In teams, develop a list of the advantages of living in a capitalist society. Then develop lists headed "What are the disadvantages?" and "How could such disadvantages be minimized?" Describe why a poor person in a socialist country might reject capitalism and prefer a socialist state.
Show your understanding of the principles of supply and demand by looking at the oil market today. Why does the price of gas fluctuate so greatly? What will happen as more and more people in China and India decide tobuy automobiles? What would happen if most U.S. consumers decided to drive electric cars?
This exercise will help you understand socialism from different perspectives. Form three groups. Each group should adopt a different role in a socialist economy: one group will be the business owners, another group will be workers, and another will be government leaders. Within your group discuss and list the advantages and disadvantages to you of lowering taxes on businesses. Then have each group choose a representative to go to the front of the class and debate the tax issue with the representatives from the other groups.
Draw a line and mark one end "Free-Market Capitalism" and the other end "Central Planning." Mark where on the line the United States is now. Explain why you marked the spot you chose. Students from other countries may want to do this exercise for their own countries and explain the differences to the class.
Break into small groups. In your group discuss how the following change shave affected people's purchasing behavior and attitudes toward the United States and its economy: the war in Iraq, the increased amount spent on homeland security, the government involvement in banking and other industries, and the growth of the Internet. Have a group member preparea short summary for the class.