Economic Growth and Distributive Justice Part I -The Role of the State (Coursera)

Economic Growth and Distributive Justice Part I -The Role of the State (Coursera)
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Economic Growth and Distributive Justice Part I -The Role of the State (Coursera)
If you really care about the big questions in the economies and societies of the 21st century, such as distributive justice - namely, inequality of income or wealth, and its correlation with economic growth - this course is meant for you. The knowledge you will gain can truly change your outlook on our world.

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"Economic Growth and Distributive Justice - the Role of the State" is the first part of a two part course and it includes the following four lectures:

(1) What do we need a state for?

(2) The Relationship between Efficiency and Distributive Justice

(3) Demonstrating the implications of different ethical theories

(4) Distributive Justice: measurement and implications

Once you've completed the first part, we strongly recommend that you register for the second part entitled: "Economic Growth and Distributive Justice - Maximizing Social Well-being", as well. Taking both parts of the course would enable you to obtain a fuller and more comprehensive knowledge about Economic Growth and Distributed Justice.

The course is founded upon the elemental idea that the role of the state is to maximize the well-being - or simply the happiness - of its residents. In 9 fascinating, edifying lessons, using only simple words and decoding professional terminologies that sometimes baffle the intelligent layman, the course expounds many truths – both intuitive and unintuitive. Often using examples from the US and Europe, it does not however focus on policies in any particular region of the world, and is directly applicable to all countries around the globe.

The course touches upon the essence of important concepts like efficiency and equity, inequality and poverty, gross domestic product, tax evasion and tax planning; it presents the work of Nobel Laureate James Mirrlees and his followers - promoting a coherent system that integrates tax and government expenditures to maximize social welfare; and illuminates a range of high-profile issues from their economic angle:

• Climate change: the atmosphere and oceans as public goods, and how smart (Pigovian) taxation can be used to combat the rapidly increasing threats to our planet;

• Technology as the engine of economic growth;

• Taxing the rich: How can we mitigate the growing inequality problem? Should we impose a global tax on capital?

The curriculum includes interviews with major figures in the fields of law and of economics: Harvard's Elhanan Helpman, Dan Shaviro from NYU and Richard Epstein from the University of Chicago and NYU.

After successfully completing this course, you can expect to be able to:

• better understand economic issues presented in the media

• form an informed opinion on the strengths and weaknesses of presented social economic policies

• define and measure inequality and poverty

• define the connection between inequality (income, wealth) and economic growth

• explain the foundations of economic growth

• design a tax and transfer system to maximize the happiness of individuals

All these will allow you to better understand the policies being developed around you, and to play a larger, more informed role in their development, as a conscientious citizen.


Syllabus


WEEK 1

What do we Need a State For?

Dear students,

We are delighted that you have chosen to take our course 'Economic Growth and Distributive Justice'. We hope that you will not only benefit from the broad knowledge it offers, but also (or maybe, above all) profoundly enjoy the learning process. This week's lecture, the first in the course, will focus on a question you are all familiar with, or at least, with some version of it: Ask not what you can do for the state; ask what the state can do for you. We will try to answer this question, while introducing basic ideas and terminologies related to economics, law, philosophy, psychology, sociology and more. The notion of HAPPINESS will be a major theme, as it is the ultimate answer to the question above. As part of the discussion, we will touch upon diverse issues such as: defining happiness; finding out what makes us happy; and what the state can do to maximize the individuals’ wellbeing. We will discuss market failures such as externalities and free-riding on public goods, and understand the role of the state in overcoming them. So, are you ready? Let's begin! Please take a few minutes to fill in the Welcome Survey that will help us get to know you better. The teaching team Economic Growth and Distributive Justice


WEEK 2

The Relationship between Efficiency and Distributive Justice

Dear students, We are happy to meet you all again, in the second week of our course 'Economic Growth and Distributive Justice'. We hope you enjoyed last week's session, and encourage you to continue participating actively. This week's lecture will delve deeper into the concepts of 'Economic Growth' and 'Distributive Justice'. Prof. Margalioth will take you on a short journey around the world, exploring rich and poor countries, describing veritable miracles that have taken place in some of them, and teaching you the intuition of the ECONOMIC GROWTH MODEL. The discussion will go on to analyze the complex correlation between EQUALITY and EFFICIENCY, using colorful examples such as desert islands, plane crashes and leaking buckets. Finally, the lecture will present a number of theoretical frameworks, through which one can think about these two focal concepts. Aren't you excited? So let's begin week 2! Wishing you all a great learning experience, The teaching team Economic Growth and Distributive Justice


WEEK 3

Demonstrating Implications of Different Ethical Theories

Dear students,

Thank you for joining us on the third week of the course 'Economic Growth and Distributive Justice'. This week Prof. Margalioth will teach you the main theories of distributive justice, explain how we can choose between them, and discuss their relative strengths and weaknesses. Then he will show you why the value of a dollar is not necessarily, or perhaps, necessarily not, the same for different individuals, using a term you should already be familiar with – MARGINAL UTILITY. Then we will present an eye-opening example – of one poor guy named Bob, who has been involved in a traffic accident – to show you why the conventional ANALYSIS OF TAXATION, used by policymakers all around the world to achieve Economic Growth and Distributive Justice, should be replaced with an alternative, much better analysis - to be presented in next week's class. Let's begin week 3! Economic Growth and Distributive Justice team


WEEK 4

Distributive Justice: Measurement and Implications

Dear students,

In the first part of this week's class we will discuss the policy question posed in lecture number 3, and offer a solution based on the methodology we are studying in this course. As we hope you will see, this methodology, which focuses on maximizing wellbeing, provides you (our policymakers) with clear answers. We will then move on to the question of measurement: what should we measure when assessing the level of Distributive Justice in society? So let's begin week 4! The team of Economic Growth and Distributive Justice



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