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Skidmore College
First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program
Course Description

Bullock Carts and BMWs: The Indian Growth and Development Experience versus the U.S. Experience

Instructor(s): Monica Das, Economics

Bullock Carts to BMWs traces my journey from a slow-paced life in India, where cows blocking traffic was a common sight, to the fast American life, in pursuit of the American Dream. This journey coincided with India’s policy to liberalize trade to remove restrictions on flows of goods and services to and from other countries. As a result of these policy changes, my journey home to India a few years later revealed a country I did not recognize: high-speed American cars on multilayered highways, McDonald’s in newly constructed shopping malls, and factories for manufacturing BMWs. Some in India could now afford to drive a BMW, but many still rode on bullock carts. Divergent opinions emerged on the value of free trade, ranging from those who hated it to those who saw it as a panacea. Back in the U. S., similar debates existed around the WTO (World Trade Organization) and NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement). People liked shopping for less expensive goods “made in China” but not the outsourcing of jobs to other countries with lower wages. In this course we will describe, analyze, and debate aspects of international trade to see how they affect people to different degrees and in different ways, using countries like India and the U. S. as examples.

Course Offered