EC.740  D-Lab: New Economies


D-Lab: New Economies

The neo-liberal globalization model (corporate-driven globalization model) has grown at an accelerated pace over the last thirty years. While it has shown immense productive capacity, it has also increased wealth disparity within and between nations and it has seriously threatened the sustainability of the natural environment. At the core of globalization is a widely criticized assumption that unlimited economic growth through corporate-dominated free markets leads to development, and thus is the solution to unemployment, income inequality, social conflict, and even environmental degradation. 

While some opponents call for a transformation of global institutions of governance and rule, others call for more radical changes, seizing this moment as an opportunity to experiment with alternative economic systems aimed at reclaiming the power to control and build inclusive local and regional economies; secure rights to food, water, land, and healthy environments; build resilience; restore value systems; and ultimately to improve the quality of life. 

This course will explore the ideas behind, and actions toward some of these economic alternatives. Through an introductory conceptual module students will review and analyze the worldviews that led to the current system and the theoretical and empirical arguments embraced by its critics. Students will then explore concepts and case studies for developing new opportunities, including circular economies and local economies.  Finally, the course will conclude with an experiential component where students will use the knowledge they have gained over the course of the semester to develop a strategy (economic, policy or other) for building on and contributing to a sustainable and inclusive local economy in a mid-sized city in Nicaragua. 


Course Information
Instructors: Libby McDonald, Kate Mytty
Semester Offered: Spring (Offered since 2017)
Lecture Location: N51-350
Lecture Times: Wednesdays 9:30-12:30
Units (credit hours) 3-0-6
Class Size: 12 students
Grading: A/B/C/D/F
Course Student Projects
2013Anemia iDXA non-invasive and accurate point of care diagnostic tool for anemia utilizing laser reflectance spectroscopy
GlucodetectA kit to make affordable glucose test strips using local materials in Nicaragua
StethoKitAn innovative stethoscope kit designed for the developing world with the ability to record, playback, and simulate heart sounds
2012AspiraMoldeVacuum casting system that takes the negative mold of a patient with a leg amputation and shortens prosthetic production time
circumVentilatorAttachment to mechanize bag-valve-mask (Ambu bag) ventilators to aid nurses while transporting patients over long distances
GlucoSuite2012Qualitative diagnostic for routine diabetes monitoring based on short pieces of string coated in Benedict’s solution wicking blood samples
The InfusadorBattery-powered syringe infusion pump with adjustable gear settings for variable rates of infusion for critical medication dosing for neonates
2011Low-cost Syringe Infusion PumpModular infusion pump for neonatal drug delivery with all movable parts made from locally available materials
MonicorA user-friendly, modular EKG for health practitioners at all levels to record and transmit diagnostically useful information about cardiac health
NososanoA device that prevents nosocomial infections by enabling nurses and parents to detect bacteria culturing on IV catheters in NICU patients
2010AmbuzapPortable low-cost defibrillator rechargable through the ambulance's power
BabyTracker Labor contraction monitor for Nicaraguan hospitals
EyeHemeNon-invasive anemia diagnostic based on reflectance spectroscopy from the eye
NebshairA breathe-actuated, dosage-monitoring attachment for jet nebulizers to treat multiple patients for respiratory illnesses
Swiss Army ElectrocauteryA combination scalpel and extendable electrocautery tip for rural surgical procedures
2009CyclonePedal-powered centrifuge for developing world laboratories
GlucoTankSustainable method of testing glucose levels using colormetric tests and CCD readers
NebulaSafe, electric-free nebulization device
POP bandagePost-operative bandage solution with an infection alert and control mechanism