Inequality and Democracy

Economic inequalities have risen in many countries. But the core of democracy is political equality: that everyone should have an equal say in how their country is run. Can people have equal political power while economic inequality grows and grows? Join our free MOOC ‘Inequality and democracy’ and decide for yourself.

Suitable for: 
General-interest audience, professionals with an interest in the influence of economic inequality on democracy
Entry requirements: 

No prior knowledge required

Start date(s): 
February/March 2020
Time investment: 
6 weeks, 24 hours total study time
Fully online
Theme Institutions for Open Societies
Fee:  This fee is exempt from VAT
Free of charge

Course programme

The course consists of six modules, with a work load of 4 hours on average per module. Each module is divided up into four lessons. You will see online lectures, and read material on the topic. Throughout the course, your knowledge will be tested in quizzes, and you’ll develop your understanding by writing assignments and grading the assignments of others. On our discussion boards, you’ll be able to discuss your insights with other participants.

You’ll learn about:

  • The rise of economic inequality
  • Property rights and the corporation
  • Democracy: Its value and history
  • Campaign finance and lobbying
  • Tax avoidance and capital flight
  • Alternatives to our economic system

This is an interdisciplinary course combining:

  • Politics
  • Economis
  • Philosophy
  • History
  • Law


Our course is for anyone looking for an accessible introduction to these topics. You might be a concerned citizen, or someone who works in a field like politics, media, education, government or law. The difficulty level is similar to the first-year of an undergraduate degree. No prior knowledge is assumed.

Course instructor

Rutger Claassen, Professor of Political Philosophy & Economic Ethics at the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies of Utrecht University.