Collective Action: Ethics and Policy

Spring 2014, Stanford University
Winter 2013, Stanford University



January 8
Optional: Peter Singer, "Famine, Affluence, and Morality"
Optional: Milton Friedman, selection from "The Role of Government in a Free Society" (full article)

January 10
Required: Garrett Hardin, "The Tragedy of the Commons"
Required: Derek Parfit, "Practical Dilemmas" (Chapter 2 of Reasons and Persons -- pp. 53-66)
Optional: Thomas Schelling, selections from Micromotives and Macrobehavior
Review Questions for Jan 10 Readings

January 15
Required: Derek Parfit, "Five Mistakes in Moral Mathematics" and "Theories that are Directly Self-Defeating" (Chapters 3 and 4 of Reasons and Persons -- pp. 67-110)
Required: Gerald Gaus, "Is Voting Rational?"
Review Questions for Jan 15 Readings
Handout for Jan 15 (Prisoner's Dilemmas, Parfit's Main Argument, Expected Consequences, Intangible Effects)

January 17
Required: Thomas Hill, "Symbolic Protest and Calculated Silence"
Required: Kwame Anthony Appiah, "Racism and Moral Pollution"
Required: Thomas Hill, selection from "Ideals of Human Excellence and Preserving Natural Environments"
Optional: Milton Friedman, "Let the Protesters Themselves Divest"
Review Questions for Jan 17 Readings
Handout for Jan 17 (Hill and Appiah)

January 22
Required: Alvin Goldman, "Why Citizens Should Vote: A Causal Responsibility Approach"
Optional: Peter Singer and Jim Mason, "The Ethics of Eating Meat"
Review Questions for Jan 22 Readings
Handout for Jan 22 (The Paradox of Voting and Goldman)

January 24
Required: David Schmidtz, "The Institution of Property"
Review: Garrett Hardin, "The Tragedy of the Commons"
Review Questions for Jan 24 Readings
Handout for Jan 24 (General Review of the 'Ethics' Portion of the Course and Schmidtz)

January 29
Required: William Poundstone, "Bertrand Russell and John von Neumann's Argument for Preventative Nuclear War"
Required: Elinor Ostrom, selections from Governing the Commons
Required: Elizabeth Willott, "Recent Population Trends"
Optional: John F. Kennedy, speech 10 June 1963 address at American University (wiki article on the speech)
Optional: Heller and Eisenberg, "Can Patents Deter Innovation? The Anticommons in Biomedical Research"
Optional: Michael Heller, Gridlock Economy: How too Much Ownership Wrecks Markets, Stops Innovation, and Costs Lives
Optional: Lawrence Lessig, The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World
Handout for Jan 29 (Ostrom, Market Failure, Government Failure)

January 31
Required: Scott Barrett, "The Incentives to Supply Global Public Goods"
Required: Scott Barrett, "Global Public Goods that Depend on the Combined Efforts of All States"
Review Questions for Jan 31 and Feb 5 Readings
Handout for Jan 31 and Feb 5 (Barrett, Global Public Goods, Treaties)

February 5
First Paper Assignment Due in class
Required: Elinor Ostrom, "A General Framework for Analyzing Sustainability of Social-Ecological Systems"
Required: Scott Barrett, "Tipping Treaties"
Review Questions for Jan 31 and Feb 5 Readings
Handout for Jan 31 and Feb 5 (Barrett, Global Public Goods, Treaties)

February 7
Required: Thomas Schelling, "Nuclear Deterrence for the Future" (full Nobel Lecture here)
Required: Thomas Schelling, "Bargaining, Communication, and Limited War"
Required: check out the following website:
Optional: Thomas Schelling, "An Essay on Bargaining"
Optional: Thomas Schelling autobiography
Handout for Feb 7 (Schelling, Focal Points, Credible Threats)

Optional Background Reading: Climate Science
Optional: David Archer, The Long Thaw: How Humans are Changing the Next 100,000 Years of Earth's Climate (on reserve, Green Library)
Optional: Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC), Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis (accessible after reading Archer)

February 12
Required: Peter Singer, "One Atmosphere"
Required: Larry Summers, foreword to Architectures for Agreement
Optional: Stern Review Discussion of Cap and Trade: Chapters 14, 15, and 22
Optional: EPA Fact Sheet on SO2 Cap and Trade (more information here)

February 14
Midterm Exam Due in class
Required: Eric Posner and Cass Sunstein, "Climate Change Justice"
Optional: Nordhaus and Boyer, "Economic Analysis of the Kyoto Protocol", Chapter 8 of Warming the World
Optional: Robert Stavins, "Experience With Market-Based Environmental Policy Instruments"
Review Questions for Feb 14 Readings

February 19
Required: Pacala and Socolow, "Stabilization Wedges: Solving the Climate Problem for the Next 50 Years With Current Technologies"
Required: Levitt and Dubner, "Geoengineering and the Virtues of Cheap and Easy Solutions to Climate Change"
Required: James Hansen, "Three Objections to Geoengineering"
Required: Scott Barrett, discussion of geoengineering in Why Cooperate?
Optional: Robert Socolow, "Wedges Reaffirmed"
Optional: The Stabilization Wedges Game and Marketing Website

February 21
In-class Discussion of Final Paper Topic Ideas

February 26
Required: Eric Posner and David Weisbach, selections from Climate Change Justice
Review: Eric Posner and Cass Sunstein, "Climate Change Justice"
Required: Cass Sunstein, "US Should Act Unilaterally on Climate Change"
Review Questions for Feb 26 Readings

February 28
Required: Elinor Ostrom, "Green from the Grassroots"
Required: Elinor Ostrom, "A Polycentric Approach to Coping with Climate Change"
Optional: Schlager, Engel, and Rider, selections from Navigating Climate Change Policy
Optional: Elinor Ostrom, selections from Understanding Institutional Diversity
Optional: Dan Shahar, "Free-Market Environmentalism Pace Environmentalism"
Optional: Lynn Scarlett, "Choices, Consequences, and Cooperative Conservation"

March 3, 11:59pm
Second Paper Assignment Due

March 5
Required: Bill McKibben, "Global Warming's Terrifying New Math"
Required: Bill McKibben, "The Case for Fossil-Fuel Divestment"
Required: Michael Sandel, "It's Immoral to Buy the Right to Pollute" (with replies)
Optional: Dan Ariely, "The Cost of Social Norms", in Predictably Irrational
Optional: Lior Jacob Strahilevitz, "How Changes in Property Regimes Influence Social Norms: Commodifying California's Carpool Lanes"
Optional: Thomas Schelling, interview in The Atlantic (part 2 of 2)
Optional: Milton Friedman, "Let the Protesters Themselves Divest"
Optional: Desmond Tutu, "Why I support the call on Stanford University to Divest from the Israeli Occupation"

March 7
Required: John Broome, selections on individual obligations in Climate Matters: Ethics in a Warming World
Optional: Joel Feinberg, analysis of the Harm Principle in Harm to Others: The Moral Limits of the Criminal Law (Vol. 1)

March 12
Be sure to submit the last quiz assignment via coursework by 10am Tuesday March 12
Optional: Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, "It's Not My Fault: Global Warming and Individual Moral Obligations"
(No required reading so you can focus on completing the final paper)

March 14
Review and Discussion of Final Exam, which will be distributed via email at noon on Friday March 15
(No required reading so you can focus on completing the final paper)

March 18, 6:30pm
Final Paper Due via Email
Final Exam Due via Email

Optional Recommended Further Readings