ECON 305 - Comparative Economic Systems
Fall 2013
Professor Elliott Parker
Office: Clark Admin, Lake Level
TR 9:30 - 10:45 AM
DMS 104
Office Hours: WR 2:00-3:00 PM
or email me for an appointment

For Printing: one-page Short Syllabus

Paper 2 is Due on December 10
Course Description:
ECON 305 examines the major economic systems of the world, in both theory and practice. The approach will generally focus on encouraging a general understanding of how economic systems work and how economic theory interacts with government policy, history, and culture to explain economic performance. Economies examined in some detail will include several advanced market capitalist countries (e.g., the U.S., Japan, France, Sweden, and Germany), the former socialist economies (e.g, the former Soviet Union, Poland, and China), and other East Asian economies (e.g., South Korea and North Korea). We will also consider Iran as an example of an Islamic-based economy, and India as an example of an isolationist country that is now beginning to join the global economy.

Prior study in economics (ECON 102 and 103) is required, but this course will be less mathematical than other theory courses. It will, however, require you to become familiar with available data on economic performance. As a course which spends substantial time focused on the diversity of economies, ECON 305 meets the diversity requirement of the University Core Curriculum. One expected component of the diversity requirement is a rigorous writing requirement.

If you want to know why it is important to learn the material in this course, you might view this You-Tube video called, Americans are not stupid.  I find it more painful than funny, and I hope that it is not a statistically valid sample of my fellow Americans.

Product Details BOOKS:

The first three books are available at the ASUN Bookstore's Wolf Shop in Joe Crowley Student Union (JCSU), which will also do comparisons for you. The fourth is online.
This course requires a significant amount of writing, and your ability to express yourself clearly in writing will significantly affect your grade.Grading will depend on:
  • Three Exams (two midterms and a final) -- each worth 20%. The midterms are scheduled for October 1 and November 19, and the final will be on Tuesday, December 17, 12:30-2:30 PM.
  • Two Papers -- the first worth 10%, the second worth 20%.
  • One Minute Essays -- 10%.
Exams will be long, in-class, and closed-book. These usually include essays, requiring both an ability to express yourself in writing and a good understanding of the lectures and the assigned readings, though as my class grows ever larger I am experimenting with other formats..You will find the exams challenging. Papers will be assigned at least two weeks in advance of their due dates, and are expected to be in formal APA academic style. They will require additional research. One-Minute Essays are in-class assignments.

For study purposes, here are some of my old exams, including keys where available. These are all I can make available at present:

What is the Difference between A and C students?


Read the university policy on academic integrity. Misconduct incorporates both cheating and plagiarism, and this includes both copying someone else's work as well as letting your work be copied, bringing in notes, text messaging or taking pictures of the exam, using other people's words or ideas and passing them off as your own, et cetera. One common example is a student who copies whole sentences and even paragraphs from an internet source, perhaps changing a few words here and there to pretend it is "different" somehow. Even if you then cite the source, it is still plagiarism if you do not put quote marks around the words you borrowed.

Any cheating will be severely punished, ranging from failing the exam or assignment at a minimum to failing the course and even expulsion from the university, in egregious cases or in cases where there is evidence of any prior offenses. Students who are caught cheating also lose their chance at college scholarships. 

I am serious as a heart attack about this. Every semester I catch somebody doing this who then claims ignorance of what is and isn't cheating, and I am tired of it. 

Academic Success Services:

Your student fees cover usage of the Math Center (784-4433), Tutoring Center (784-6801), and University Writing Center (784-6030). These centers support your classroom learning; it is your responsibility to take advantage of their services. Keep in mind that seeking help outside of class is the sign of a responsible and successful student.

Audio and Video Recording:

Surreptitious or covert video-taping of class or unauthorized audio recording of class is prohibited by law and by Board of Regents policy. This class may be videotaped or audio recorded only with the written permission of the instructor. In order to accommodate students with disabilities, some students may be given permission to record class lectures and discussions. Therefore, students should understand that their comments during class may be recorded.

School and Work:

Economics is essentially about making decisions when resources are scarce, and time is often our most scarce resource. Many of you work, but working too much while going to school makes it hard to focus on your studies and succeed in school. The College of Business Administration recommends the following maximum relationship between work and school:

Work Hours Per Week Credits Taken per Semester
10 15
20 12
30 9
40 6

These maximum recommendations work both ways. For example, a student working 10 hours per week should not take more than 15 credits and conversely, a student who is taking 15 credits should not work more than 10 hours per week. Of course, many of you will choose to exceed these maxima, but you should know that unless you have superpowers or take extremely easy courses, you are setting yourself up for lower grades, inadequate sleep, or other trouble. If you do not have scholarships or other means of support, then you might consider taking fewer credits per semester and an extra year or two to graduate.

Students with Disabilities:

Any student who qualifies with a disability is to provide his or her instructor with a letter from the Disability Resource Center stating the appropriate accommodations for this course. If you have a documented disability and wish to discuss how these academic accommodations will be implemented for this course, please contact the instructor during the first two weeks of class.



