Part 10 of 9 in series "Online courses per topic"

The future of globalization and free trade has become a hot topic of discussion ever since the COVID-19 outbreak. In this post a number of courses to learn more about globalization and free trade from a variety of (disciplinary) perspectives, plus a course on how local economic development can be achieved in a globalized world. The courses included are:

  1. Globalization: Past and Future (Columbia University)
  2. Globalization’s Winners and Losers (Georgetown University)
  3. Global Markets and Personal Impacts (University of Washington)
  4. The Future of Globalization; Understanding Opposition (University of Grenoble)
  5. Globalisation (Oxford University)
  6. Local Economic Development (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

1. Globalization: Past and Future

Is globalization a new phenomenon or a cyclical pattern throughout human history?” is the teaser question for the course ‘Globalisation: Past and Future’, taught by economist Jeffrey Sachs from Columbia University. A cyclical pattern, is his answer:

“In this four-part mini-course, Professor Jeffrey Sachs argues that we have always lived in a global world. He takes students on a historical and anthropological tour of six distinct waves of globalization and outlines the key factors that drove innovation, technology dispersal and development during these epochs. The course tells the story of a global humanity and asks the question: What lessons can we pull from history to help understand the tumultuous changes underway today?”

And this is what you will learn:

  • The six waves of globalization, from trade by sea to the fourth industrial revolution
  • Emerging leaders — the nations pushing progress and dominating the global economy
  • Globalization and sustainable development — the value of a shared global vision and ethics

The course is hosted on the EdX platform.

2. Globalization’s Winners and Losers

The course ‘Globalization’s Winners and Losers: Challenges for Developed and Developing Countries’ examines

how the spread of trade, investment, and technology across borders affects firms, workers, and communities in developed and developing countries. It investigates who gains from globalization and who is hurt or disadvantaged by globalization. Global experts from public and private sectors share insights on current trends and challenges. Course participants will develop their global acumen and will learn about issues faced by leaders in today’s international business and public policy environment.

Questions explored include:

  • How can developing countries avoid the “resource curse”?
  • What are some possible methods to deal with possible “sweatshop” abuses?
  • How can emerging market economies take advantage of supply chains from local firms into developed country markets?
  • How might globalization contribute to wage inequality in developed countries?
  • Should developed countries protect or promote manufacturing jobs?
  • Is China becoming an economic “superpower”?
  • Is the United States in economic decline?

The course is taught on the Coursera platform by a team of four professors from Georgetown University in the areas of international business & finance, business diplomacy and Africa studies.

3. Global Markets and Personal Impacts

Analyze globalization using evidence-based methods to address current issues that affect us personally and economically amidst worldwide market-led forces“, is the teaser for the course ‘Global markets and Personal Impacts’. The description:

“This globalization course focuses on the ways market-led macro-economic reforms associated with globalization (such as free trade agreements and privatization initiatives) have come together with much more micro innovations in how personal behavior is organized by market forces (rethinking education as a personal investment practice, for example, or outsourcing dating to for-profit companies).”

Introducing Globalization; Ties, Tensions and Uneven IntegrationAnd this is what you will learn:

  • Describe the main debates and controversies surrounding globalization.
  • Analyze the ties and tensions of uneven global development.
  • Understand the growing impact of global market integration.
  • Synthesize knowledge of market globalization with your own experiences of market forces and market reforms.
  • Evaluate the way in which market forces define and delimit personal choices and everyday life globally
  • Develop capacity to respond and reflect personally amidst the ties and tensions of market-led globalization.

The course is taught by Matthew Sparke, a professor of international studies, geography and global health of the University of Washington and is hosted on the EdX platform. The physical course that led to this online course also led to a book, titled Introducing Globalization: Ties, Tensions, and Uneven Integration (Wiley, 2013), a book that he recommends you to read along with taking the course.

