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Is Capitalism Good for the Poor?



In the face of increasingly wealthy developed countries, the recent failure of Venezuela, and the dismal record of African despotism, the question of how to help the poor in the developing world has taken on added urgency.  Led by the scholarship of economic historian and Nobel laurate, Douglass North, thinking about economic development has turned to examining institutions, the “rules of the game” that shape a nation’s accepted and expected patterns of behavior and interaction.  The Is Capitalism Good for the Poor? unit examines empirical evidence to answer the question of how capitalist institutions affect the poor – whether in communist China, in Brazil’s rainforest frontier, in democratic but tradition-bound India, or in the civil strife of some African countries.

Curriculum:  Designed to provide insight into the dilemma of world economic development:

  • What is poverty and who are the poor?
  • What is the difference between absolute and relative poverty?
  • Creating an institutional definition of capitalism
  • How property rights and the rule of law promote wealth-creating investment
  • Who benefits from opening markets to competition?
  • Do entrepreneurship and innovation help the poor?
  • What is the effect of market incentives on ethical and socially cooperative behavior?

Teachers will receive content instruction and activities for use in the high school and middle school classroom.

One Day Seminars qualify for one graduate hour credit in economics from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs for an additional fee. Please see the UCCS Optional Graduate Credit page for further information.