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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Wolfram W. Latsch
SIS 490
Seattle Campus

Special Topics

Content varies from quarter to quarter.

Class description

This class will look at the relationships between economic growth, prosperity and the environment. Some people argue that economic growth and increased resource use will utlimately prove devastating in environmental terms; others have argued that the forces involved in economic growth and innovation will (or already do)result in the greater compatibility of environmental protection and the increases in living standards that are required to lift many billions of people out of poverty. We will look at arguments from both sides, and particularly from the perspective of economics and political economy. We will look at different ideas about economic growth, especially the role of ideas and innovation, and at the role of small and large institutions in creating and managing valuable resources - an area that has received a lot of attention with the award of the Nobel Prize in Economics to Elinor Ostrom in 2009. Specific readings include recent works on the nature of prosperity, on understanding common property resources that operate between markets and hierarchies, and on threats to the environment that emenate from poverty and political conflict. Through these readinsg we will explore the concepts of sustainability and sustainable development, an idea that has achieved a lot of currency in recent years and has become an important part of the debate on growth and the environment.

Student learning goals

Understand key ideas and principles of economic growth, and apply them

Understand the basic concepts and ideas of institutional analysis, and apply them

Understand the framework of common property resources and apply it

Understand the debate on links between poverty, prosperity, and environmental resources and values

Be able to define and discuss the idea of sustainability or sustainable development

General method of instruction

Lecture, with discussion in class

Recommended preparation

Students with a basic background in economics will find this course particularly useful

Class assignments and grading

Short assignment due in every class meeting, one or two longer written assignments applying conecpts and ideas to current issues and debates.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by M Jane Meyerding
Date: 10/20/2010