Note: October, 2014:
Is Capitalism Good for the Poor? was written in 2004 and reflects the consensus of scholarship at that time. In the intervening years, reviews and data updates were performed approximately every 2 years, most recently in 2012. Teachers are reminded that all sources used in compiling the materials are fully cited and many of the citations include direct links which may be helpful in retrieving recently revised data.
The lesson plans and student activities in Is Capitalism Good for the Poor? (CAP) have been carefully designed and written by distinguished economists, including a Nobel Laureate, award winning curriculum writers, and classroom teachers to engage students in discussions and study of some of the most important economic issues of our time. The title question is intentionally provocative to stir interest and thought, and the answer—yes or no—depends on the particular features of a nation’s institutions and how we measure and perceive poverty. Poverty, capitalism, economic growth, income distribution, markets, property rights, rule of law, and moral values are among the many topics addressed. CAP Lessons Lessons may be viewed and printed as web pages or downloaded from the links below. Lessons are designed to stand alone, or to be used together as the framework for a unit on capitalism and poverty in the developing world. Applicable economics content standards are identified. All FTE materials may be freely copied and edited for classroom use.
- Historical Overview
- Lesson 1: Defining Terms: Poverty and Capitalism
- Lesson 1 Part 1: What is Poverty and Who Are the Poor?
- Lesson 1 Part 2: Capitalism – Institutional Building Blocks
- Classroom Activity: Will the Real Capitalism Please Stand Up?
- Lesson 2: Property Rights and the Rule of Law
- Lesson 3: Beneficiaries of Competition
- Classroom Activity: The More, the Merrier
- Lesson 4: How Incentives Affect Innovation
- Classroom Activity: It’s Not Rocket Science
- Includes 3 exercises:
- “Distinguishing Between Invention and Innovation”
- “If the Soviets Were So Smart, Why Weren’t They Rich?”
- “No More Slide Rules – The Costs and Benefits of Innovation”
- Lesson 5: Character Values and Capitalism
- Classroom Activity: The Ultimatum Game
- Conclusions and Caveats