Comparative Economic Systems

Course Description: An analysis of the various systems of economic organization; comparison of socialist methods of economic planning with the spontaneous order of the capitalist market economy; overview of the current economies of many nations.
Goals and Objectives: By the end of this course, Northwood wants students to understand

  1. The benefits and drawbacks of the institutional structures of various economic systems.
  2. How economic systems affect efficiency, growth, stability, innovation, opportunity, and freedom.
  3. The economic organization of different countries and the shift toward private free enterprise.

Evaluation: Six Weekly Assignments (30 points each); Final Paper (20 points)

Paper: must follow all APA guidelines, content must be accurate and comprehensive, research must be adequate and documented, paragraph structure must be clear and easy to follow so the reader may be inspired by how information and messages are presented, language must be clear and concise, using correct spelling, grammar and choice of vocabulary. See tips here.

Course Schedule (all assignments are due on Wednesdays 9pm ET):

Week 1: Analyzing economic systems from Ancient Greece to the Middle Ages
Origins of Political Order (17:30-52:00min)

Week 2: Analyzing the impact of religion and geography
No Rest for Wicked (Blackboard, MI Library, Films on Demand)
Guns,Germs and Steel (part 2, Conquest)

Week 3: Analyzing socialism
Heaven on Earth (3 parts, rise and fall of socialism)* (Socialism)

Week 4: Analyzing capitalism (research USA, Germany and Japan, paper due Week 6)* (Capitalism)

Week 5: Comparing economic systems in the 21st century*
Unlikely Heroes
India Awakes

Week 6: Transition to a global free enterprise economy
The Agony of Reform (Part 2 of Commanding Heights)
Tyranny of Control, Broadcast Programs, 1980 series (
Trailblazers: New Zealand (
Submit 1000 words final paper addressing the following 6 questions:

  1. What is the pattern of ownership in those countries?
  2. How are corporations governed?
  3. How is capital raised?
  4. How do labor markets function?
  5. How is government involved through taxation, spending, regulation, and redistribution (google “economic freedom index”)?
  6. How does the legal system and culture impact economic performance?

“All education is self-education. A teacher is only a guide, to point out the way, and no school, no matter how excellent, can give you education. What you receive is like the outlines in a child’s coloring book. You must fill in the colors yourself.”

Dear students,
I am happy to be your ECN 3410 professor starting in July. See the following tips for success in the course:

  1. Explore the syllabus, check for announcements/emails, and contact me ASAP if you have any questions or concerns.
  2. To stay within the word limit and still provide all relevant details, you can structure your answers like this: “Since taxes act as penalties on the taxed activity, lowering taxes on profit stimulates growth because it lowers disincentives to invest, create jobs, and produce wealth.”
  3. Submit your work on time (you may submit early if you have full time jobs or to avoid losing points in cases of sickness, emergencies, technical problems, etc.).
  4. Never plagiarize (everything must be in your own words).
  5. Respond within 3 business days to my emails and I’ll do the same (starting at the end of week one).
  6. Let me know if you need Skype interaction – my daily office hours are 6am – 2pm ET.
  7. A positive attitude covers a multitude of sins.
    Please, submit the assignments (see the syllabus) by 9pm ET on the days listed for each week.
    They must be emailed (NO attachments) to [email protected], indicating in the subject “A1.1” (for the first week assignment, part one), “A2.2” for the second week assignment, part two, etc.
    For each reading and for each documentary longer than 15min, you must email a summary of the most important lesson(s) learned that is close to 100 words, for each short video (under 15 min) – around 50 words.
    If any of the links to the readings in the syllabus gets broken during the semester – be creative and find another access to it online or in a library.
    If any of the links to the videos in the syllabus gets broken during the semester – let me know so I can find another link that works (in this case I’ll give you extra time to complete that portion of the assignment).
    Here’s a good example of a summary of readings assigned in another online course of mine (you may follow it but keep in mind that there are other ways to do it well):
    Chapter 2:
    -Opportunity Cost: Decisions are based on opportunity costs – I purchase eggs because it would take too much time to raise chickens.
    -Voluntary Exchange: Trading benefits both parties, there is no coercion – both parties walk away happier.