1. What is scarcity? How does wealth affect the psychological condition of scarcity?
2. What are the three solutions to the economic problem and how will understanding them affect your understanding of history and problems like poverty and inflation?
3. How do modern American rural economies reinforce the element of tradition in society? What are the costs in terms of economic and social change?
4. How did slavery and free labor affect social surplus? Would you say that the output was maldistributed? Why or why not?
5. Illustrate an example of an element of command that still exists in the U.S. today.
6. Describe the primary, specific difference between an agricultural society and an industrial one.
7. Would you consider serfs to have been exploited? What benefits did serfs gain depending on their feudal lord? What were the costs?
8. Explain the difference between guilds and modern businesses.
9. How would you characterize the accumulation of social surplus in the American economy? Based on this, what priorities can you say Americans have?
10. Was the itinerant merchant a stabilizer or destabilizer in medieval society? Explain your answer. How did this affect the prestige of the itinerant merchant?
11. As cities began to form, did the itinerant merchant become more or less essential for the development of market society? Why?
12. How did the Crusaders initially perceive the Venetians and Byzantines? Was this to the Crusaders advantage or disadvantage? Why?
13. How did wage labor affect feudal society? What was the outcome to the manorial system? Why?
14. Describe Adam Smith’s “invisible hand.” How does it regulate the markets?
15. Compare and contrast Calvinism with Catholicism. What economic activities did Calvinism promote?
16. Can you think of a reason why technical improvements in agriculture or manufacturing have generally been slow to arise in countries that have relied on slave labor?
17. What forces to you think would be necessary to bring a new industrial revolution to the underdeveloped world today? Is an industrial revolution there apt to resemble the one that took place in England in the eighteenth century?
18. How does the accumulation of capital affect the productivity of the worker?
19. Does all investment require saving? Why? What is the ultimate result of saving and then investing?
20. Is capital building in the U.S. today directed by the market alone? Does government accumulate capital? Does public capital improve productivity as well as private capital?
21. Is building a school an investment? Is building a hospital? A sports stadium? A housing project? What do you think distinguishes investment, in general, from consumption?
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