“If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.” —John F. Kennedy
Economics is primarily concerned with the allocation of scarce resources - all economic policy and institutions indirectly attempt to tackle this problem. With the current state of distribution, are we helping the poor, saving the rich, or neither? In today’s society, is equality a moral prerequisite for a civilized people? Most recently, the Occupy movement has come out very strongly against the traditional study of Economics - but is such sweeping condemnation valid? What does the study of Economics have to contribute to this discussion, and what is lacking?
We can already tell that this discussion is complex and multi-faceted. Economics is embedded in all aspects of human society; no matter how disconnected they may seem, our actions and those of the institutions we support have economic consequences that are necessary to understand. As youth, we are the next generation of leaders - be it as policy-makers writing policy, financial analysts devising a new mutual fund configuration, teachers commanding the attention of 40 pupils, or even decision makers and consumers in our everyday lives, our actions will affect the lives of those around us.
This ASB aims to facilitate such understanding through a high level of group conversation, self-driven inquiry and critical thinking. In a three part process, we will begin by learning to identify inequality and relevant economic concepts, move on to applying our economic insights to other fields, and then focus on our roles as individuals in society. During our spring break expedition, we will engage in direct service and see firsthand what some kinds of inequality look like. We will also meet with the stakeholders in our system who stand at the intersections of economics and other fields, such as technology, education, health and justice, such as labor unions and journalists.