Economics 281

Large differences in income levels within and between countries are a characteristic of the world we live in. Also in South Africa, with one of the most unequal societies, is the difference between the haves and the have-nots clearly visible; the wealth of the high-middle income groups - with their large cars, DSTV, expensive clothing - stand in contrast to those living on the periphery, often less than a few hundred meters from one-another. While most people are today better off than earlier generations, there are still many in society that have not benefited much from the dramatic growth and development of the last few decades. In short: while we live in a world that is rapidly moving forward, there are some that's left behind.

This course is aimed at investigating these development conundrums. The first semester covers how we got to where we are now; why is Africa poorer than other regions, why a small group of people in North-Western Europe suddenly experienced a rapid growth in income in the early nineteenth century, why even within national borders massive inequalities remain (with South Africa the perfect example)? Man's eternal quest to satisfy his unquenched needs with limited resources stands central to answering these questions. In search of answers, we investigate historical examples. The development of mankind - especially the last 400 years - provides a tapestry of choices by ordinary people, leaders and countries and the consequences that it entailed. The lessons of the past help us to navigate the future with more confidence and wisdom.

Module outcomes

Students that successfully complete this course, will

  1. have a good understanding of the economic change of the last 400 years
  2. be able to refer to economic theories to explain this change and progress
  3. be able to differentiate between correlation and causation in economic analysis, with special reference to natural experiments in history
  4. have a good understanding of Africa's development dilemmas and opportunities
  5. be able to evaluate South Africa's position in the global economy and identify future trends

 

Prerequisite modules (P): Economics 114Economics 144 OR Prerequisite Pass modules (PP): Economics 288

Continuous assessment

Credits: 32

Classes per week: 3 lectures

Module convenor: Semester 1: Prof J Fourie

Module convenor: Semester 2: Mr EG Moses

Work programme: Economic History

Work programme: Economic Development

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BER Weekly

14 October 2019
While incoming data on the global economy remains downbeat, the mood was lifted last week after progress was made on US-China trade talks and Brexit negotiations. On the domestic data front, mining and manufacturing data for August added to growing evidence that real GDP growth likely slowed significantly in 2019Q3 after the nice rebound recorded in...

Read the full issue
 

Upcoming Seminars

No seminars are currently listed. Please check back soon.
 
More...

BER Weekly

14 October 2019
While incoming data on the global economy remains downbeat, the mood was lifted last week after progress was made on US-China trade talks and Brexit negotiations. On the domestic data front, mining and manufacturing data for August added to growing evidence that real GDP growth likely slowed significantly in 2019Q3 after the nice rebound recorded in...

Read the full issue