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The Promise and Pitfalls of Markets

Semester and Year SP 2014
Course Number IDSEM-UG1771
Section 001
Instructor Ngina Chiteji
Days Mon,Wed
Time 3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Units 4.0
Level U
Foundation Requirement SOC


In his classic text, the Wealth of Nations , the Scottish economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith argued that the human propensity to "truck, barter and exchange" would naturally lead to socially optimal outcomes if people were left to trade freely, without any government interference in markets. This idea that a competitive market can lead to efficient outcomes is a central tenet of economic theory today. Moreover, the more general belief that markets know what's best is widely held throughout U.S. society. This course is designed to teach students about what economics has to offer to the analysis of markets and the ways that firms make decisions. It also will include analyses of market outcomes from scholars in disciplines outside economics, and it will touch on emerging ideas about social entrepreneurship in order to examine ways that the concept of a producer or an "entrepreneur" has been expanded to include more than individuals who are concerned with simply maximizing profits and personal enrichment. Readings may include texts such as the following: Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich and Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science by Charles Wheelan.

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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