Economic Freedom 101



This short course provides provides a survey of global poverty and a discussion of the causes of prosperity. Particular emphasis is placed on the institutions required for market exchange, and the importance of economic calculation. As a satellite photo of the Korean peninsula makes clear, socialist planning is literally groping in the dark. We will look at the theoretical reasons behind this claim, and the empirical validation that economic freedom matters.


The course does not rely on any previous study of economics.

Teaching methods

  • Lectures (3 sessions)


The course is designed to tie into Chapters 4 and 12 of the following (amazing) textbook:

The website for the book contains an array of other resources:

An additional reading list is available here:

An edited list of highly recommended articles from The Economist is here:


9am Session 1

Economics matters: The link between economic institutions and global prosperity

In this lecture I will ask some broad and fundamental questions about the application of economic theory to the real world, and the role of the economist as a force for making the world a better place. I will try to convince you that we have a fairly good understanding of what causes economic growth, and how important this is for raising living standards and improving people’s quality of life. In other words, economics matters.

10:45am Break

11:00am Session 2

Groping in the dark: Why socialist calculation is impossible

12:30pm Lunch

2:00pm Session 3

Economic transition in Central and Eastern Europe: Shock therapy or gradualism?

3:30pm Finish

Downloads of the lecture handouts will be available soon.