College Of Arts And Sciences | Big Business and American Society
E104 | 0174 | McGerr

10:10-11:00A, MW, WH 101

This course analyzes the lives of the two most controversial businesspeople
of different eras in order to explore the impact of big business on American
society.  Rather than a study in economics, the class focuses on the social,
cultural, and political consequences of economic power. Inspiring both fear
and admiration, Bill Gates and John D. Rockefeller posed difficult
challenges for American society.  To gauge those challenges, we will make an
intensive comparison of the two billionaires: their rise, their companies,
their values, their mansions, their families, their philanthropies, their
pleasures, and their politics.

In studying Gates and Rockefeller, we will use a broad range of
evidence--journalism, film, fiction, architecture, advertising,
documentaries, letters, cartoons, court documents, and autobiographies.
Students will wrote short analyses of assigned readings and make an oral
presentation in discussion sections.  There will be an in-class midterm and
then a final examination during the regular exam period.