Hot Issues in the Global Economy

In this independent study students will examine two global economic issues and will write two reaction papers based on their research.  Please suggest your own issues and get approval, or select any issues from the list below.  Once settled on an issue, read/watch at least ONE of the suggested books or films.  As you read and watch, write down your thoughts, what you learned and what that surprised you.  These notes, with a bit of further research, will become your book/film reaction paper. Spend some time  online to investigate any controversies around the issue.  Your paper should summarize the main message of the book/movie, analyze facts presented by the author, discuss alternative points of view, criticize where necessary, and support your own opinion with quotes and numbers.  Each reaction paper should be your original work of 9-10 pages long including a page of references. Some books/films are free online as marked below. Other books are cheap on . Brand new books are entirely free on the “new releases, non-fiction” shelf in your local public library.

1.     Globalization

  • Friedman, The World is Flat.       
  • Friedman, Hot, Flat and Crowded  
    • For your reaction paper you can answer Discussion Guide questions posted on the above website
  • G. Steingart, The War for Wealth. The True Story of Globalization, or Why the Flat World Is Broken
  • Russell Roberts, The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protectionism
  • Dani Rodrik,  Has Globalization Gone Too Far? – free online

 2.     Global financial crisis

3.      Inequality: causes and consequences

  • Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel
  • Guns, Germs and Steel film– free online, National Geographic, why some countries rich, some poor?
  • Wilkinson and Pickett, The spirit Level: Why greater equality makes societies stronger
  • G.Tyler, What went wrong? How 1% hijacked the American Middle class and what other countries got right

4.   US in the global economy

5.    Global development

  • The growth report – what are strategies for successful growth?
  • Acemoglu, Robinson, Why Nations Fail: the origins of power, prosperity and poverty

6. China

7.  Country studies, choose any country or region

8. Environment 

9.    Technology 

10.     Capitalism vs Socialism
  • Yergin, Stanislaw, The Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy
  • Commanding Heights  film, 3 parts, based on this book (follow to “Chapter Menu”) You can discuss some of the  Key Questions and Issues  in your essay

11. Global healthcare systems

Writing a reaction paper

  1. Summarize the book you have read.
  2. What is the author’s main message? What central question is the author trying to answer?
  3. Why is this issue important? Give examples, numbers and quotes to illustrate your point.
  4. What interesting facts have you learned from this book?
  5. What part of the issue is controversial?  Why?
  6. What is your stand on the controversial issue(s)?
  7. How is the issue raised in the book relevant today?  What current news and events illustrate its importance? Do your own mini internet research on this topic. Use examples, numbers, and quote your sources.  Be sure to emphasize the economics side  (NOT psychology or politics) of your topic.


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