Category Archives: Course Readings

Unit 7 – Is the Future Sustainable?

I will not spend your time with trying to raise your awareness of environmental issues. There is plenty of information available about environmental issues. We may disagree about specific issues such as global warming, the availability of natural resources such as oil or coal, or the specifics of any particular environmental issue.  But what is… Read More »

Unit 7- The Future of Production

Production, the process of working to produce more valuable and useful goods and services than what is naturally available, is fundamental to economics. In fact, economics has historically viewed that there are really only two types of human activity: consumption and production. Further, mainstream economics (and by implication, the ideologies and policies of economic systems)… Read More »

Unit 7 – What’s the Goal?

What is the goal of the economic system? What’s the point? For hundreds of years, the assumption behind Western civilization’s conception of the economy has been: Higher Income and More Goods to Consume. Coming from times when life was short, unhealthy, uncomfortable, and punctuated with starvation, this is easily understandable. But for the developed, industrialized… Read More »

Unit 7 – The Future

We started this course talking about how industrialization, institutions, ideology, culture, politics, and technology all interplay to form an economic system.  If nothing else, I hope you have learned in this course that economic systems are complicated.  There are no simple little categories. Each nation’s economic system is different because each nation has travelled a… Read More »

Unit 7 – The Past and Income Inequality

There is a viewpoint that asserts that income inequality and wealth inequality are necessary, that they are the differences that motivate people to work and get ahead.  This viewpoint often implies that without wide income disparities that our economy’s growth would slow.  Supporters of such a viewpoint seem to suggest that the only choices we… Read More »

Unit 7 – Future and Income Inequality

Video: Income Inequality Does Matter And It Makes Us Worse Off (18 minutes) Richard Wilkinson is a British researcher who has spent his life studying income inequality and the consequences for societies. Income Inequality Does Matter and It Makes Us Worse Off (alternate link if embedded video doesn’t work) Here are some excerpts from the… Read More »

Update from Jim – Quiz 5 and 6

Ok, maybe it’s not the same. Maybe trying a different, experimental approach to teaching an online course isn’t the same as quitting sniffing glue. But it sure seems like I picked the wrong semester to try a new approach given that a new approach always means more learning curve, prep, and just general work.  So… Read More »

Some Facts About the PPACA

Few pieces of legislation have been subject to as much confusion, deception, and outright lies as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).  I suppose the confusion starts right with the name.  Most people refer to it as “Obamacare” as if the law primarily sets up the government as the provider of medical care… Read More »