Capitalism, Business Cycles and Financial Crises


Andrew Mullineux

Introduction and Aims

The module will consider the competing models of capitalism within the globalising world economy and the evolution of modern (financial) capitalism and its current (2007-09) crisis. The cause(s) of business cycles as the means of the economic development under capitalism will be analysed taking account of the perspectives of Marx, Schumpeter, Keynes, Hayek and Friedman and more recent contributions. The reasons for the occurrence of financial crisis will be explored (Minsky’s financial instability hypothesis etc) and the interaction between the financial and the real sector business cycles will be considered. Policy responses aimed at reducing the amplitude of cycles and the severity of financial crises will be examined in detail in light of the 2007 to 2009 crisis.

Objectives and Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • Understand the nature of competing capitalism’s within the globalising economy.
  • Understand why business cycles and financial crises occur.
  • Understand how the ‘real’ and the financial sectors interact over a cycle.
  • Analyse policy proposals for reducing the incidence and severity of financial crises and business cycles.


Individual Assignment 5,000 words (100%)