It’s hard to believe that we are entering our second term at the Blavatnik School. In Hilary Term, Anne Davies and I will be co-teaching the MPP Core III course: Organization and Practice of Government. The lineup of subjects and guest lecturers promise to make for an interesting and exciting term. In the Core III course, we will consider an array of legal, political and economic aspects of government, and we have a host of guest lecturers to guide us through the term, including Oxford’s Dean of the Faculty of Law Timothy Endicott and political scientist Laurence Whitehead in the first week, human rights expert Kathryn Sikkink mid-term, and Stefan Dercon, the current chief economist of the UK Department for International Development in the final week. Topics include the rule of law, the role of states and non-state actors, weak governments and failed states, national and international security, the internationalization of law, the delivery of justice and order at the domestic and global levels, and the political implications of poverty.
Throughout the course, we will engage the local and global delivery of public services and governance. For example, when governments consider outsourcing a public service such as parks maintenance, with whom should they consider working? Are there some services that should never be outsourced? What about security? How should policy-makers in the 21st century be thinking about security at home and abroad? Are traditional defense sectors the most effective to way to provide security when individuals, as terrorists or hackers, for example, can wreak havoc in the public arena? How should we think about poverty at the domestic political level and global?
Students will engage these topics through lectures, readings and practical exercises, all with an eye to fostering a better understanding of what makes good (and bad) government such that they can position themselves to ask better questions and implement better policies to improve governance around the world.