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GE2224 - World Economic History: Europe and China

Offering Academic Unit
Department of Economics and Finance
Credit Units
3
Course Duration
One Semester
GE Area
Area 2: Study of Societies, Social and Business Organizations
Course Offering Term*:
Not offering in current academic year

* The offering term is subject to change without prior notice
 
Course Aims


The course looks primarily at history and comparisons of economic development in Europe (or the West) and China in the period 960 – 1949. The focus of the course is on explaining economic development of Europe and China during this period. Students will see that land and sea geography, availability and shortages of natural resources, agricultural know-how, cultural, psychological and philosophical aspects of mankind, languages, health issues, religions, government policies and strategies, scientific and technology developments including military warfare and know-how, and economic practices (free market or planned economies) play very important roles in shaping up where we are today economically. This course also looks at certain past economic bubbles, the Great Depression and the financial turmoil in 2008 and 2009.

The instructor will be lecturing on these historical economic issues and events. Students are expected to discuss these issues in class, articulate their views on various historical economic issues in written group and individual assignments, visit selected museums, and watch certain assigned documentaries.

The course looks primarily at history and comparisons of economic development in Europe (or the West) and China in the period 960 – 1949. The Song Dynasty came into power in China in 960. China under Song Dynasty was known to be quite prosperous with very intensive industrial activities, steel making and coal mining. The Communist Party of China took over the government of China in 1949 and China opened up in 1978. We will not look at economic issues in post-1949 China as these issues are covered in other courses at the university.

Even though primary focus is on the period after 960, we will briefly look at important historical events in China and Europe before the year 960 such as the unification of coin currency when China was unified under the First Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang (221-210 B.C.). Although the USA, Middle East, Africa, South America, Japan and rest of Asia regions are also important and have notable developments in the period 960-1949, the course focuses primarily on Europe and China with references to USA, Middle East, Africa, South America, Japan and other Asian countries as trading partners of Europe and China and for certain significant events. However, we will look at the Great Depression which originated in the USA in 1929.

The focus of the course is on explaining economic development of Europe and China during this period. Students will see that geography, natural resources availability and shortages, farming know-how, man’s way of life as shaped by philosophy, culture and languages, public health, religious beliefs, government policies, scientific and technology developments, military prowess, and economic systems play very important roles in shaping up where we are today economically.

Students will see the significance of these broad interacting factors. Participation in this course adds to a better understanding of how people have evolved economically over time. At the end of the course, students will have a better understanding on how people, firms and governments should chart their future based on the economic lessons learned in the past. Students should also be able to appraise the economic mistakes made in the past and make critical analyses on what to avoid for the future. 

The course also aims to develop students’ creativity and originality through various assessment tasks that involve the discovery and innovative process. Seminars will encourage students to develop their discovery attitude through class discussions and Q&A. Lectures will stress issues regarding economics and its history to help students to discover economy evolution in different countries.

Students will be asked to write essays and museum visiting reports so that they will discover the underlying economic theories of certain articles, old documents and museum exhibition through critical thinking and come up with their own ideas.

The final examination which covers topics discussed in the lectures and in-class discussions will also reveal students’ accomplishments of discovery and innovation.

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. generally compare economic developments of Europe and China during this period.
  2. explain how Europe and China develop differently over time due to several factors including agricultural know-how, inherent geographical factors, cultural values and government policies.
  3. analyse the causes for financial bubbles, and financial crisis of 1929 – 1940s, and the financial turmoil in 2008 and 2009.

Assessment (Indicative only, please check the detailed course information)

Continuous Assessment: 70%
Examination: 30%
Examination Duration: 2 hours
 
Detailed Course Information

GE2224.pdf

Useful Links

Department of Economics and Finance