Hard Times: The Economy

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Duration: three (3) class sessions


Students will develop an ability to place current economic events into historical context.


Provided with sufficient background knowledge, students will understand the natural fluctuations of a market economy and the role of economic downturns in a capitalist system.


Session One -- lecture, relationship between production and consumption/monetary inflation and deflation in a market economy; define and discuss the term recession and differentiate between recession and depression (provide historical overview of “booms and busts” from the fifteenth century to today)

Session Two -- review HNN news backgrounder; discuss the varying ideological interpretations current global economic crisis (introduce and discuss theories of Karl Marx and Adam Smith)

Session Three -- group activity; break students up into groups and have each create a joint document that (1) analyzes the economic situation today from either a Marxian or free-market perspective and (2) offers future projections for the state of the global economy; the analysis/projection must be broken into sections covering history, economic theory, current economic status globally and nationally, and likely future developments


Students are assessed based on (1) their level of group participation/contribution and (2) the degree of conceptual understanding expressed collectively and in their individual sections.

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