FOUN 092-2-14/Fall 2001

INSTRUCTOR: Professor Jean Shackelford

OFFICE HOURS: W 9-12 , Others by appointment (Coleman 165)

ADDRESSES: e-mail:, phone: X- 73441

Many economic stores from the 1990s are filled with fast moving markets (Boom!), tales of magical moments of entrepreneurship, invention,
mergers (Bang!); intrigue and incredulity, optimism; and to failure and despair (Crash!). Questions of ethics, economics, politics and social
responsibilities are raised as these stories unfold. Government surpluses for the moment replace deficits, socital values, norms and income
distribution are reflected in the politics, economics and social policy of the 2000s. We will examine a few of the 1990s stories told in best
sellers, articles, a movie or two, and documentaries. At the same time, we will examine a variety of data and explore some of the economic
theories that support or deny the claims of these stories. Perhaps, not surprisingly, we will discover that economists have stories of their own.


* Bob Woodward, Maestro: Greenspan's Fed and the American Boom. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000.
* Michael Lewis, The New New Thing : A Silicon Valley Story. New York: WW Norton, 2000.
* Roger Lowenstein, When Genius Failed : The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management. New York: Random House, 2000
* Additional articles and notes will be supplied during the semester.

CLASS SESSIONS: Class periods will be devoted to discussion the assigned readings, projects, videos, and questions and will focus on many of the issues and topics that you will find within the readings. In these discussions you should feel free to express your own views about the ideas presented in the readings. Please raise questions about the readings as well as any comments you might have on the ideas we are studying or how the ideas of various authors relate to those of another.

We will study ideas that offer a number of views and perspectives of the 1990s and will consider arguments which range from the abstract to overly concrete. Some of these ideas have probably influenced your thinking. And, they may have even affected your behavior! (Keep a list of what those might be.) The opportunity to compare your ideas with the ideas of authors commenting on the events of the nineties, and to use your imagination to perhaps re-envision some of the lessons we might take from this period are two of the most important challenges of this course, and if taken seriously, are important lessons to take from the course.

ASSIGNMENTS | JOURNAL | WEBFORM | "The Organizational Kid" | Data Resources Links |

GOALS for this Foundations Seminar:

One of the goals of Foundations Seminars is to help you begin to "negotiate the complexities of the modern world." Perhaps a goal of this particular seminar is to help you understand these complexities and help you chart the waters so you might better navigate your future journeys. Projects will be designed to help you further your analytical skills, be a bit more reflective and creative and understand diverse viewpoints that will serve you well as you continue to explore ideas throughout your life. You will be reading, writing, listening, and speaking, figuring out where the web leaves off and the library begins--and how to use each effectively.


Assigned readings, projects and videos provide the structure and the context for each class session. There is of course no pre-designed discussion of the material. Those will be constructed class by class. In each of the class period you are invited to confront ideas, concepts, policies, facts, data, in the context of the ideas of economists, politicians, inventors, and entrepreneurs as well as the times, events, and circumstances of the period.

You will be graded on a combination of written and oral assignments and projects. The following criteria will be used for course evaluation:

1. Preparation of assigned materials and reflection about questions that might arise in each reading assignment.
Make notes and jot down "muddy points" in your journal--and respond to them after class discussion.
List connections (and "disconnects") that you find between your "learning goals" and ideas or attitudes or behaviors you observe in
your assignments.
2. Voluntary participation in class discussions.
3. Frequency of participation.
4. Quality of participation.
5. Creating and asking questions about the ideas involved in class readings, projects and videos.
6. A course journal. You will keep a journal to record your reflections on readings, current issues in public policy, economic trends and new new issues in technology--ideas driving the "new economy."
7. Often you will be asked to prepare short written answers for class (sometimes for your journal) in which you discuss a specific question, reading or handout. These short essays should demonstrate all aspects of the writing process, including thinking through the argument, stating the argument clearly and revising the answer if necessary.
When these papers are returned, please collect them in a folder that you will hand in on the last day of class.
8. Short paper/oral presentation and/or (perhaps) a Web project. As the semester progresses you will be assigned a 6-10 page paper. At the end of the semester, oral summaries of these papers and projects will be presented to the class.
9. Group projects. Occasionally you will be asked to work in groups or teams to collaborate on a project. Generally there will be a written report at the end of the exercise.
A - 4.0 Excellent. Perfect attendance. Always well prepared. Contributes actively in almost all sessions, in making contributions and in reacting to those of others.
B - 3.0 Good. Only missed two or three class/sessions. Almost always came well prepared. Usually contributed actively, both in making contributions and reacting to others.
C - 2.0 Satisfactory. Attendance at least 80%. Usually came prepared. Contributed actively in about half of the sessions.
D - 1.0 Unsatisfactory. Attendance at least 70%. Prepared about half of the time. Contributed actively in at least 20% of our sessions.
F - 0.0 Fail. Attendance spotty. Preparation poor. Little active participation.

Please remember that every class period is a final exam. Don't miss a daily final.

If you would like to discuss your written work or class participation, please feel free to stop in my office, (Coleman A165) to discuss your progress.

CLASS ETIQUETTE - Please make sure that you leave your dorm room early enough to arrive in class on time. Also make sure that you are prepared to remain in class for the full period. It is disruptive for me and the rest of the class when someone wanders in and out of class after it has begun. (Certainly, if you find yourself in the middle of a coughing fit, please feel free to go get a drink of water, otherwise, please wait until class is over.)

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Last updated, August 2001 please contact Jean Shackelford, Department of Economics, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837.