Syllabus - Contemporary Issues Economics
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Posted August 22, 2003


Fall 2003

Instructor: Yves A. Isidor

Coordinates (tel.#s): (Bus.) 617-547-2220; (Week-end or after 9:00 p.m., week-day - only if calling within the U.S.) 857-928-3029; (Sec=y) 508-999-8347

E-mail :

Course: ECO 101-04) Contemporary Issues Economics

Course Description: When studying economics, a question both majors and non-majors are likely to ask is AWhat does this have to do with us?@ - or more accurately, what impact does economics have on the lives of each and every citizen? This course will introduce students to Economics of Social Issues, focusing on today=s most pressing social and economic problems from both a domestic and global viewpoint. Participants will examine the issues of, but not limited to Social Security and Medicare, Economic Growth, Poverty Problems, Government Expenditures and Tax Issues, and Protectionism Versus Free Trade.

Objectives: This course is designed for freshmen only. Economics today demands ideas with real impact. Of course, great ideas don=t come out of thin air. With the assistance of a recipient of several prestigious awards for his research and incredibly prolific writings (enrapturing ... irresistible for some Harvard University professors, for example) on social, economic and political issues and real-world business professional, peripatetic expert in his fields who has a desire to impart applicable knowledge and skills, participants will achieve the most educationally effective blend of theory and practice relating to the Contemporary Issues Economics body of knowledge presented in an andragogically sound format, suggesting that their Arudimentum,@ or rudimentary, economic knowledge, if any at all, is consigned to the archives of history.

Method of Instruction: This is not because the text book is unimportant, but primarily lectures and discussions oriented to contemporary problems, as reported in the economics news media, will be employed to provide familiarization with, and practice in applying, the concepts from this course.

Required Text: Economics of Social Issues - Ansel M. Sharp, Charles A. Register and Paul W. Grimes (16th edition) Irwin/McGraw-Hill, 2004.

Course Requirements/Grading: Students are expected to attend every class. Also, students are expected to be active participants, intellectually curious, adventurous or imbued with fruitful doubt. In so doing, they will not be reluctant (hopefully) to explore relevant economic issues in which they doubt their proficiency for fear of jeopardizing their ambitions. Not only do discussions on practical applications are welcome, but a concerted effort by students will be made to repudiate the idea that enrolling in this course - where higher learning and the business world intersect to the point that participants often come to envisage themselves performing at a superior level, four years or so after successfully completing their college education - is limited to getting themselves tagged for higher wages, learning how to win, important though this, too, may be, in an unregulated marketplace, but also being educated and, better than the next man or woman. In that sense, their education will be more than just a Apositional good.@ In addition to the text book, there will be additional reading materials (i.e., newspaper or, journal articles).

All students will take quizzes, mid-term and final exams. Exams will include: Multiple choice, definition and essay questions. When submitting themselves to the rigors of the intelligently written essay-questions, for example, students are expected to use the proper verbs: Compare, contrast and analyze, to name only these ones, rather than Aget, get@. In other words, no vernacular or street language, please - they are now in college or university. Also, by answering further some of the essay-questions in a graphically sound format, including quantifying their responses, students will, more, convince the instructor that they have amassed a great deal of knowledge in the field of economics or master the relevant subject. Fast food-type (i.e., McDonald=s) or Ade minimus@ (next to nothing) answers are not acceptable. One of the benefits of so, of course, their arduous work will most likely be translated, at least, into an acceptable grade, as the author, by way of explanation, the instructor of this course, continues to emulate Plato (Socrates= best student), who established Socratic tradition of instruction in his school, the Academy. Socratic irony - Pretended ignorance, used by Socrates as a method of instruction or to reveal inconsistencies in the arguments of an opponent.

The final grade for this course will be determined from the following activities:

Attendance/Class Participation: 10%

Quizzes 20%

Mid-term: 35%

Final Exam: 35%

* It is essential that all assignments be completed according to the attached scheduled. It is not an American English language class, still each student is highly advised to purchase himself/herself or enter possession of a good dictionary.


September 2 An Overview

September 4, 9 Chapter 2. Economic Systems, Resource Allocation, and Social Well-Being: Lessons from the Fall of the Soviet Union.

September 11, 16 Chapter 3. Government Control of Prices in Mixed Systems: What Are the Actual Outcome.

September 18 Quiz

September 23 Chapter 4. Pollution Problems: Must We Foul Our Own Nests?

September 25, 30 Chapter 5. Economics of Crime and Its Prevention: How Much is Too Much?

October 2 Chapter 7. Poverty Problems and Discrimination: Why Are So Many Still Poor?

October 7, 9 Chapter 8. The Economics of Big Business: Who Does What to Whom?

October 16, 21 Chapter 9. The Economics of Professional Sports: What is the Real Score?

October 23 Mid-term

October 28, 30 Chapter 10. Protectionism Versus Free Trade: Can We Restrict Ourselves into Prosperity?

November 4, 6 Chapter 11. Unemployment Issues: Why Do We Waste Our Labor Resources?

November 14 Chapter 12. Inflation: How to Gain and Lose at the Same Time

November 18 Quiz

November 20, 25 Chapter 13. Economic Growth: Are We Living in a ANew Economy@

December 2, 4 Chapter 14. Government Spending, Taxing and the National Debt: 4

Who Wins and Who Loses?

December 9 Chapter 15. Social Security and Medicare: How Secure is Our Safety Net for the Elderly?

December 11 Review

December 16-22 FINAL EXAM, as scheduled by the office of the Registrar (date, time, and place will be announced in class).

THANK YOU for submitting yourself to the rigors of this course. I am convinced you can now argue, with authority, to have written the epitaph of your rudimentary economic knowledge, if any at all. As they say in the language of the AFan@ people, AYour success is my success.@ If I may further be of assistance do not hesitate to contact me. Happy holidays and happy days to follow., the scholarly journal of democracy and human rights
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