Thursday, May 30, 2013

What This Trip is All About

Today there are 19 days, and counting, until we leave on our Economics in Scotland, 2013, summer program. It's getting exciting!
First of all, a little about the trip as we have planned it:
This trip is run through the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh, College of Business (more specifically, it is run through the Department of Economics). The itinerary has been planned to intertwine the learning goals of the courses and the locations we visit. The two courses we teach are "Economic and Social Development of Great Britain" and "The History of Economic Thought." The first course analyzed the economic and historic perspectives of development of all of Great Britain and how those processes are still affect the current day economic life in the region. Our study begins with the ancient peoples of the area, from earliest times including a visit to Stonehenge to see firsthand the economic surplus obvious from the massive undertaking involved in its construction) through the Roman occupation, the middle ages, the industrial revolution, and onward to the modern day.
We visit multiple sights that were key to the industrial revolution, including a coal mine that started operation in 1895 and provided much of the fuel for the region's development. Additionally, we plan to visit New Lanark and its fully restored and operational cotton mill that shows labor conditions of the time. As for the present day, we will visit a working whiskey distillery that represents the lifeblood of Scotland - literally "water of life" was the original name (in Gaelic) for scotch! The other class we plan to teach, "History of Economic Thought" centers around the changes in economic foundations and theories as mirrored in the economic changes from the earliest writers in social philosophy (the forerunners of economic thought) to modern economic theorists. Edinburgh, along with Glasgow and London, was the center for the development of modern economics, indeed one highlight of the trip is the realization that the 'father' of economics himself, Adam Smith, actually lived in the palace where we will be staying and tutored the son of the Duke of Buccleaugh in the mid 1700's!
The trip's itinerary begins with a flight out of Chicago to land us in London in time for a half day walking tour that should include the changing of the guard at Buckingham palace, the tower of London and many of the classic landmarks around London and even a visit to see Jeremy Bentham himself - though long dead, he was the father of 'marginalist thinking' from whom we get the idea that every marginal benefit comes at a marginal cost.


It seems, even after a dozen visits to London, that there is ever enough time to see everything. So - to paraphrase from another writer about another city - To be tired of London is to be tired of life! However, after a mere three days, we will move on to Cambridge, the classic 'college town' if there ever was one.
We will go on a tour, go punting, and visit the Round Church over two days before moving on to York. While at York, we will go on even more tours, visit York Minster and see the Roman foundations of the city. We also delve into the mysterious history of the place via ghosts and ghouls that haunt this millenniums old city. From there we reach our Palace - Dalkeith Palace! 
We will be using this location as our 'launching pad' for many trips into the surrounding area, including Edinburgh, Stirling and other such places before returning to the US on July 13.

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