What is Political Economy?

What is the proper relationship between politics and economics?  Many have asked this question throughout the history of Western Civilization, and it forms the basis of a field of study known as political economy.

Unfortunately, for the past hundred years, the disciplines of politics and economics have become steadily more separate. One result of this separation is the tendency to lose sight of the important connections between forms of government and economic systems and the consequences that those connections have for the people that live in them.

Ashland University’s Department of History and Political Science has brought the field of study back to higher education with the introduction of the Political Economy major. Students in the program read and discuss the writings of some of the most thoughtful authors on the subject from Xenophon, to Adam Smith, to Karl Marx. They seek answers to questions like: What economic policy should leaders adopt? How do laws affect entrepreneurs trying to change the face of technology? Is economic growth opposed to morality? Why are some nations rich and others poor? What is the relationship between economics and a free society?

To address these questions and many more, they study primary texts in the history of politics and economics using the Socratic method. They read and discuss the actual words of the greatest thinkers on the subject rather than merely reading books about them. Through this course of study, our program aims to educate future leaders in the fields of economics, politics, and business who are equipped with knowledge of the relationship between politics and economics.

About the Ashbrook Academy

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The Ashbrook Academies are summer programs designed for rising high school juniors and seniors who share a deep interest in American history, politics, and economics. Unlike other courses or programs that tend to erode young Americans’ proper pride in their country by emphasizing its historical failures, the Academy invites students to consider the American experiment as a historical triumph, a victory for reason and the human spirit that warrants grateful celebration but also demands serious study.

The Academy on American History meets for seven days (June 16-22, 2019), while the Academy on Political Economy meets for three days (July 22-24, 2019). Both convene at the Ashbrook Center on the campus of Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio immersing participants in a deep study of the biggest challenges that have faced our Republic.

The Ashbrook Academies take history, politics, and economics out of textbooks and into your life. By the end of the program, students will have acquired a deep understanding of the fundamental principles that define and unite us as Americans.

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