Below is the introduction to the Economics section of the CORE 100 text book written by the program’s former Director, Richard Powers. CORE 100 is not an economics class, but it does touch on a central economic question: What is the appropriate role of government in a modern capitalist economy? After having worked through the rest of this Learning Module, read the passage below and write a 300 word essay that connects it to the current situation in the United States (the pandemic and the economic crisis it has precipitated): What is the appropriate role of government in response to the current pandemic and the resulting economic downturn? (what should the government be doing, if anything? How should the government respond, if at all?)
“America was founded on the principle of property rights, that is, the right of the owner to do whatever he wanted with his property, whether that property was a cow, a slave, or a corporation employing millions. But what about the rights of the slave, the employee or, for that matter, and this is not covered in this course, the rights of the cow? But an economy ruled only by the rights of private property not only had no room for the rights of employees, but, when the free market or laissez faire economy (don’t worry, you will learn the meaning of these words) collapses, what should be the role of the government to bring the economy back to life, or to prevent the next collapse? That brings in the idea of government regulation of the economy, and the debate over the rightness or wrongness, the wisdom or foolishness of government intervention in the economy that has dominated American politics since the days of Hamilton and Jefferson until today’s political struggles between conservatives and progressives. Prepare to have your fundamental ideas about the economy shaken, strengthened, or even changed by the debates you will be following in this last part of the course.”
Here is the two sources needed:
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