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Homework assignments in History of Economic Thought

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The following are the assigned homework assignments for Econ 12 in the second semester of SY 2009-10:

No. 1

1.      Read McCloskey et al’s “3 -minute history” of economic thought.

2.      What is philosophy? Is there a link between philosophy and economics? If so, explain. If not, why not?

3.      Who was Karl Popper? What is his importance to economic thought?

4.      Read Adam Smith in the original (either of his two books – Moral Sentiments, or Wealth of Nations). Find a paragraph or two you particularly like or dislike. Explain why.

5.      Who are the classical economists? Why is their work called classical economics? What distinguishes classical from neoclassical economics?

No. 2

  1. Assume for the sake of argument that man evolved from “lower” species.  Can a man be a human if he does not engage in economic thought?  What is economic thinking anyway?  Can you imagine that ants who build hills, or birds who make nests and feed their young, go through a process of economic thinking? Why or why not?
  2. When or why is a market price better than a “just price”?  Is it all right to charge interest on loans? Did Aristotle, Confucius, and St. Thomas Aquinas think rightly or wrongly about interest and market prices? Defend your answer.
  3. Imagine a social order where there are “slaves” who do only manual work, and “citizens” who do “thinking” work.  Does this kind of social order have any effects on the economy?  If so, what do you think these effects are?
  4. Imagine a social order where the children of the rich don’t have to work while others have to.  What is wrong with this scenario?  What is right about it?

No. 3

Answer the questions below by reading Chapters 7 and 12 of the textbook.  You may also consult other reliable web resources.

  1. Distinguish “classical political economy (1790-1870)” from “welfare economics (of 1930-1960).”
  2. Summarize Ricardian economics. Give an instance where you think David Ricardo was wrong.
  3. Who were the main figures of the Lausanne School of economic thought? Discuss their main ideas?  Do these ideas have relevance to the case of the Philippines?  Give an example of why or why not, and explain in your own words.
  4. Give the conventional definition in economics today of “efficiency.” Compare and distinguish market failure and government failure.

No. 4

Answer the questions below by reading Chapters 13, 14, and the Epilogue of the textbook.  You may also consult other reliable web resources.

  1. What is the main difference between the ideas in Keynesian economics and the so-called New Classical Macroeconomics?
  2. What is the Washington Consensus in development economics?  Would the Washington Consensus be applicable or relevant to the Philippines?  Why or why not?
  3. Summarize the ideas of Austrian economics.
  4. What economic thought is most likely to be attributed to Joseph Schumpeter?
  5. Who is your favorite dead economist?  Why?

Written by Orlando Roncesvalles

February 18, 2010 at 8:42 PM