Introduction to principles of microeconomics and their application to food and agricultural markets, resource management, and community development.
Open to Degree and CDE students
This course is a general introduction to microeconomic theory with specific applications to community development. To do this, it will explore mainstream economics and will also draw heavily on insights from the transdisciplinary field of ecological economics. Ecological economics differs from conventional economics by basing its study in the fact that the economic system is embedded in social and political systems, and the complex human economy system is embedded in a complex, finite global ecosystem subject to the laws of physics and ecology. Economics is frequently defined as the study of the allocation of scarce resources among alternative competing ends, within and between generations. While this definition is problematic, as I will explain in class, it offers a useful starting point by making it clear that the first question an economist must ask is "what are the desirable ends?" This course will not assume that the most desirable end is material consumption or monetary value, nor that the market is always the most efficient institution for allocation. Markets are however one of the dominant institutions guiding resource allocation. Understanding the market mechanism - both positive and negative aspects - will therefore be a central focus of the course. The current dominant school of economic theory is known as 'neoclassical economics', or the 'neoclassical-Keynesian synthesis’. Because it is the dominant school, a prerequisite for many more advanced economics courses, and highly influential on policy makers, we will learn the basics of neoclassical theory. However, this course will stress that neoclassical economic theory is an appropriate framework only when a number of rigid assumptions are met, and these assumptions rarely hold in real life. The goal of this course is to provide enough background in both neoclassical and ecological economics that you can apply these theories to real life situations in your community, in the nation and in the world, and readily pursue higher level courses in either field. Neoclassical economics is a simple and elegant model that provides very clear answers to very difficult questions. Unfortunately, the empirical evidence - such as the recent financial crisis - suggests that many of those simple answers are completely wrong. Ecological economics recognizes that the global ecological-economic system is highly complex, non-linear and continually evolving, and simple answers to difficult questions rarely exist.
Read the textbook. Come to class. Engage with iClicker.
Weekly homework, two midterms, a final. iClicker quizzes. Participation.
Remote (View Campus Map)
to on Tuesday and Thursday
Note: These dates may not be accurate for select courses during the Summer Session.
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