Mount Holyoke College Jens Christiansen
Economics 100(01) Office: 112 Skinner, x2750, email: jchristi
Fall 2010 Office Hours: Tues. 11-12,
MW 8:35, Skinner 212 Wed. 2:00-3:30, & by appointment
Mentor: Essi Haffar, 318 Porter, 413-885-7672, email: haffa20e
Introduction to the Global Economy
Course Description and Requirements:
This is a first-year seminar. There are no prerequisites, but the class is only open to first-year students and
involves very active student participation, which means, apart from being actively engaged in our
discussions, you will often report on particular topics or issues to the class as a whole.
Globalization has become a household word. This course introduces students to the economic forces that
have led to an ongoing integration of economies worldwide over the centuries. We will examine both the
benefits and the costs that have resulted from this development. Topics will include the increasing
economic inequality on a world scale, global environmental degradation, economic integration (such as
the creation of NAFTA and "Euroland"), and the outlook for the global economy after the recent great
Galeano, Eduardo, Open Veins of Latin America, Monthly Review Press, New York, 1997.
Hacker, Diana, A Pocket Style Manual, 5th edition, Bedford/St. Martin's, Boston, 2010.
These paperbacks are available at the Odyssey Book Shop. You could get any edition (even fairly old
ones), you could even use a totally different style manual – as long as you use one!! Most other readings
will be provided as links on ELLA or on electronic reserve. Or you will find your own readings on the
1. Each student has to write at least five short essays (due Thursdays at 4:00 am under my office door, or
in my mailbox in Skinner 115 -- late essays will not be accepted!). You cannot write more than seven
essays – or at least I will not grade more than seven. The topics for each deadline will be available on
the website (there are a total of eight potential deadlines). Each essay has to be between 800 and 1000
words (these limits will be strictly enforced. You have to provide the exact word count on each paper,
not including title, references, and short footnotes). The best four essays will count for 40 percent of
your grade. Each student has to write at least one essay by the second deadline (see topics below) and
at least three by the fifth deadline. Your last essay (whether it is your fifth, sixth, or seventh) has to be
a book review of Galeano’s Open Veins. You can submit this review (which also has to be between
800 and 1000 words) at deadline 5, 6, 7, or 8.
Additionally, each student also has to write a very short, non-graded essay for this coming Monday,
September 13 (see below for details). Make sure you bring this essay to class!
2. There will be two midterm exams on October 23 (ten percent) and on November 13 (fifteen percent)
and a regular self-scheduled final (fifteen percent). These exams will count for a total of forty percent in
your final grade.
3. Active participation in class and a number of oral presentations (some of them formal) will count for
the remaining twenty percent of your grade.
The First Two Essay Deadlines:
September 23 Deadline -- choose one of two:
1. Globalization is often portrayed in the media these days as if it were a phenomenon of the past few
decades. In defining the term globalization, discuss why it is seen this way and then make an argument
that it is actually a process that has been going on for at least several centuries. Provide some specific
references to earlier time periods, indicating how activities at the time can be interpreted as part of a
process of globalization.
2. The period between (roughly) 1300 and 1500 was a time of monumental changes and developments in
Europe. Elaborate on specific events as well as developments in science and technology and trade and
business practices at the time and show how they contributed to the process of globalization.
October 7 Deadline -- choose one of four:
1. Define and discuss colonialism and imperialism as phenomena of globalization. What is the difference
between these two and how do they differ from globalization at the beginning of the third millennium?
2. What is the gold standard? How did it function and what role did it play in international trade and
finance prior to World War I?
3. Discuss the nature and dynamics of inter-imperialist rivalries at the beginning of the twentieth century
and how they contributed to the onset of World War I.
4. What is the Great Depression? Discuss its origins, its effects on the world economy, and its role in
triggering World War II.
Further deadlines are: October 21 and 28, November 4, 18, and December 2 and 9 (see website for
Additional Short Essay for September 13:
Globalization is such a buzzword these days. You are supposed to write a short essay about what you
understand by the term. What does it mean to you? What do you think are the driving forces behind
globalization? What are, in your view, its consequences? This essay does not require any reading or
research, it will not be graded, but you are supposed to give it you best shot in terms of style and
presentation. Be as clear and articulate as you can be in presenting your arguments and in getting your
views across to the reader. This little essay should be at least two pages (500 words) in length, but
definitely no more than three pages (800 words; provide an exact word count at the end of the essay!).
All essays should always be type-written (I guess word-processed would be the proper term),
double-spaced, and with adequate margins! And don’t forget to give the word count at the end of
You are supposed to collect all your essays (with my comments and corrections on the margins) and
hand them back in to me again on December 13.
Preliminary Course Outline
9-8 Introduction to the Course: What is Globalization (the Global Economy)?
9-13 Initial Discussion of Globalization: What are the Forces behind it, what are its Consequences?
9-15 Session on Research with Reference Librarian Bryan Goodwin (Williston 419)
9-20 A Race through History I: Ancient Empires, the Middle Ages, and the Age of Discovery
9-22 A Race through History II: The Age of Colonialism and Imperialism
9-27 Two World Wars and the Great Depression
9-29 Bretton Woods and the Golden Age of Capitalism
10-4 Global Economic Crises: The Oil Crises, Third World Debt Crisis, and Asian Financial Crisis
10-6 The Recent Global Financial and Economic Crisis
10-13 Smith’s Invisible Hand
10-18 Neo-Classical Equilibrium Theory
10-20 Neo-Classical Equilibrium Theory II
10-22 Mid-Term I
10-25 Environmental Degradation, Sustainability, and the Global Economy
10-26 Peter Rosset Lecture: The World Food Crisis (7:30 pm, Hooker)
10-27 Discussion with Peter Rosset on the World Food Crisis (8:35 am, Room to be announced)
11-1 Keynesian Economics and the Circular Flow Model of the Economy
11-3 International Trade and Finance: Comparative Advantage, Balance of Payments and Exch. Rates
11-8 Marx’s Theory of Capital Accumulation
11-10 Theories of Imperialism and Dependency
11-15 Neo-Liberalism, Multinational Corporations, and Economic Growth and Development
11-17 Review of Economic Theories
11-19 Mid-Term II
11-22 The Washington Consensus: the IMF, the World Bank, and Economic Development
12-3 The WTO and Global Trade
12-6 Europe: Economic Integration and the Introduction of the Euro
12-8 Chile: A Case Study
12-13 Economic Inequality and Ecological Degradation: Threats to the Global Economy
(or: Is Sustainability Possible?)