COMM 394 - Environment, Society, and Government (formerly named Government and Business)

Some government policies that significantly affect businesses are best understood as efficiency enhancing responses to what economists call “market failures”. Other policies are motivated more by concerns about “fairness” or equity, and yet other policies have a mixed efficiency/equity rationale. In this course we will explore both the economic efficiency and equity objectives and assess how they ultimately determine the so-called “public interest”. We will also consider how a governments’ efforts to advance the public interest can be influenced by “voting imperfections” and by the self-interests of elected politicians, government bureaucrats and business persons.

Learning objectives

During the course students will:

  • learn about the Canadian business environment and various public policy issues of relevance to Canadian business today.
  • learn basic economic concepts and ethical principles in order to develop a framework for analysis of public policy issues, taking into account both economic efficiency and fairness/equity.
  • gain an appreciation of the often conflicting perspectives that shape government policy due to the fact that there are typically both winners and losers from any proposed policy.
  • be able to evaluate the appropriateness of particular business decisions based on important philosophical approaches to business ethics.

Prerequisite: One of COMM 295, ECON 201, ECON 301.

Course credits:

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