The Ethical Economics
Study Center


MODULE 1: Introductory Issues in Microeconomics

Textbook Reading:

Presentation Slides:

Additional Useful Information:

Greed is Good Speech from Wall Street
Clip of the often quoted speech by the character Gordon Gekko in the 1987 movie Wall Street

Greed is Not Good Speech from Wall Street II
The character Gordon Gekko returns after a prison sentence and reflects on his Greed is Good speech

Thomas Thwaites' Toaster project
This TED talk demonstrates the advantages of the division of labor by attempting the reverse, namely production without the division of labor.

I, Pencil, The Movie
This short movie offers a great example of both the division of labor and the invisible hand at work. The idea emanates from a 1958 story by Leonard E. Read

Joseph Stiglitz argues against the invisible hand
Clip from an interview in which Stiglitz declares that invisible hand is invisible, because it isn't there.

Milton Friedman argues in favor of the invisible hand
Clip from an interview in which Friedman declares the invisible hand as relevant today as ever.




In this module we introduce the discipline of economics by referring to some some of the key ideas introduced long ago by Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations. These include the importance of the profit motive and self-interest, the division of labor, mutually voluntary exchange and the invisible hand. We define the goal of economics as the desire to expand human happiness via the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. We also introduce students to a controvesy about the invisible hand between two Nobel Prize winnning economists, Milton Friedman and Joseph Stiglitz. By the end of the course students will be able to understand why these economists seem to disagree.


Micro vs. Macroeconomics - 5 minute intro

Course Intro - 67 minute intro