 9

    The Dynamics of Welfare Change (1) Technological Change

    • Seminar: Technological Change

    • Key Learning Exercise (SE4301-08)

    • Social Analysis (W3-08)

  • 10

    The Dynamics of Welfare Change (2) Financial Change

    • Seminar: Financial Change

    • Key Learning Exercise (SE4301-09)

    • Social Analysis Exercise (W3-09)

  • 11

    The Dynamics of Welfare Change (3) Welfare Change and Inequality

    • Seminar: Welfare Change and Inequality

    • Key Learning Exercise (SE4301-10)

    • Social Analysis Exercise (W3-10)

  • 12

    Conclusion: A Postcapitalist Society?

    • Seminar: A Postcapitalist Society?

  • 13

    Course Completion

    • Assignment 1: Learning Journal

    • Assignment 2: Social Analysis Workbook

    • Assignment 3: Essay