Reading Assignments

The first three weeks of class, the focus is on economic thinking and the role of the entrepreneur. Read The Science of Success, by Charles Koch. Key concepts to study are opportunity cost, marginal analysis, comparative advantage, and creative destruction. Also, look at the process of acquiring knowledge, from the perspective of the individual company and the economy as a whole.

From Learning Economics, read the author's introduction, the introduction to "What's Different About Economics," and the chapters "Sweetwater vs. Saltwater," "Type C and Type M Arguments," "There is no Labor Shortage," "Arithmetic in a Bubble" (starts on p. 223) and "Efficiency, Entrepreneurship, and Education" (p.318). Also read The Economy as a Food Court.

The second two weeks of September, the focus is on economic growth. All of the assignments in Learning Economics are from part 2 in the book: "Growth, Technological Progress, and Decentralized Innovation." Read the introduction, "Growth Across Time," "Progress and Displacement," "What Causes Prosperity," and "Hayek, Stiglitz, and Michael Powell."

In early October, the focus is on international trade, which in Learning Economics is part 4, "Free trade." Read the introduction, "Roll over, Ricardo," "Please Outsource to my Daughter," and "Manufacturing a Crisis." Also, I strongly recommend this speech by Federal Reserve Board Vice-Chairman Roger Ferguson.

In the second half of October, the focus is on energy and the environment. In Learning Economics, read "Oil Econ 101." Also read Energy Policy for Idiots and The Political Economy of Alternative Energy.

In the first half of November, the focus is on Social Security. In Learning Economics, read "A Social Security Policy Primer" (starts on page 285). Also, read The Ultimate Lockbox, Social Security's worn-out Roof, Four Myths About Social Security, and The Economics of Social Security Privatization.

In the second half of November, we will look at health care policy. In Learning Economics, read (from part 6) "America is Mentally Ill" and "Phase Out Medicare."

The last unit of the course is education policy. In Learning Economics, read the last six chapters of part 6, starting with "The World's Nicest Holding Pen."