World Interdependence – Current Global Issues (Focus: Trade and Prosperity)* [CRN 83301]

Discipline: International Education
Instructor: Madsen
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 1240
End: 1400
Field Work: Day 2 | December 12, 2019 | Costa Rica
Prerequisites: None Download Syllabus

This course will use historical episodes to provide context for evaluating a common claim heard from advocates of globalization: international trade leads to prosperity. Often, advocates suggest economic growth leads also to the spread of political rights, equality, and democracy. We will follow those claims in defining prosperity broadly in making our evaluation. Specifically, the course will investigate several key moments that tied the economies of Europe, Africa, and Latin America together. We will begin with early justifications for international trade; move to an investigation of the slave trade; consider the causes of European Empire as well as its collapse in the twentieth century; and turn to the growing role of international institutions (such as the International Monetary Fund) in shaping the global economy after World War II. As we travel the pathways of Atlantic trade, we will assess the consequences of this history today, linking the past to current debates about prosperity and global trade.

Learning Outcomes:

To use the history of Atlantic trade to evaluate the claim that economic globalization leads to prosperity (defined to include the spread of rights, equality, democracy, and other social goods along with economic growth).


*Note: This class is delivered when lunch is served.

Field Work

Country: Costa Rica
Day: 2
Date: December 12, 2019

Environmentalists and naturalists have argued that Ecotourism offers a means for sustainable development; it provides a viable alternative to agricultural development that also protects indigenous ecosystems. We will investigate this claim in Costa Rica, a nation that sees itself on the cutting edge of Ecotourism (having set aside more than a quarter of its land to national parks, wildlife reserves and protected lands). We will take a cruise up the Tarcoles River (known as the home for American crocodiles) into the Carara National Park (home for many bird species, white-tailed deer, Panamanian white-faced capuchin monkeys, mantled howler monkeys, Hoffmann's two-toed sloths and more). There we will enjoy our guided tour, take in the scenery, and ask ourselves whether Ecotourism can compete with farming as a profitable way for people in developing countries to use the land.

Learning Objectives:
1. Evaluate the economic viability of Ecotourism as an alternative to agricultural development in developing countries
2. Enjoy the breathtaking bio-diversity of the Carara National Park
3. Take pleasure in spotting crocodiles, monkeys, and other indigenous wildlife in Costa Rica