Unit 2

Jim’s Guide Unit 2: Ideology and The First World

Now that you understand from Unit 1 how the course is structured and what in general is expected of you, it’s time to begin learning about economic systems. This page describes the activities and graded work you need to complete for Unit 2.

What you need to do:

  1. Readings:
    1. Read this Jim’s Guide Unit 2: Ideology and The First World – all pages:
    2. Read Intro, Part I and Part II of the Angus Maddison book (pages 1-53)
    3. Read the following web pages:
  2. Video: View all 19 chapters of Episode 1: The Battle of Ideas, the first DVD in the Commanding Heights series.
    See Unit 2 – The Commanding Heights Video Series of this Jim’s Guide for links and instructions on how to view the videos.
  3. Post a comment to at least one of the Discussion posts labeled “Unit 2:…” under the Discussion tab. Points are awarded – this is a required assignment.
  4. Take the Unit 2 quiz in Desire2Learn.  Remember, you get two attempts.  The last page of this Unit 2 Jim’s Guide lists some study tips and topics for the quiz. This is a graded, required assignment.
    Quiz 2 is worth 45 points. It is the longest of the quizzes. Questions are drawn from all of the reading and viewing assignments for this unit. Some questions ask you to repeat some essential ideas and some questions require application of the concepts and ideas you learned. Topics and a study guide for the quiz is provided on the last page of this Unit’s Jim’s Guide. You are allowed 2 attempts at quiz 2. Your highest score of the two attempts will count toward your grade. As soon as you open and view the quiz it counts as an “attempt”. Attempts are not timed and you may save your work and continue it later. On your first attempt, you may wish to treat it as an open-book research assignment: answer the questions you can, save it, research the questions you’re unsure of, and then return to complete it. However, I strongly recommend treating your second attempt more as a closed-book test. Remember, eventually you will take the final exam which is timed and you won’t be able to research each question.

Objectives for Unit 2 – Ideology & The First World

    • What is an “economic system”?
    • Why do societies and countries have to have an “economic system”?
    • What is the “economic problem”?
    • What are some basic terms used by economists to describe an economy?
    • What are the basic contrasts between different theoretical economic systems:
    • Capitalism vs. Socialism/Communism
    • Free Markets vs. Command/Central Planning
    • What are the characteristics and philosophies behind these different systems?
    • What great economists are considered to be the great proponents or “authors” of these different viewpoints?
    • How do these systems differ on the issue of government involvement in the economy?
    • How do these systems differ in how they recommend that society address the economic problem and the fundamental economic questions (theoretically)?
    • What are the arguments for and against government involvement in an economy?
    • What are some the many ways in which the economic system of one particular country might differ from that of another country?

Terms and Concepts

While reading, look to understand the meaning of the following terms and concepts:

Basic Terms of Economics

  • households
  • production
  • consumption
  • goods, both “private” and “public”
  • externalities
  • resources
  • land, labor, capital

Key Concepts:

Scarcity is a problem faced by every society.As a result of scarcity, each society must select an economic system.  An economic system is a mechanism to determine:

  • what goods and services will be produced
  • who will produce the goods
  • how they will be produced
  • how they will be distributed to households
  • Gross Domestic Product*
  • Real Gross Domestic Product*
  • Real Gross Domestic Product – year-to-year growth rate
  • Per Capita Real Gross Domestic Product*
  • Per Capita Real Gross Domestic Product-year-to-year growth rate
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Labor Force Participation Rate

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