COMPELLING QUESTION Why do politicians disagree on economic issues—isn’t there one right answer? Students work in small groups and are assigned a version of diary excerpts written by a student intern working for a policymaking legislator. Half the groups read a diary that focuses on stability, security, and equity as broad social goals. The other half read a diary that focuses on freedom, efficiency, and growth. Students determine which broad social goals are emphasized in their reading. During a debriefing, students will discuss broad social goals and identify how trade-offs arise when a society pursues competing social goals. Finally, students choose a current social issue and develop a public policy to deal with that issue, identifying the goals they are attempting to achieve and trade-offs that might arise in terms of other worthy goals.
Using poverty rate as a measure of development, students select countries five at a time to compare how resources are allocated to three economic sectors (agriculture, industrial, service). After making comparisons, students will identify patterns in which sector is emphasized by the wealthiest countries, and will look for patterns in the geographic distribution of countries.
Students will review the health systems of United States and Canada. They will identify the positive aspects of each system. They will look at the trade-offs associated with those positive aspects. In Canada, everyone has health care, but certain specialized medical services are not always available. In the United States, many people are not insured, yet for many people the access to technology and specialization is phenomenal. Which is the better choice? Students will also recognize that choosing between these two systems requires a trade-off between the economic goals of economic freedom and economic security.
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