Expanded descriptions of Winter 2018 courses


Bill Carlson: The United States Economic Story

Major topics for each class:

1. Birth of the Industrial Revolution in Britain

Steam engine, cotton fabric manufacturing, iron making, railroad development using the steam engine.

2. United States Beginnings & Early 19th Century

We will examine the economic beginnings of the United States following the Revolutionary War and early 19th century growth including: canals,  rivers, Great Lakes and railroads; Southern plantation as colonial economy; Northern industry.

3. Early United States & Civil War

Continue 19th  century U. S. manufacturing, copper & iron mining in Upper Michigan.  The economic impact of the Civil War will be examined.

4. Late 19th Century

The major economic expansion following the civil war of railroads,  industry, & agriculture.  Steel industry growth driven by upper Midwest mining.  Development of large industries, labor unions, & world trade.

5. Early 20th Century

Continued industrial expansion; increasing world tensions, world trade; WWI & U. S. industrial production for war.  The roaring 1920’s economic growth and speculation will be examined.

6. Great Depression & WWII

The Collapse: austerity vs stimulation; Roosevelt & New Deal; discussion of various recovery programs; beginnings of Keynesian economics; European economy & rise of Germany; World War II production.

7. U. S. Economy: 1945 – 1980

Post-war restructuring by government, veterans’ education & housing; infrastructure, Interstate Highway System, rivers & ports; Keynesian stimulus & Great Society programs; major industrial growth; unions & income equality, rise of national economies, Japan, OPEC oil countries, European expansion, decay & restoration in 1970’s.

8. U. S. Economy: 1981 – Present

Inflation & need to restructure the economy, pressures from foreign competition; conservative economic philosophy opposed to government intervention;  major economic growth in 1990’s;  deficit eliminated; tax reductions which favored the wealthy instead of debt reduction;  bubble economy driven by speculation followed by collapse;  efforts to restore the economy.  Important results from Thomas Piketty comparing U. S. economic growth with other developed nations.