WEEK 1: ECONOMICS AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS
- Video: Introduction + Lesson 1: “Political Implications of Economic Systems”
- Intro: Economics is a crucial discipline in the pursuit of happiness among people and nations, but economists strongly disagree on how it should be implemented. Adam Smith believed that it is work, and not legislation, that leads to prosperity—free markets and not state action that improves lives. In our time, many intellectuals believe that socialism is both more productive and more humane than the free market. They argue that government must counteract systemic inequalities in the market system. In this first week, you will begin to examine market alternatives and their political implications.
- Discussion Questions:
- Why do you think people turn to socialism?
- What is democratic socialism and what are its problems?
- What should the role of government be in a free market economy?
- What are some areas in which the government oversteps economically today?
- Should the government provide education for all? If so, how much education? If not, why not?
- Are economic freedoms and economic rights necessary to a free society?
- Why is private property important for human beings?
- Does socialism necessitate authoritarian government?
- Supplementary Materials:
- Consider taking the Lesson 1 Quick Quiz.
- Consider watching Lesson 2.
- “The Relationship between Economic Freedom and Political Freedom,” Milton Friedman
- The “Learn More” tab on Lesson 1
- “The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism,” F.A. Hayek
- “In Venezuela’s Socialist Paradise, Workers Report to Labor Camps,” Robert Tracinski