Kristin J. Forbes

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15.218: Global Economic Challenges and Opportunities (Extended Version)

This course provides in-depth analyses of major economic challenges facing the world. It focuses on the major global economic forces that will shape the business environment in the next decade and for which every organization should prepare. The goal of the course is to not only discuss the major global economic risks and opportunities, but also for students to develop the tools to understand and interpret events so that they can adapt to the surprises that will inevitably arise in the future.

The course is divided into four sections. The first section examines the causes of crises and how to predict them in the future. This section also develops the models and tools that will be used throughout the course. The second section focuses in more detail on the most recent crises in the United States and Europe. It also analyzes various policy options for avoiding and handling crises in the future, including a number of new proposals currently being debated. The third section of the course explores other major global economic challenges, including topics such as: debt and unsustainable fiscal policies, inequality, poverty, exchange rates and currency wars, and the rise of the BRICs and "frontier" economies". The class will have the opportunity to vote on two additional topics and /or current events to be covered at the end of this section, including topics such as: aging populations, global warming, immigration, oil and commodity markets, unemployment, global imbalances, foreign investment and sovereign wealth funds, natural disasters. The final section of the course reviews the major insights and discusses the outlook for the global economy.


(Spring 2014)


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