Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Changing Economic Policy: What Advocates Need to Know About Economics

How can citizens change economic policy? What changes in public economic policy could foster more just markets, more equitable and sustainable economic development, and build more resilient cities, towns, counties, regions and states? What are smart ways of doing this within an increasing – Trump notwithstanding – globalization of markets, skills, and economic cultures?

This course will focus on innovations in economic policies being promoted by social justice activists, critics of forms of capitalism that are leading to vast wealth inequality, and actors interested in promoting more resilient local economies. Students will engage in critique of these proposals and develop a deep understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. At the same time, students will learn the tools, techniques, tactics and strategies of social justice advocacy. The course will include a large number of guest speakers from activist, advocate, public sector, and economic arenas.

Discussion of these policy innovations and advocacy will provide opportunities to deepen understanding of a host of economic concepts, including (but not limited to): the principles of, and public policy responses to address, market failure; theories of economic growth and investment; theories of income distribution and causes and consequences of economic inequality; taxation and transfers to businesses and households asset markets; theories of collective action. Students will demonstrate their facility with these economic concepts by integrating them into their course deliverables.

The major deliverable of the course: Students will work in teams on a strategy to pass a new economic policy of their choice at either city, county, or state level in California.

Jeffrey Dayton-Johnson, Kent Glenzer, Lyuba Zarsky
Casa Fuente CF434
6:00pm-9:50pm on Wednesday (Aug 28, 2017 to Dec 15, 2017)