Friday, February 17, 2012

TBA discussion for 2.22 -- Keynes, Brazil, and American Exceptionalism

Oops, I forgot to have us vote on a specific topic today. But I realized that this may present us with an opportunity to practice a useful research skill: mastering a lot of material in a short time. In college, you will no doubt eventually encounter a period in which you simply have more reading than you can possibly do. In such moments, you need to deploy strategic reading, in which you try to create a conceptual map of the arguments and ideas that are at stake without painstakingly reading every word. This is also an important research skill, as it will enable you to quickly locate your place regarding topics that have a lot of information available.

When confronted with a great deal of information on a given topic that would otherwise be unmanageable, read primarily to get the overall argument while paying less attention to details. So for this task, I'm going to have you try to get a sense of the broader issues at stake without spending too much time on it: aim to spend less than one hour on all of the following links:

John blogged about Keynes, and I thought we might talk a bit about his ideas. Check out articles here and here.

Shelby linked to two articles on poverty programs. Check them out here.

(This may seem like a lot, but it is really just about 5-6 pages of reading--you probably will actually have time to read all completely, but in any case it is a good example of how an amount of reading that in other contexts would seem manageable can suddenly seem overwhelming. You only can be overwhelmed if you let yourself be!)

Last but not least, Rachel brought us some more videos, including a Stossel. These are a bit longer, but you can probably get the gist in a few minutes.

Again, this may seem a lot, but you can easily pull it all off in less than an hour if you use your time efficiently.

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