Assignment 1: Two Short Essays
Due: Upon completion of Unit 2
Weighting: 15% of final grade
Length: Approximately 200 words (1 page) each; total of 400 to 450 words
Instructions: Select two (2) of the following questions and prepare a short-essay response to
1. Is Hunt and Lautzenheiser’s discussion of the impossibility of a work of political
economy being wholly “value free” convincing? Why or why not? On what basis do
the authors make their claims, and why is such a contention problematic in their
2. Hunt and Lautzenheiser, as well as Wood, seek to denaturalize capitalism. In their
view, what are the central differences between feudal and capitalist class relations?
Why are they critical of the “natural” model of capitalism, instead arguing that it was
a long and bloody process of dispossession?
3. Compare and contrast the philosophies of Aristotle and Khaldun. On what grounds
are their theoretical views similar and where do they differ? And are their ideas
Each short essay must include the following components:
• a title and a title page;
• a brief introduction that provides an overview of the topic to be discussed;
• a main section that develops and substantiates the issues mentioned in the
• a summary/conclusion section that pulls together or summarizes what your essay
discusses; it should briefly outline the significance of the topic as well as any
conclusions you may have reached; and
• a “References” page that properly cites the source of the material referenced in
If you need help with essay writing or producing a bibliography, go to the Athabasca University
Library’s “Help Centre” and click on the “Writing” link. Here you will find advice on researching
and academic writing, proper referencing formats, and preparing bibliographies. If you have
any difficulties preparing this assignment, contact your tutor immediately.
When you have completed your two short essays, make copies for your records. Upload your
completed assignment as a single document file. Do not email assignments.
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return to this page to check for your grade and your tutor’s feedback. When you receive your
graded assignment, review your tutor’s comments and, if necessary, contact your tutor to
discuss the results.
Hunt and Lautzenheiser argue that a work of political economy cannot be wholly “value free.” They make this claim on the basis that all political economists have their own values and beliefs, which inevitably influence their work. For example, a political economist who believes that capitalism is the best economic system is likely to produce work that supports this view. Conversely, a political economist who believes that capitalism is flawed is likely to produce work that criticizes it.
Hunt and Lautzenheiser argue that this is not necessarily a bad thing. They believe that it is important for political economists to be upfront about their values and beliefs, so that readers can understand their work in the proper context. They also believe that it is important for political economists to be open to different perspectives, and to be willing to challenge their own beliefs.
I find Hunt and Lautzenheiser’s argument to be convincing. I believe that it is impossible for anyone to be completely objective, and that all work is influenced by the values and beliefs of the author. I also believe that it is important for people to be aware of the biases of the sources they are reading, so that they can make informed decisions about what to believe.
Hunt and Lautzenheiser, as well as Wood, seek to denaturalize capitalism. They argue that capitalism is not a natural or inevitable system, but rather a historical product. They point out that capitalism arose in a specific historical context, and that it is not the only possible economic system.
Hunt and Lautzenheiser argue that the central difference between feudal and capitalist class relations is that in feudalism, the relationship between the classes is based on personal ties, while in capitalism, the relationship between the classes is based on economic relations. In feudalism, the landlord-serf relationship is based on personal loyalty and obligation. The serf is bound to the land and to the landlord, and the landlord is obligated to provide the serf with protection and sustenance. In capitalism, the relationship between the capitalist and the worker is based on economic exchange. The worker sells their labor power to the capitalist in exchange for a wage. The capitalist then uses the worker’s labor power to produce goods or services, which are then sold for a profit.
Hunt and Lautzenheiser argue that the “natural” model of capitalism is a myth. They argue that capitalism was not a natural or inevitable development, but rather a product of historical forces. They also argue that capitalism is not a perfect system, and that it has many flaws. For example, they argue that capitalism is inherently exploitative, and that it leads to inequality and poverty.
I find Hunt and Lautzenheiser’s argument to be convincing. I believe that capitalism is not a natural or inevitable system, but rather a historical product. I also believe that capitalism has many flaws, and that it is important to be aware of these flaws.