Feb 2, 2009

From the Classroom vol 5

The collapse of the Soviet Union was a huge event for us, but (to paraphrase Matthew McConaughey in Dazed and Confused) we get older and our students stay the same age. The only thing these 90's kids know about the Soviet Union is what their US history teacher told them and, of course, Rocky IV.

The inefficiencies of central planning are not self evident to students born after the Fall of the Wall, so it falls to us. Luckily there are several great lessons out there to help us. A colleague of mine likes to use "A Parking Lot Full of Incentives" from Economies in Transition (available on VE3) to introduce the concept to his students. There are also lessons in Economic Systems (lesson 4 and 5) that might be of assistance.

For the past few years I have enjoyed using lessons based on the Foundation for Teaching Economics Demise of the Soviet Union (lesson 3) to really drive home the perverse nature of command economies. Resources are certainly available to help you teach this "ancient history."