Project launches new interdisciplinary course: "Prosperity"

10,000 years ago, everyone everywhere was dirt poor. Why are so many people now prosperous? Why do some societies grow rich while others remain poor? What does it take to succeed in societies whose economies are largely market-based? What does it take to deserve to succeed? What are some of the ethical problems that arise from market exchanges, and are there any solutions to these problem

This course is an interdisciplinary study of what makes societies fair, free, and prosperous. We will evaluate the institutions of the market using the tools of ethics, political philosophy, economics, history, and political science. We will investigate issues concerning the nature of money and prices, the role of the division of labor, business ethics, commerce and entrepreneurship, overconsumption and overpopulation, exploitation and alienation, the relationship between wealth and happiness, the motivations of market actors, the rule of law, liberty and market society, rent-seeking and corporate welfare, and more. We will conduct experiments and play games in class to illustrate certain concepts. 

Readings will be drawn from philosophy, politics, and economics -- though with a handful of history and a pinch of poetry, too. As described in the syllabus, we will be taking a somewhat unorthodox approach to student writing assignments and to grading.

This course is open to all interested students. There are no prerequisites.