The core objective of the Principles of Macroeconomics course is to familiarize students with how policy makers at the Federal level are thinking about the national economy, its health, the inevitable booms and busts, and what needs to be done to mediate the volatility of business cycle fluctuations. The exponentially increasing fragility of global environmental and financial/economic systems of the last few decades, in particular the damning evidence of climate change and grim consequences of the Great Recession, demonstrated that we must do better in teaching the foundations of financial/economic literacy and cultivate the ability to evaluate fiscal and monetary policy decisions that directly impact global economic and environmental systems.
In this course we learn why economic growth, in general, is a very good idea -- economic growth relieves nations from poverty, it is directly correlated to better health outcomes, and it provides for technological progress. But these gains do not come free of charge and we no longer can ignore the grave environmental and social costs. Along with presenting the basic traditional (i.e. bypassing hidden costs) macroeconomic definitions and macroeconomic accounting methods, I ask my students to challenge these definitions and assumptions.
Today is the perfect time to learn about macroeconomics! Today’s media discussions are exceptionally pointed and center on many economic policy issues. They range from how to recover from the negative impact of COVID on national and global economies, taxation and inequities, costs vs. benefits of environmental protection, trade wars, technology-driven job destruction vs. creation, welfare debates and the list can go on and on. The concepts that we learn in Macroeconomics are directly related to all of these arguments and it is imperative for us to understand the theoretical and empirical underpinnings of such debates and be able to make informed conclusions on various policy agendas.