So, if you’re like me your first question is, “what’s political economy?”
You well get a great definition from UC Berkeley Economics Professor Brad DeLong’s introductory lecture of his fall 2007 course Political Economy 101. In short, he will tell you that political economy is an interdisciplinary subject, combining the insights and tools of history, political science, economics and sociology (with perhaps a bit of psychology thrown in for good measure).
The rest of the course gives a quick tour through major political and economic thinkers of the 20th century, including Milton Friedman, Joseph Schumpeter and John Maynard Keynes.
You can download most of the lectures for this course from DeLong’s Coffee and Tea Audio Podcasts page, which also includes lectures on a variety of topics and economics, along with course lectures for his fall 2007 American Economic History course.
Technical note: the easiest way to download the lectures is to click on the “subscribe” link on the audio podcasts page. This will allow you to subscribe to DeLong’s podcast through iTunes or another podcast reading program. This still will not get you the first two lectures of Political Economy 101. You can listen to those lectures by going to his Coffee and Tea Audio Archive, and scrolling to the bottom of the page. When you click on the lecture link, the audio file will begin playing if you have a QuickTime plug-in for your browser. If you want to listen to these first two lectures on your MP3 player, you need to find out where your browser stores temporary audio files. On my computer, for Internet Explorer, I found the files in this directory: documents and settings\user\local settings\temporary Internet files. Delong’s lectures will have the extension m4a. You can then copy the files from there to your MP3 player.