Syllabus ECON 260 online Comparative Econ. Systems Spring 2012 CRN 20646

Lansing Community College

Business and Economics Department
Section Syllabus – ECON 260 for Spring 2012
ONLINE – CRN 20646

Course and Section Information:

Course Code: ECON 260
Section: CRN 20646
Title: Comparative Economic Systems
Semester: Spring 2012
Class Meetings: ONLINE – no face-to-face class meetings

Instructor & Contact Information:

Instructor: Jim Luke
Office: LCC Main Campus, Gannon Building, Room 191.7 (in Business & Economics Dept. offices)
Phone & Voice Mail: 313-550-8884 (cell + text) 517-483-5384 (office)
Email: (preferred for email)
Office Hours: T & Th 12 noon – 2pm; Appointments are recommended. Also check Where’s Jim for availability.

I. Course Code: ECON 260

Credits Lecture hrs
3 48

II. Prerequisite

  • Reading Level 5

III. Course Description

A comparison of different global economic systems and their impact on economic growth, distribution of income and opportunity, and economic treatment of women and minorities. Theories, philosophies, historical development, and current practices will be examined.

IV. Instructional Materials

A. Required Textbooks:

One book is required for all students. It is Growth and Interaction in the World Economy: The Roots of Modernity by Angus Maddison. (AEI Press, 2005, ISBN: 084477173-2. It is not available in the bookstore. A free .pdf file of the book is available to download in the course. It is approx 100 pages long. Unfortunately the book is no longer in print, so if you do not want to read it on your computer screen, you either must print the pdf yourself or you can try to locate a used copy online. A few are listed on Amazon here, but they all seem to want charge $29 or more (the book only cost $15 originally).

All students will also be required to read another 2 books from a list of books provided in the course. These books are popular trade books, not traditional “textbooks”. Students will have some choice as to which book they select. The list of books will be available on the Angel website. In general these books sell for $15-40 each. Some may be available at your library.

B. Required Other Materials and Resources -More information and instructions are provided in specific assignments online.

All course materials are delivered via the Angel, LCC online course managent system. Students must use Angel regularly.

Other online resources, including Jim’s blog (, Wikipedia, and other online resources are required. More information will be provided on Angel.

Several online videos (all free), including a 6 hour series of videos from PBS called “The Commanding Heights” are required. A book version of “The Commanding Heights” is available at bookstores, but it is completely optional.

V. Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the successful student will be able to:

  1. explain why scarcity is a problem faced by every society and why, as a result of scarcity, each society must select and economic system that will provide a mechanism to determine what goods and services will be produced in that society, how they will be produced, and how they will be divided among the society’s households.
  2. explain the characteristics of pure capitalism, the philosophy behind it, and how pure capitalist system answers the questions of What? How? and For Whom?
  3. discuss the arguments for government involvement in a capitalist economy and the varieties of capitalism that exist in the world today.
  4. explain the characteristics of pure socialism, the philosophy behind it, and how a socialist system answers the questions of What? How? and For Whom?
  5. discuss the arguments for introduction of markets into a socialist economy and the varieties of socialism that exist in the world today
  6. describe the economic systems of at least two countries with relatively high per capita GDP on different continents. Contrast the role of government and the free marekt in the economies fo these countries now and in the past.
  7. compare the economic growth, the economic incentives, the distribution of income and economic opportunity, and the role of women and minorities in these countries and explain how any differences relate to the economic systems
  8. compare the economic system of one country in Eastern Europe or the former Soviet Union under Communism to its current economic system in terms of economic growth, economic incentives, the distribution of income and economic opportunity, and the role of women and minorities.
  9. describe the economic systems of at least two countries with relatively low per capita GDP on different continents. Contrast the role of the government and the free market in the economies of these countries nowand in the past.
  10. compare the prospects for economic growth, the economic incentives, the distribution of income and economic opportunity, and the role of women and minorities in these countries and explain how any differences relate to the economic systems
  11. describe the current disagreements between high income and low income countries, the causes of the problems, and the attempts to resolve these conflicts
  12. use the Internet to collect economic statistics from countries with different economic systems and analyze those statistics

VI. Methods of Instruction

This course is entirely online. Four primary methods of learning are used.

  1. Students will engage in online lectures, both written and videos, that present key concepts, ideas, and terms used in comparing economic systems. These lectures will be followed by short quizzes/tests and a final exam. Students will be expected to participate in discussion of these videos and online material.
  2. Students will discuss and share insights in forums
  3. Each student will read two books each regarding current topics and issues in comparative economic systems. Each student will summarize the books for the other students.
  4. Each student will prepare an analysis of a particular issue in comparative economic systems.

