After the Covid pandemic, the US-China trade war, and growing attraction to populism and nationalism, is globalization still inevitable? Is the US equipped to sustain its role as a global leader and, without its leadership, can global institutions still be effective? How will the rise of China change the global economic system? How do international trade and financial flows affect prosperity, inequality, and economic stability? How can global public goods problems like climate change or pandemics be governed? This course draws on economic theory and lessons from economic history to illuminate the choices - and trade-offs - faced by governments, international institutions, businesses, and citizens as the global economy evolves, analyzing questions which we believe are fundamental to human progress, prosperity, and security. Our premise is that passion without careful reason is dangerous, and that reliance on rigorous analytics and empirical evidence can contribute to a better world. Throughout, we expect students to take the perspective of decision makers, not analysts. Policy issues are debated in class by the professors and guest speakers, and students participate in group preparations for class. In addition, students will participate in simulated hearings and negotiations -- on the future of US trade policy, international pandemic preparedness, and the US-China economic relationship -- in order to gain a better appreciation for how decisions made by individual actors affect the evolution of the global system.
Also offered by the General Education Department as GENED 1120. Please note, this is a jointly offered course hosted by another Harvard school and, accordingly, students must adhere to the academic and attendance policies of that school.