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2023/2024  BA-BHAAA2404U  The Nature of Danish Capitalism

English Title
The Nature of Danish Capitalism

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 2.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration Summer
Start time of the course Summer
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Min. participants 30
Max. participants 60
Study board
Study Board for BSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Martin Jes Iversen - Department of Strategy and Innovation (SI)
Main academic disciplines
  • Philosophy and ethics
  • International political economy
  • Political Science
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 13-12-2023

Relevant links

Learning objectives
The overall goal of the course is to give the student an understanding of the central elements in the nature of national capitalism, specific institutional arrangements, the features and challenges. Based on such knowledge, the student should be able to provide robust explanations on both global and local social phenomena’s, which make better policy predictions and evaluate business strategy and social policy. To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or
  • Explain and discuss central elements of capitalism in national and global contexts with reference to theory and history.
  • Explain how capitalist institutions and methods shape modern concerns and issues.
  • Understand how and why the Danish version of capitalism came to be, including the pro and cons and general features.
  • Be able to make institutional analysis based on history, empirical data, and theoretical concerns.
The Nature of Danish Capitalism:
Exam ECTS 2,5
Examination form Active participation

The completion of this course is based on active student participation in class. The course will be considered as passed if the students participation - based on an overall assessment - in the class activities fulfill the learning objectives of the course. The individual student’s participation is assessed by the teacher.
The student must participate in Assignment(s)
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Grading scale Pass / Fail
Examiner(s) Assessed solely by the teacher
Exam period Summer
Make-up exam/re-exam Oral exam based on written product
The oral part of the re-take is online.
In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance.
Size of written product: Max. 5 pages
Assignment type: Essay
Duration: 20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Examiner(s): If it is an internal examination, there will be a second internal examiner at the re-exam. If it is an external examination, there will be an external examiner.
Description of activities
Assignment(s): The student must participate in minimum 80 % of the scheduled teaching. In addition, the student must do some multiple-choice tests.

The tests consists of 5-10 questions given after each lecture on Canvas. The student must do 4 of the six tests. The answers are found in the readings and the lectures to ensure that reading and lectures are read and attended.
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

While the global world today is uniform in many aspects of market-based organization, such as openness to trade and travel, local differences in institutions and methods of capitalism do exist. Often such differences can be important to know, appreciate, and even understand for global business to be successful locally. Current institutional arrangements are often path dependent and this course will equip the students with the tools to disentangle the nature of the many types of capitalism found in the world, by focusing on capitalism generally and Denmark specifically.



Description of the teaching methods
The course relies heavy on classical theory, the main pedagogical approach is lectures with small exercises and discussions.
Feedback during the teaching period
Feedback is given during lectures and multiple choice quizzes
Student workload
Lectures 18 hours
Activities 52 hours
Further Information

2-week course that cannot be combined with any other course.

Expected literature

Course plan and readings


Each lesson is three hours


Class Teacher Topic Readings
1 SKS – 3 hours

Introduction: What does Capitalism mean?


Trade policy or competition - A public choice perspective.

Sløk-Madsen, S. K. (2022). Danish Capitalism in the 20th Century: A Business History of an Innovistic Mixed Economy. (London: Palgrave Macmillan).

McCloskey, D. N. (2021).

Liberalism Caused the Modern World, CEPOS. (https:/​/​cepos.dk/​publications/​liberalism-caused-the-modern-world/​)

Cowen, T.  (2022). Why economic growth should be a priority for policymakers, CEPOS (https:/​/​cepos.dk/​media/​6198/​tyler-cowen-essay-english.pdf)

Schumpeter Essential playlist:





Carden, A. (forthcoming). Industrial Trade Policy or Competition?


Tullock, G. “The Welfare Costs of Tariffs, Monopolies, and Theft”, Western Economic

Journal, 5:3 (1967) 224-232. (https:/​/​cameroneconomics.com/​tullock%201967.pdf)


Munger, M. C. (2015). “Public Choice Economics”, International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, Vol. 19, 2. Ed. 534-539


Supplementary reading:

Henrich, J. (2020). The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous.


McCloskey, D. N., & Carden, A. (2020). Leave Me Alone and I'll Make You Rich. In Leave Me Alone and I'll Make You Rich. University of Chicago Press.


Ottesen, Jim. Tedx Talk: Honorable Business https:/​/​www.ted.com/​talks/​jim_otteson_honorable_business

2 SKS – 3 hours Institutions and Rules

North, D. C. (1994). “Economic Performance Through Time”, The American Economic Review, 84(3),

pp. 359-368.


Smith, V. L. (2003). “Constructivist and Ecological Rationality in Economics.”, The American Economic Review, 93(3): 465-508.


Paine, T. (1791). “Of Society and Civilization”, In: The Rights of Man.


Hayek, F. A. (1973). “Made Order and Spontaneous Ones.”, In: Law Legislation and Liberty.


Supplementary reading:

Podcast: EconRoots Talk: Munger on North.

3 SKS – 3 hours Planning and Prices

Mises, L. (1920). Economic Calculation in Socialist Commonwealth, 





Hayek, F. A. (1945). “The Use of Knowledge in Society”, The American Economic Review, 35(4): 519-530.


Coase, R. (1937). “The Nature of the Firm.”, Economica, 4(16): 386-405.


Williamson O. (1996). “Economics and Organization: A Primer”, California Management Review, 38(2): 131-146.

4 SKS – 3 hours Morality, Culture and Community under Capitalism

Excerpts from: Smith, A. (1759). The Theory of Moral Sentiments; and Smith, A. (1776). An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.

Uploaded by teacher.


Tocqueville, A.D. (1835). “How the Americans Combat Individualism by the Principle of Self-interest Rightly Understood”. In: Democracy in America. (https:/​/​history.hanover.edu/​courses/​



Voltaire (1726/1729). “Letter X – On Trade”, In: Letters on the English.



Voltaire (1736). “The Worldling”, In: Clark, H. C. (ed.) (2003). Commerce, Culture, and Liberty: Readings on Capitalism Before Adam Smith



Voltaire (1738). “On Commerce and Luxury”, In: Clark, H. C. (ed.) (2003). Commerce, Culture, and Liberty:

Readings on Capitalism Before Adam Smith



Video on Rousseau: “Political Theory Jean-Jacques Rousseau”



Video on Rousseau: “An Overview of Rousseau’s Discourse on Inequality”



Video on Thorstein Veblen and the Leisure Class



Supplementary reading:

Muller, J. (2002). The Mind and the Market: Capitalism in Western Thought.


Hirschman, A. O. (2013). The Passions and the Interests.


Rousseau, J. (1755). Discourse on Inequality.


Horwitz, S. (2015). Hayek's Modern Family: Classical Liberalism and the Evolution of Social Institutions. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan).


Cowen, T. (2000). In Praise of Commercial Culture. (Boston: Harvard University Press).


Matthew, A. (1869). Culture and Anarchy – and Other Writings.


Weber, M. (1905). The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.


Simmel, G. (1900). The Philosophy of Money.


Simmel, G. (1964). Conflict and the Web of Group-Affiliations. (New York: Free Press).

5 MJI or SKS Danish Capitalism – the last 200 years

Chapter 2-3 in Sløk-Madsen, S. K. (2022). Danish Capitalism in the 20th Century: A Business History of an Innovistic Mixed Economy. (London: Palgrave Macmillan).

Chapter 4-5 in Sløk-Madsen, S. K. (2022). Danish Capitalism in the 20th Century: A Business History of an Innovistic Mixed Economy. (London: Palgrave Macmillan).

6 MJI Business history - important cases: Similarities and differences  
Last updated on 13-12-2023