Dear ECON 203 Students:
While the U.S. election is (probably) behind us, a politically polarized country is not. Why not? And where did this all come from? Interesting questions, perhaps, you say, but certainly not a concern of a course in microeconomics. Not so. Listen to the podcast interview of a well-known Harvard economist who summarizes some rather striking conclusions about the microeconomic origins and consequences of our current polarized polity.
Note: Reading the short excerpts reproduced in the link is not enough. Listen to the approximately 22-minute interview.
So what concept in our Week 1 discussion is, as per the author, at the core of U.S. political polarization? Explain the author’s argument. Make sure you include an explanation for the “left-right” divide. Why do you think this happens that way? Do you think that restricting trade is the solution? If so, why? If not, what solutions might you suggest? (You’ll learn about a couple in the podcast.) Finally, are the election results further proof of the author’s thesis? Or should we expect to see a change?
Best wishes for an engaging, “non-polarizing” discussion.