Trade issues occasionally dominate and are a continuing theme of the international scene: the global market, sweatshops, child labor, trade deficits, the euro, sanctions, tariffs, embargoes, and the EU, NAFTA, WTO – the seemingly endless alphabet of interest groups, treaties, organizations, and trade agreements. As a classroom topic, international trade has the great advantage of providing ready-made material for teachers wanting to engage student interest in current events. On the other hand, the complexity of the issues surrounding trade is daunting. While economic reasoning doesn’t guarantee resolution of the issues, it is a powerful tool of critical thinking that brings clarity to the discussion of current events. The ability to determine comparative advantage through opportunity cost, the ability to identify incentives and predict resulting behavior, and the ability to use supply and demand analysis of particular labor and resource markets, help students to set aside the emotion of international trade issues and cut through the rhetoric of media reports. This workshop will offer examples and classroom activities that help students build a foundation for their opinions on the news of the day.
- Lesson 1: The Basics Still Apply: Domestic or International, A Market is a Market
- Activity: The Magic of Markets
- Activity: Tag Check
- Lesson 2: Bridges and Barriers to Trade
- Activity: Tic-Tac-Toe Tariff
- Activity: The Euro: Currency Exchange and Transaction Costs
- Exercise: U.S. Sugar Policy – A Sweet Deal?
- Lesson 3: Trade and Labor: Sweatshops
- Activity: Standing Up for Sweatshops?
- Lesson 4: Trade and Jobs
- Lesson 5: Trade and the Environment
- Activity: Trash
- Lesson 6: The Balance of Payments Always Balances
- Activity: Balance of Trade Among States
- Lesson 7: International Monetary Exchange
- Activity: Foreign Currency and Foreign Exchange
- Resource List