The Economics of Sustainable Development

Discipline: Semester at Sea Seminars
Instructor: Christiansen
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 1050
End: 1205
Field Work: Day 2 - Wednesday, 25 February | Myanmar (Burma)
Prerequisites: Intermediate Macro Theory, Introductory Microeconomics Download Syllabus

This is a course for economics majors and others with a strong (particularly macro) economics background. It explores the rapid pace of globalization over the past three to four decades and analyzes both its positive consequences and the forces that have led to the collapse of the global economy in 2008 and its aftermath. We examine the ongoing debate between critics and proponents of globalization and ask whether the G-20 can and should provide the institutional framework to foster and support policies leading to stable, inclusive, and sustainable economic development on a global scale. We pay special attention to the frequent conflicts of national interests among the US and other G-20 member states (particularly those on our itinerary). Finally, wealso consider Singapore as a potential model of sustainability, and we discuss policies that could protect Burma (and other low income countries) from being left behind in poverty.

Field Work

Country: Myanmar (Burma)
Day: 2 - Wednesday, 25 February

Finding ways to improve the lives of citizens in developing countries such that they do not degrade the natural environment is one of the major challenges facing governments, international organizations, NGOs, and businesses.  The ravages of prior destructive practices and the anticipated pressures from climate change cannot be ignored until countries “get rich.”  We need to find means to restore the environment and make communities more resilient while providing adequate economic opportunities to all citizens. We intend to visit two development agencies (a UN organization: UNDP and a NGO: Action Aid)  that are engaged in trying to raise living standard while at the same time paying attention to social justice and improving environmental quality (or at least avoiding any negative ecological consequences). Academic Objectives:

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