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Lukas Lopez-Jensen

12/12/18
Senior Seminar Plan
1. A Brief History of Economics
Economics has been an important discipline for hundreds of years, and it was
most clearly formalized with the work of Adam Smith in the 18th century. Smith argued,
among several other things, that competition is self-regulating and that everyone working
in favor of their individual interests would propel a market forward. This concept, called
the invisible hand, became the foundation of capitalism alongside principles of supply
and demand. The invisible hand was among the first formalized principles of economics.
Later on, new key concepts such as scarcity (how our decisions are impacted by the fact
that resources are finite) were introduced by philosophers like Thomas Malthus.
Economics slowly evolved and shifted alongside society throughout the 19th century, and
western countries began manipulating the field in ways to maximize their profits from it
and form new ideologies.

By the end of the 19th century, Karl Marx would revolutionize economics by
proposing the idea of a command economy in which resources are managed and
distributed by the government instead of being left to the whims of supply and demand.
Based on the premise of equitable access to resources for all, Marx’s communism would
attract the attention of utopian thinkers throughout Europe. In practice, however,
communism had deep flaws that resulted in devastating resource mismanagement and
widespread poverty and famine. The Soviet Union, a country with incredible industrial
technology and abysmal standards of living, showed the dangerous extremes of practicing
communism.

Once economics had been split into the polar opposites of communism and
capitalism, further developments were made within each subdivision. In the wake of the
Great Depression, John Maynard Keynes saw the need for more revisions to economics.
Taking ideas from both market economies (capitalism) and command economies
(communism), Keynes created the idea of a mixed economy. Keynesian economics
allowed for government intervention in markets open to the common people. By
measuring aggregate demand differently and formalizing concepts of investment and
government intervention, Keynes found new ways to balance the will of the people with
the capabilities of the government in how economics functions.

Since the time of Keynes, a few more changes in economic thought have
occurred. Most notable of these is the rise of supply-side economics, particularly in
American right-wing politicians and economists. Ideas such as trickle-down economics,
the Laffer curve, and the broader umbrella of Reaganomics all sought to challenge some
of Keynes’s theories and bolster economic growth by stimulating suppliers and trusting
that this stimulus would spread throughout the economy. The debate between the two
major American economic schools of thought is one of the most nuanced in politics and
requires a deep understanding of economics to be fully appreciated.

Works Cited:
1. Beattie, Andrew. “The History of Economic Thought.” Investopedia,
Investopedia, 31 May 2018,
www.investopedia.com/articles/economics/08/economic-thought.asp.
2. Harper, David R. “Understanding Supply-Side Economics.” Investopedia,
Investopedia, 6 Dec. 2018, www.investopedia.com/articles/05/011805.asp.
3. “John Maynard Keynes.” Library of Economics and Liberty, Library of
Economics and Liberty, www.econlib.org/library/Enc/bios/Keynes.html.
4. Petropoulou, Dimitra. “International Economics.” Studying Economics, Studying
Economics, www.studyingeconomics.ac.uk/module-options/international-
economics/.

2. Explanation of Domains, Relevance to DCIS


Take Action: This project will give students the opportunity to attend a lecture on a
subject they might not otherwise learn about. They will take action by seeking out this
learning opportunity. I will take action by using my connections in the field of economics
to bring this learning to them.
Investigate the World: Students will learn about economics and its connections to careers
and the “real world”. By learning about the principles of economics, students will better
understand their world politically, financially, and logically.
Communicate Ideas: Although most communication will be done by my guest, giving
students the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the lecture would allow them to
communicate their ideas on the subject and gain clarity on uncertain aspects of it.
This seminar is needed at DCIS because our students get a tiny introduction to economics
(if that) through our curriculum, and I find this discipline far too important to go
unnoticed throughout high school. The nuances this lecture could bring to students’
political opinions, financial literacy, and general worldview would be greatly helpful.

3. Speaker’s Personal/Professional History


Professor Daurie Augostine has been teaching introductory college economics classes for
over 30 years. Teaching at the Community College of Denver and the University of
Colorado Denver, Augostine has become accustomed to teaching college students the
basics of economics. In my experience as her concurrent enrollment student, Augostine
has taught effectively and clearly to communicate the principles of Macroeconomics.
She’s taught both macroeconomics and microeconomics and would be able to introduce
the discipline to any high school upperclassman willing to learn it. In addition to her
teaching experience, Augostine has authored Principles of Macroeconomics: Student
Study Guide and Instructor Notes. This collection of sample questions, student work, and
instructor feedback regarding macroeconomics is one of the culminations of Augostine’s
work in economics.

4. Topics to be Discussed, Questions to be Answered


In her lecture, Professor Augostine would cover the reasons she decided to pursue
economics, the career paths available to economists, and the most fundamental,
applicable principles of economics. Students would be encouraged to ask questions
regarding these topics, or any economic confusion they have in general. The seminar
could be part lecture and part question/answer session if student questions are prominent
and thought-provoking enough.

5. Learning Objective, Explanation of Measurement


Students will get an introduction to economics, learning why and how to pursue a career
in the study and some of its foundational concepts. Students will also have any pressing
questions about economics answered. The latter objective will be measured by how well
questions to Professor Augostine are answered, and the former objectives can be self-
assessed by students, perhaps by asking them before and after the seminar how confident
they are in their knowledge of economics.

6. Check for Understanding


I can check my audience’s understanding through:
-A survey of their confidence in their economic knowledge taken before/after the seminar
-Encouraging them to ask questions regarding the material discussed
-A show of hands at the end of the seminar asking who feels better informed about
economics
-A show of hands at the end of the seminar asking who feels more likely to enter the field
of economics after this seminar.

7. Time/Place, Justification
I will conduct my seminar on a date to be determined, although a January advisement
period would be ideal. If possible, I would like to hold it in the auditorium, where the
largest audience could be sustained. If fewer people demonstrate interest, the MUN room
would also suffice. This seminar would be ideal during advisement because:
-Fewer academic activities would be interrupted.
-All upperclassmen would be in the same class and could be coordinated more easily.
-Advisors would be able to attend the seminar as well if they wanted to.
-Professor Augostine is more likely to be available at the start of the school day.