We begin this unit by briefly reviewing the four types of economic systems most commonly identified by economists. We encourage you to spend some time in class exploring how different economic systems shape people's lives, and our "one-act play" activity will help you do this. From there, we quickly move into a more thorough examination of America’s mixed economy: its historical evolution and the critical questions that continue to shape it.
The most critical and ongoing question is where exactly we should draw the line between free market principles and government intervention. The "economic adventure" explores this question as it pertains to the problem of greenhouse gases. Other activities ask your students to consider where and when the government should intervene in the workplace and in specific industries.
Once they take a close look at our economy, your students will recognize the combination of individual initiative and government regulation that defines America’s mixed economy. Moreover, these exercises will help you demonstrate that the precise mixture leading to economic growth and economic security is still being debated.