Every society finds rules or systems for answering 3 fundamental economic questions: What should be produced? How should those outputs be produced? and Who will get the outputs? While many societies increasingly rely on markets to answer those questions, government and informal cultural rules also have major impacts, and affect the resulting level of people’s well-being. This course is designed to introduce you to the subject of economics, as it pertains to the behavior of consumers, firms, industries and societies, and to their desires to get the most from limited means. We will examine the basic issues of microeconomics, as illustrated by key economic facts and examples from the societies we visit; you will learn the basic methods of microeconomics, including 10 basic microeconomic principles, and how they are used to explain a wide variety of economic behavior; you will apply these principles of economics, to critically analyze situations you encounter during our voyage; and you will come to appreciate how good economic thinking can help you as a local and global citizen contribute to the making of responsible public policy.
Field WorkCountry: Vietnam
Date: February 14, 2017
We will spend a day in Ho Chi Minh City exploring Vietnam’s “transition economy” – one that is in the process of dramatic transformation and growth, from the old socialist model to a new mixed market model, and from low income to middle income. We will visit the Foreign Trade University for a presentation and conversation with students and faculty; enjoy a classic Vietnamese lunch; explore HCMC’s mix of traditional and modern markets; visit an export production plant; and reflect on what we have discovered about how Vietnam is answering its 3 Fundamental Economic Questions.
- Cultural interaction with students to learn their socio-economic experiences;
- Local student-guided exploration to observe supply-demand institutions and price variations;
- Formal and informal learning about Vietnam’s changing economic system, status, and aspirations;
- Experience in and reflection upon a trade or development oriented establishment and it goals and results.