Lots of different opinions in class led to a lively discussion. We discussed allocation of a scarce resource–first in the abstract when I brought in 2 pieces of candy for a class of 18. We compared that to how to allocate tickets for Hamilton in Philly, Tickets for Shakespeare in the Park in NY, health care, education, food and shelter. I injected social justice questions whenever possible, which led nicely into Corporate Social Responsibility.
Really “ripped from the headlines,” as the CEO of Walmart just announced that the store would stop selling ammunition that can be used in military-style assault rifles. We did discussed whether this was just to increase bottom line or for the common good. Then we talked about what it ought to be–most thought the former. We read parts of Milton Friedman’s classic “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits,” published in the New York Times Magazine in 1970. Most students agreed.
We continue next week with Corporate Social Responsibility. Then we’ll try something new. In small groups, students will open the New York Times(required reading for the course) and rip something from the headlines and see how the discussion goes. A work in progress.
August 28, 2019 First class yesterday went well. Students were very engaged (they had an assignment for the first day of class so they would be prepared). Among the topics they’d like to discuss: trade war/tariffs, minimum wage, wage gap, climate change and immigration. I asked them to complete an (anonymous) survey about several current policy issues–they are divided on many of them , so it should be a very interesting semester.
- Tariffs are good for the US economy–50% agree
- Immigrants take jobs from American workers–50% agree
- Two and four year public colleges should be free–60% disagree
- Federal wage should be increased to $15–60% agree.
It’s hard to keep up with the news. BP is leaving Alaska (this leads into a discussion of the Alaska Permanent Fund, which leads to a discussion of UBI). Purdue Pharma offers $10-12 billion to settle opiod claims (a discussion of Corporate Social Responsibility–should the philanthropic organizations that are named for the Sacklers change their name, stop taking donations? What is the responsibility of business? We’ll read the classic Milton Friedman article). U.S. farmers are suffering from tariffs on China.
Their second Current Events Journal entry is due Sept. 8. I will post guidelines on Canvas.
This fall, I will teach ECN 150 “Ripped from the Headlines: Economics in the News.” Our primary text will be the New York Times. I will choose a current topic from the news for each class, assign articles, videos, podcasts from the media and discuss the topic in class, relating it to economic theory.
Students will keep a current events journal throughout the semester. They must find articles on different topics and analyze them. They will then write a short research paper on a topic of their choosing. We will also do a class project on health care.
So much going on–I cannot keep up. Congress based a budget, which the president will sign, the FEd lowered interest rates, the president promised more tariffs on goods from China. California passed a law requiring all students to complete the FAFSA, and Oregon gets creative about how to address the housing crisis in the state.
Stay tuned for more posts as the semester unfolds.
If you would like to take advantage of the internship opportunities for economics majors and earn credit for it, you need to register! Vacancies are still open for Summer 2019 and Fall 2019. CLICK HERE for more information and instructions.
A person from academics, business, former students, etc. come and present their work and students and faculty ask questions and engage in rich discussion. Presenter: TBD. Participants: Economics majors and faculty. Date and location: TBD