Entrepreneurship and Global Capitalism

Course Number 1130

Professor Geoffrey G. Jones
Fall: Q1Q2; 3 credits
28 Sessions
Option of paper or final exam

Content and Organization

EGC consists of four modules:

  • The first examines how entrepreneurs built a global economy in the nineteenth century by creating business organizations that pursued resources and markets across borders. It shows how these pioneers in the United States, Latin America, Europe and Asia identified opportunities and managed risks in the face of challenging circumstances.

  • The second module seeks to understand the spectacular reversal of globalization from the 1920s, as wars, the Great Depression, and the enormous wealth gap between the rich West and the rest of the world, prompted governments to respond. It explores the role entrepreneurs played in causing the widespread questioning of the legitimacy of global capitalism during this period, and their responses to their challenging environment.

  • The third module shows how entrepreneurs rebuilt global capitalism and global markets after World War 2, but with much of the world opting out with closed economies and Communist states.

  • The final module examines the creation of today's new global economy between 1979 and the present day as Brazil, Russia, India, China and other countries opened their borders to global capitalism. It employs the lessons of history to understand the nature of today's business opportunities, and explores how entrepreneurs can respond to current risks of de-globalization.

EGC offers a wide-ranging framework for understanding the role of entrepreneurs in shaping global capitalism. It provides cases on entrepreneurs and firms from many countries who were active in pursuits ranging from opium trading and luxury watches to fashion, beauty, shipping, finance and information and communications technologies. The course includes some of the world's most well-known entrepreneurs, as well as some of the most infamous, and shows their roles in the major events of the last century, from Gandhi's struggle for Indian Independence to the nightmare of Nazi Germany. Placing business in a broad political, economic and cultural context, the course explores the challenging decisions and ethical dilemmas entrepreneurs have faced in countries with repressive regimes and failed states in different historical eras. By reviewing the historical evidence on global entrepreneurship, it provides perspective and a unique learning opportunity for those considering careers both in entrepreneurship and general management. It demonstrates the critical role of entrepreneurs and business leaders in sustaining the foundations of global capitalism.