A.  The Classification and Comparison of Economic Systems
Read Heilbroner & Milberg, chapter 1.
Lecture Notes I(A)
B.  The Roots of Modern Economic Systems
1.  The Historical Development of Capitalism

Read Heilbroner & Milberg, chapters 2-3, Maddison, chapters 1-2; and the first section of Bernstein's book. 
Lecture Notes I(B)

2.  Classical, Marxist, Neoclassical, and Evolutionary Theories of  Economic Change

Read Heilbroner & Milberg, chapters 4-5; my lecture notes on economic change;  and you could also review the New School's website on the Classical Ricardian School.  Read also my lecture notes on growth and evolution, and you might even see Schumpeter, J.A. (1942), Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy.  Also, just for fun, you might want to check out Serendip's version of Conway's Game of Life to get a sense of how mathematicians might simulate chaotic interactions without using math..
Lecture Notes I(C) 
C.  The Institutions and Issues of the United States' Economy
Lecture Notes on USA
Read Heilbroner & Milberg, chapters 9-10, and the rest of Bernstein. For an introduction, albeit simple, to the market economy, see What is a Market Economy, by Michael Watts, produced in cooperation with the Joint Council on Economic Education.  See my presentation on the current economy: Parker NSF Presentation (PDF).
A.  The Microeconomic Efficiency of the Market 
The Five Theorems.  Market Distortions.  The Austrian Critique.   International Trade and Finance.

Read the de Soto book; the classic article by Hayek, F.A. (1945), "The use of knowledge in society," American Economic Review 35,4: 519-30 (online); and my lecture notes on market efficiency, market failure, government intervention and public failure.

B.  Macroeconomic Depressions and Recessions

Read Heilbroner & Milberg, chapter 6, and see my presentation on the Depression of 2008-2009.

C.  Market Failure, Government Intervention, and the Problem of Social Choice
Read Heilbroner & Milberg, chapter 7, and my lecture notes on social choice.  Also check out Serendip's simulation of a Prisoner's Dilemma game to understand this very important model of cooperation versus self-interest.



Read Heilbroner & Milberg, chapters 8 and 12, and Maddison, chapter 3. For each country below, read the report in the U.S. State Department's Country Background Report and the CIA's World Factbook.

A.  The European Union (Lecture Notes)

B. Capitalism in Great Britain (Lecture Notes) and Ireland (Lecture Notes)

C.  State-Directed Capitalism in France, Social Market Capitalism in Germany, and Corporatist Social Capitalism in Sweden  (Lecture Notes)

(5 lectures)
A.  The Marxist-Leninist Critique of Capitalism (Lecture Notes)
Read Heilbroner & Milberg, chapter 11, and The Communist Manifesto, by Karl Mark and Friedrich Engels (1848).

B.  Theories of the Classical Socialist Economy

Read my lecture notes on Material Balance Planning; and Kornai, J. (1992), The Socialist System:  The Political Economy of Communism, ch. 15. 

C.  Revolution and Central Planning in the Soviet Economy (Lecture Notes)

D.  Socialism in Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia and  Yugoslavia
(Lecture Notes)

A.  Transition in Central and Eastern Europe

B.  Problems of Economic Reform and Transition (Lecture Notes)

C.  The Troubled Transition of the Russian Economy


A.  The Development of China's Socialist Market Economy (Lecture Notes)

Read my MGRS 470 lecture on China; Parker, E. (1995a), "Prospects for the state-owned enterprise in China's Socialist Market Economy,"Asian Perspective 19,1: 7-36; Parker, E. (1995b), "Schumpeterian creative destruction and the growth of Chinese enterprises,"China Economic Review 6,2: 201-224, and Cargill, T., & E. Parker (2001), "Financial liberalization in China:  Limitations and lessons of the Japanese Regime," Journal of the Asian-Pacific Economy 6,1: 1-21.

B.  Boom and Bust in Japan (Lecture Notes)

Read Cargill, T.F., & E. Parker (2003), "Japanese economic structures and finance: Characteristics and causes of the current slowdown," in Structural Foundations of International Finance, edited by P.C. Padoan, P.  Brenton, & G. Boyd. Also see .my EC403 Lecture on Japanese development through WWII.

C.  The Four Tigers:  Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea (Lecture Notes)

D.  The 1997 Asian Financial Crisis

E.  India's Experiment with Self-Sufficiency
(Lecture Notes)

F.  Stagnation in North Korea (Lecture Notes)

Read  Cargill, T.F., & E. Parker (2011), "Economic reform and alternatives for North Korea," in  The Survival of North Korea, edited by  S.H. Kim, T. Roehrig, & B. Seliger.


ECON305 Listserver / Newsgroup

I will set up a "List Service" mailing list for the purpose of conducting group discussions via email. If you find that you are not receiving e-mails from me, e-mail me to tell me and I will add you to the list.  If you are on the list and still not receiving messages, please check your spam filter since list messages are often blocked.
Only people actually subscribed to the list may send any email to the list.  The message you send will go to everybody who has subscribed, including me.  Try to keep the spam down.  Be thoughtful of others, keep on the subject as much as possible, and do not carry on private, irrelevant conversations on the list.  If you wish to make a reply to an individual, be careful not to send a copy to the list.  Also, do not flame!  Give other students the respect you would demand of them; do not insult them explicitly or implicitly, and do not say anything vulgar or improper.  Remember that I will read your messages, and even if you send something to an individual it is easy for him or her to forward it on to me.

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