Introduction to the Global Economy

Discipline: Semester at Sea Seminars
Instructor: Christiansen
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 0800
End: 0915
Field Work: Day 1 - Friday, 06 March | India Download Syllabus

Globalization has become the buzzword for the last two to three decades. This course, however, examines the development of the global market economy as an ongoing process over many centuries. It is intended for students without any economics background and explores the various forces that have led to the increasing integration into the global economy of all the countries on our itinerary. Basic macro and micro economic tools are introduced in order to scrutinize both the benefits and the costs that have characterized this process. Towards the end of the semester, special attention will be focused on investigating the serious threats that the international community continues to face today, such as financial instability, social and economic inequality, and environmental degradation both within countries and on a global scale. These challenges raise the question whether a global market economy can only function adequately under the governance of an appropriate international organization, whether such an institution is feasible, and what it would have to look like.

Field Work

Country: India
Day: 1 - Friday, 06 March

We will tour the Kerala Backwaters by boat in order to observe daily life and economic activity along the waterways. For centuries these backwaters and artificial canals have been used by local people for transportation and fishing. The fertile fields along the waterways have allowed for agriculture and the coir industry. The latter uses coconut fibers for the production of mats, rope, floor coverings, baskets, and other handicrafts. Nowadays these products are also sold on global markets providing significant economic gains, but at the same time threatening the richly divers, but fragile eco system through increased pollution. A rapidly expanding tourist industry in the last few decades has contributed its share of economic benefits and additional pollution, in particular through the unregulated proliferation of motorized houseboats with their diesel engines and outboard motors.  Longer term, the whole area is seriously threatened by rising sea levels. The question we will examine is whether sustainable solutions can be found and what it would take to implement them. ACADEMIC OBJECTIVES:

  1. Understand the interrelationship between economic development goals and sustainability.
  2. Examine potential solutions for the improvement of living standards
  3. Explore obstacles that hinder (or even prevent) implementation of such solutions