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class activities

Recent active learning experiences have been associated with “flipped” or “inverted” classroom (Norman and Wills, 2015). Indeed, this method has been receiving increasing attention by professors that search for alternatives to traditional lectures so as to cover some topics of the course content.

By adopting the flipped  classroom in economics instruction, professors out to enhance a larger pre-class involvement of the students not only by reading the selected bibliography but also by watching instructional videos.

Before the class, professors provide instructional short videos (five to fifteen minutes) that cover the main ideas related to a selected topic of the syllabus. The videos generally emphasize theoretical approaches, definitions, formulas and graphs. Recent evidence shows that many professors actually record a narration of the lecture slides and notes.

As students should watch the video before the class, professors can privilege active learning methods during class time. Therefore, the class activities aim to apply the material that was covered in the videos in order to enhance a real-world approach to economics education. These activities- that are supervised and oriented by professors – can include, for instance:

  • Presentation, analysis and discussion of real-world problems
  • Team–work exercises oriented to solve practice problems followed by class-room discussion of the main results.

Indeed, internet technologies are also affecting the economics classroom. Topics in macroeconomics, microeconomics, international economics, financial economics, among others, can certainly benefit from flipped classrooms since this teaching practice does not mean the replacement of professors with videos.

 

References

Bishop, J. L., & Verleger, M. A. (2013, June). The flipped classroom: A survey of the research. In ASEE National Conference Proceedings, Atlanta, GA.

Honeycutt, B. (2013). Looking for ‘Flippable’ Moments in Your Class. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/instructional-design/looking-for-flippable-moments-in-your-class/

Norman, S, & Wills, D. (2015). Flipping your Classroom in Economics Instruction: It’s not all or nothing. Retrieved from http://faculty.washington.edu/normanse/uploads/2/9/8/5/29853431/flipping_your_classroom.pdf

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Before proceeding with Re-Reading Keynes, I would like to clarify the issue of exogeneity and endogeneity, which he understands, but most of his followers failed to understand.  This is to clarify a segment of a phrase he uses in describing the four ways in which level of employment can increase within the framework of the classical theory of economics. The fourth factor listed by Keynes appears somewhat mysterious in the original text:
(d) an increase in the price of non-wage-goods compared with the price of wage-goods, associated with a shift in the expenditure of non-wage-earners from wage-goods to non-wage-goods.
== in the previous post (P9: Theory of Employment) I re-stated this as an exogenous increase in real wage, to clarify what Keynes wanted to say. However, (d) above is what Keynes actually wrote, and I want to explain why Keynes wrote in this way. This involves an excursion into the supply and demand model, and the concepts of exogeneity and endogeneity.
What Keynes is saying here is that if there is an increase in demand for luxury goods consumed by aristocrats, and an associate decrease in demand for necessities purchased by laborors, then the real wage will rise and that will increase employment. Keynes is very careful to create a scenario in which the real wage rises due to EXOGENOUS factors shift in demand by non-wage earners — the aristocrats.  What Keynes understood is something basic which is not understood by modern economists like Varian when they discuss the supply and demand model — ONE CANNOT CONTEMPLATE VARIATIONS IN AN ENDOGNEOUS VARIABLE (because endogenous variables are not free to move; they can only change if some of the exogenous variables which affect them change). This means that asking what consumers will demand if the price changes is a WRONG question — prices are endogenous and they cannot change by themselves. An increase in price cause by shortfall in supply would lead different consequencs from an increase in price caused by an upward shift in the demand. If a consumer is asked what he will do when the price changes, he should ask WHY did the price change, because his response to the price change DEPENDS on cause of the price change. He cannot provide a response to the question without learning about the cause, and whether or not this is a temporary or permanent change.

 

Comments on Varian: Intermediate Microeconomics. Chapter 1, which sets up a simple supply and demand model.

Brief Summary of Post:

These comments are about the first few pages of the chapter. Quotes from Varian are in italics. Criticisms are made in this post about the concepts of models, optimization, equilibrium, and the concept of exogeneity, as dealt with by Varian. Models are used without explicit discussion of the relationships between model and reality, which is essential to understanding how models work. For an extended discussion see my lecture on Models Versus Reality. The post explains why optimization, taken is tautological by Varian, is false as a description of consumer behavior. For an extended discussion of the conflict between axiomatic theory of consumer behavior and actual human behavior, see my one hour video: Behavioral Economics Versus Neoclassical Economic Theory.  Similarly, the decision to study only equilibrium behavior handicaps economists, making them blind to disequilibrium events like the Global Financial Crisis.

Detailed Discussion

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Luxemburg’s economic writings have always been subjected to controversial readings and interpretations. At the beginning of the 1910s, the Russian philosopher and economist Rosa Luxemburg (1890-1919) published The Accumulation of Capital.   Considering Marx as her starting point, she developed a critical explanation of the economic and political consequences of capitalism in the context of the times in which she lived.

Her book offers the possibility of reflecting on alternatives to contemporary capitalist market economies. Indeed, the current global crisis is an opportune time to class activities where students could reflect upon capitalism and explore alternatives.

 

An on line version of The Accumulation of Capital can be found at

http://libcom.org/files/luxemburg%20the%20accumulation%20of%20capital.pdf

 

Quotes from Rosa Luxemburg

“Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.” 

“Freedom is always, and exclusively, freedom for the one who thinks differently.” 

“The most revolutionary thing one can do is always to proclaim loudly what is happening.”

“Marxism is a revolutionary worldview that must always struggle for new revelations
Read more.”

Source:  http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/r/rosaluxemb279551.html#AXozLPizxPtWIzLw.99

 

 

 

 

 

In  The Sociology of Imperialism (1919), Schumpeter moved forward to the interaction of economic and non-economic factors in the analysis of imperialism. In fact, he considered the relevance of the construction of an “economic sociology” in the study of historical change. His increasing concern in “groups and classes” as the real agents of change in the capitalist world-economy was reinforced within the analysis of the nature and manifestations of imperialism in history. Schumpeter highlighted that

a) imperialism has involved empires,

b) imperialism has dealt with nations and territories,

c) imperialism has revealed the subordination of a society to other by the threat of force, and

d) imperialism could involve national conflicts between social classes.

Considering the relevance of class activities that foster the students’ participation, the discussion of Schumpeter’s contribution could involve, at least, three aspects of the contemporary debate on imperialism and globalization:

  • the evolution of institutions in the capitalism system;
  • the challenges to overcome the conflicts that overwhelm the activity of specific groups of interest within national states;
  • the social configuration of those “groups and classes” that could shape the capitalist world-economy dynamics.