short paper


ECON 3540: Response 1
Due Monday, February 15th
Select one of the two prompts below. Your response should address the topic provided in its
entirety. Responses should be no less than 1000 words. Proper citation is required. Please
submit via Canvas (.doc, docx, and .pdf le types only please). Responses are due by 11:59
pm (MST) on the due date listed above.
Prompt #1:
The following quotes are from two historical gures (I won’t say which, but a quick search
will satisfy your curiosity) who hold very dierent conceptions as to the nature of what
constitutes a society and therefore an economy.
In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into denite [social] relations… in the development of their material forces of production.
There is no such thing as society: there are individual men and women, and there are
families.
In your personal opinion – this is economics, after all – what should be the scope of economic
analysis? What is beyond economists’ ability to explain? What should be taken as the
most basic economic agent? Why? Be sure to incorporate readings and class discussions
in your analysis.
1
Prompt #2:
The notion that the US healthcare system contains major ineciencies is generally agreed
upon by most economists and policymakers, regardless of political aliation. This is supported by the observation that despite spending nearly nearly three times as much on
healthcare than OECD countries, the US performs much worse in terms of life expectancy
(as well as many other health outcomes). The proposed solutions to these ineciencies,
however, vary drastically across the political and economic spectra. Proposals range from
complete privatization of all aspects of healthcare to a government alternative in competition with private insurers to universal single-payer healthcare. In your opinion, what
policies (if any) should be implemented to improve the US healthcare system? You should
specically discuss how and why your proposed changes will address particular ineciencies.
2

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