4. The Future of Globalization; Understanding Opposition


The subtitle of the course ‘Global Studies: The Future of Globalization’ is actually more informative than the course title: understanding opposition to globalization. This is what it is about:

Governments and citizens across the world either try and benefit from globalization (and try to limit its negative effects) or try to avoid it. On this course you’ll learn about some of the reasons why people are either pro or anti globalization. You’ll discover why some governments and countries choose boundaries and demarcation and others choose integration.”

And these are the topics addressed:

  • Defection from alliances, treaties and organizations
  • Democratic fatigue and populist demands
  • Regionalization and Europeanization
  • Xenophobia and cosmopolitanism
  • Relocations and economic nationalism
  • Protectionism and global competition

It is a course on the EdX platform, taught by Yves Schemeil
professor of political science at the University of Grenoble Alpes & Institut Universitaire de France. The course is suitable for a wide audience; it does not require specific previous knowledge.

5. Globalisation

Advanced Introduction to GlobalisationThe online course Globalisation by the University of Oxford is described as follows:

“Everybody is talking about ‘globalisation’ – but what does it really mean? What factors drive globalisation and what are the consequences for all of us? How can and should we govern processes of globalisation? Do we need more or fewer global institutions? Whether you’re interested in the effects of the 2008 credit crunch and global recession, the role of transnational corporations or the impact of emerging technologies this short course will enable you to find out more.”

The following topics are on the program:

  1. Introduction: What is globalisation?
  2. The global economy: The 2008 credit crunch, recession and recovery
  3. Globalisation in historical context
  4. International trade and industrial policy
  5. The role of transnational corporations and foreign direct investment
  6. Globalisation and economic development
  7. Global inequalities
  8. The globalisation of technology
  9. Towards a low-carbon future?
  10. The future for the world economy

This is a more serious and expensive course than the previous MOOCs included in this post; It prescribes various readings, including the book An Advanced Introduction to Globalisation (Edward Elgar, 2017). The fee for participating is £300.

6.Local Economic Development

What is local economic development, you may wonder. The following, according to the course description:

“Local economic development refers to the processes by which local governments, businesses, and civil society groups get together to raise income sustainably and improve their lives in a well-defined area. It’s about creating jobs, securing livelihoods, improving infrastructure and managing local resources.”

The sort of questions that the course ‘Local Economic Development‘ addresses are the following:

  • Why does economic development take place in some areas of the world and not in others?
  • Why doesn’t it happen in your place?
  • What prevents people from having the lives they want to live right there?
  • Could your region make more of the opportunities of globalization and new technologies?
  • Did the promises of decentralization in your country fail to deliver better public services and more responsive governments?

Topics discussed in the course include “main factors affecting local economic development, such as globalization, decentralisation, and competitiveness.

The team teaching this course consists of researchers from two academic institutes that are part of Erasmus University Rotterdam: the Institute for Housing& Urban Development Studies and the Institute of Social Studies (an authority in the area of development studies). Watch the lecture on ‘defining economic development’ to get a taste of the course.


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Series "Online courses per topic":

Do you feel like you have enough knowledge to contribute to debates in the area of the ethics of markets, economics and business? If not, this series of blog posts introduces ‘Massive Open Online Courses’ (MOOCs) that you can take from anywhere in the world.


Articles in this series:
  1. PHILOSOPHY, POLITICS and ECONOMICS – Six Foundational Online Courses
  2. ECONOMIC GROWTH, INEQUALITY, JUSTICE and WELL-BEING – Six Online Courses
  3. BUSINESS ETHICS – Five Online Courses
  4. ALTERNATIVE BUSINESS MODELS – Five Online Courses
  5. HOW MARKETS WORK – Five Online Economics Courses
  6. FINANCE, MONEY and BANKING – Six Online Courses
  7. THE HISTORY AND FUTURE OF CAPITALISM – Six Online Courses
  8. MARX, MARXISM & COMMUNISM – Six Online Courses
  9. GLOBALIZATION & FREE TRADE – Six Online Courses