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Question: Write a paper of no more than 2,000 words on a controversial issue from the list below.
1. Globalization and trade-e.g., trade agreements; tariffs; outsourcing; sweat shops (see Wheelan, chp 12 for ideas).
2. Productivity & human capital-e.g., Wage inequality (CEO vs worker; men vs. women; variation by race or ethnicity); or "Fair pay" (equal pay for equal effort or a minimum wage high enough to be living wage). (see Wheelan, chp 6).
3. Competition & creative destruction-Should government "pick winners" by investing in promising technologies and ideas, giving special tax breaks to favored industries; investing in R&D, etc.? Which, if any, companies should gov't not allow to fail? (e.g., big banks, auto manufacturers, etc.). What are the criteria for government to intervene? How should it intervene?
4. Environmental Protection-How does man's stewardship responsibility to God apply to environmental protection? How should that stewardship be carried out? What is civil government's role in protecting the environment? Choose a specific issue, such as coal emission standards, automobile fuel economy standards, renewable energy policies, ethanol subsidies, etc.
Choose one of the four categories and develop a sharply defined issue within that category. The suggested sub-topics within each category are to guide your thinking. You may choose one of those or develop another issue that fits your chosen category.
The issues in the list are bigger than any manager or company. They involve public discourse and potential government action. However, the public attitudes and government actions on these issues will impinge on managers in virtually all companies. Understanding these issues from a managerial economics perspective will help managers respond wisely.
A big part of your task for this Project will be cutting through inflammatory rhetoric to define the issue. For example, is it an issue of proper allocation of authority and responsibility? Of restraining wrong/evil behavior? Of providing an environment that encourages good behavior? Of choosing the best among several good options? In addition to the nature of the issue, you must get the scope right. If you define the issue too narrowly, you probably won't have enough information and action levers to solve it. If you define it too broadly, you will be overwhelmed by its complexity.
After reading widely on the issue to define its nature and scope, you must assemble the relevant facts for the issue as you have defined it. You do not have the time or space to present every fact about the issue. You must decide which facts are most relevant and important to the issue? You must also judge whether the "facts" you collect are accurate and complete. Pay careful attention to sources of these "facts", discerning the motives and incentives of the sources to recognize "slant" or partial truth.
Apply an analytical framework and principles to evaluate alternative views of the issue. Treat each view with respect, evaluating its claims according to objective criteria. Your job is to employ economically and biblically sound analysis to sift through opposing views and choose the best explanation and action for the controversial issue.
The paper should use the Harvard style. This means that there will not be footnotes, and that citations/references are "worked into" the regular text. Please see a copy of the Harvard Business Review in the Regent Library databases for examples. Your journal article should be no longer than 3,000 words in length. As a Major Project, your paper must be supported with significant research from assigned readings and the Regent Library databases.