This course will survey the economic systems of the world. We start with developing analytical models to compare economic systems. Then we perform a brief historical survey of the evolution of modern economic institutions. We then study the historical development of capitalism and the origin of various forms of socialism that appeared in response to the shortcomings of nineteenth century capitalism. Next we proceed to discuss the merit of integration of economies, e.g. European Union and NAFTA. Later, we consider the failure of Soviet style economies and transition to different forms of market economy. Finally, with the controversial Brexit referendum passed by United Kingdom voters in June 2016, it is important to study the institutions and governance of the European Union, and the debates over the future of European integration and the globalization movement.
Field WorkCountry: South Africa
Date: October 12, 2018
The Comparative Economic Systems’ Field Project will focus on understanding the economy of South Africa, which is a member of the BRICS and is one of the emerging market, middle-income group of countries. Such countries, despite their middle-income status, typically suffer from high levels of poverty, unemployment and inequality. This project will focus on understanding the challenges confronting middle-income countries in general and South Africa in particular.
Students will meet with a professor at the University of Cape Town to hear about poverty, inequality and unemployment conditions in the country. They will take a field excursion to a local township to observe life for the majority of the population and learn about the challenges of creating small businesses in South Africa.
The students will understand:
- the economic history of South Africa.
- the typical problems of middle-income countries.
- the problems of inequality, poverty and growth in South Africa
- both the opportunities and problems that globalization and free trade movement have created for South Africa and how they are affecting its development.