VII. Methods of Evaluating Student Achievement and Progress:

A. The following methods are used in this class:

More detailed information about these assignments will be available online on the Course Angel website

Type of Assignment Points Available % of Total
Points in
Unit Quizzes (8) 180 points 36%
Discussion forums –
Critical Thinking
Questions (8)
  80 points 18%
Book Review & Summary I   40 points  8%
Book Review & Summary II   40 points  8%
Issue Analysis   40 points  8%
in Forums & Reviews
  20 points  4%
Final Exam 100 points 20%
Total for Course 500 points 100%

B. Final Exam

 This course has a final exam which is comprehensive. The final exam must be taken in person at the LCC Student Assessment Center during the last two weeks of the semester. The exam must be completed by the end of the day May 3. Students who live far from campus can make arrangements to have the exam proctored at either an LCC Learning Center (such as Howell) or by a local proctor. These arrangements are the student’s responsibility and must be made by the student through the Student Assessment Center prior to the mid-point of the semester.

 C. Grading Scale:

The College Standard grading scale will be used:

Course Grade % of Possible
Minimum Points
4.0 Excellent 91.0% 455 points
3.5 86.0% 430 points
3.0 Good 81.0% 405 points
2.5 76.0% 380 points
2.0 Satisfactory 71.0% 355 points
1.5 66.0% 330 points
1.0 Poor 60.0% 300 points
0.0 No credit <60% 0


VIII. Course Practices and Policies

College-wide policies are stated in the College Catalog and include those on attendance, withdrawals, and incomplete grades. The College Catalog is available on the Internet at Lansing Community College provides services to students with documented disabilities. If you need accommodations, contact the Office of Disability Services at 517-483-1207 in room 2300 of Gannon Building to coordinate reasonable accommodations for your needs.

Additional course policies and practices for this course are:

Attendance Policy

Students are expected to be active online every week. Students who go more than two weeks without logging in online into Angel and without explanation or notification to the professor are subject to Administrative Withdrawal for non-attendance.  Students who do not complete Unit 1 Quiz (a quiz about the syllabus) and the Unit 1 Forum (Who Are You? forum) by Jan 16 will be presumed to have chosen to not participate and will be dropped as having never attended.

Late Assignments

Failure to complete assignments on time adversely affects yourself and other students because discussion and interaction of ideas is an important means of learning . The course is organized into 8 Units. Each unit contains at a minimum a quiz and a critical thinking forum.  All deadlines are at midnight at the end of the day.  The deadline for assignments in Unit 1 is January 16.  Other deadlines will be at approximately two-week intervals and will be posted under the Schedule tab in ANGEL.

Assignments will be due on these dates. Students who miss deadlines for will have will incur a 50% penalty on forums, reviews, and issue analysis.  For example, suppose Unit 3 contains a quiz and critical thinking question forum. The forum is normally worth 10 points. A student who either posts after the deadline OR who completes the quiz after the deadline could only receive a maximum of 5 points for that forum.

Students are advised to familiarize themselves with the LCC Withdrawal Policy. It is available on the Internet at Under this policy, students may withdraw themselves from the course until the end of the eighth week. Students who do not participate online, have extended unexcused absences from online activity, or who engage in uncivil activity are subject to Administrative Withdrawal.

IX. Detailed Outline of Course Content and Sequencing

Students should refer to the materials on the course site on Angel for specific information on the outline of course content, sequencing, and due dates of assignments.

X. Transfer Potential

For transferability information, please consult the Transfer Equivalency List located on the Internet at For additional transferability information contact the LCC Counseling Services Department at 517-483-1255 and the college or university to which you intend to transfer. Econ 260 transfers to most four year colleges as economics credit. Few four year schools accept it as the equivalent of a specfic course. Econ 260 is in the LCC Social Science MACRAO list.

XI. Student Academic Integrity

The very nature of higher education requires that students adhere to accepted standards of academic integrity. Therefore, Lansing Community College has adopted a code of academic conduct and a statement of student academic integrity. These may be found in the Lansing Community College Catalog where violations of adademic integrity are listed and defined. Such violations include both cheating and plagiarism. It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of behaviors that constitute academic dishonesty.

Classroom and online behavior that interferes with the instructional and learning processes is not tolerated. the consequences are addressed in the catalog under Administrative Withdrawal.