Información general

In this course you will be introduced to the problem of power and wealth in its historic development. We will discuss the origins of the state, the nature of the political order, and the relationship between capitalism and socialism, authoritarianism and democracy. The focus of analysis is comparative and theoretical. I will be drawing on both classic writers and modern scholars. We will seek to answer such questions as: what is power? What are its origins and driving forces? What do we know about the origins of the state?

While the concept and the reality of political power will be the main foci of analysis, we will also discuss power generally speaking, the problem of anarchy and lawlessness, war-making and state-making, authority and legitimacy. The course will touch upon different forms of rule, as described by classic thinkers, and pose the question about the relationship between power and wealth, or, in other words, political power and economic power.

This will bring us to the consideration of modern society’s main problem-solving instruments and forms of social organization: capitalism and democracy. We will consider the role that the capitalist state plays in the organization of economic life and the maintenance of capitalist patterns of wealth accumulation, distribution and control. The course will also touch on such issues as social inequality, elites and masses, power and ethics, opening debate on potential threats that disruptive technologies may present to democracies.

The learning objectives include getting a better appreciation of such concepts as:

  • State, power, and wealth
  • Capitalism and democracy
  • Socialism and communism
  • Liberalism and democracy
  • Individualism and collectivism
  • Modern technology and democracy



This is a lecture/seminar course that will require active reading and participation in the online work and assignments. The lectures will introduce topical issues and provide some illustrations. The seminar will be provided online in the form of your questions answered by the instructor and your statements/answers that the instructor may share with the rest of the class.



Political Power and The State
Readings: Hobbes; Schopenhauer

Individual and Society: Power and Ethics
Readings: Tilly: Lenin

Socialism, Capitalism and Democracy
Readings: Weber; Lenin;  Orwell
Readings: Weber; Orwell
Supplementary readings: Plato; Aristotle



Mikhail Molchanov

University of Salamanca, Global and International Studies Program

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