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The Economics Classroom
About the Workshops

Workshop Descriptions

1. How Economists Think
2. Why Markets Work
3. The Government's Hand
4. Learning, Earning, Saving
5. Trading Globally
6. The Building Blocks of Macroeconomics
7. Monetary and Fiscal Policy
8. Growth and Entrepreneurship

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Workshop Five: Trading Globally

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MAJOR CONCEPTS

global trade
gains from trade
comparative advantage & specialization
protectionism


Globalization is the watchword of our economic times. This workshop's exercises and simulations explore the global economy, why and how nations trade with one another, who some of the major players in the international market are, how we gain from international trade, and how protectionism can have unintended consequences.

Denver, Colorado, teacher Jay Grenawalt shows his students at George Washington High School a country-of-origin exercise that reveals the surprising array of nations that make the products we use every day, and goes on to demonstrate how global trade improves our standard of living.

Dr. Eric Gernant uses the many ingredients in one candy bar to demonstrate the global nature of trade and to discuss absolute and comparative advantage with his class at the High School of Economics and Finance, in New York City.

Finally, Elaine Schwartz has her students, at the Kent Place School in Summit, New Jersey, participate in a "banana wars" simulation that illustrates the unintended consequences of protectionism.

Jay Grenawalt
Jay Grenawalt

Teachers' Thoughts
"I think with globalization, it's a subject that you've got to take on and be open with the kids. They come in with some of the same preconceptions that other people have - maybe their parents or perhaps some members of the media - regarding globalization. My own background has been strongly in favor of it, but I want to make sure that I allow kids to feel comfortable and to challenge me and challenge others in the room.

The goal was really to just get them thinking that globalization, like so many other things in economics, is not cost-free. There's no such thing as a free lunch. But if you look at the history of trade over the years, as one of my students said earlier today, the benefits overall outweigh the costs. But there are costs and I think it's important that we become sensitive to what some of those costs are, particularly in the less developed world."




 

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