Fall 2020 - IS 220 J100

Wealth and Poverty of Nations (3)

Class Number: 4979

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 5:30 PM – 8:20 PM

    5:00 PM – 5:00 PM
    TAKE HOME-EXAM, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 14, 2020
    5:00 PM – 5:00 PM
    TAKE HOME-EXAM, Burnaby



Analyzes some of the historical reasons for the great divergence in world economic development, and undertakes a cross-country, cross-regional perspective of world economic development using a historical approach to long-run economic growth. Breadth-Social Sciences.


This course introduces students to the origins, reproduction and transformation of global economic inequalities from a comparative and historical perspective. It examines how and why prosperity and poverty have been unevenly distributed between and within different regions of the world. In doing so, it pays particular attention to the patterns of interaction, interconnectedness and integration in the global political economy. In the first weeks of the course, we will explore the origins of global economic inequality focusing on colonialism, capitalist development and dependency. We will then address how these have played out, reproduced, transformed and been contested in the second half of the 20th century and the early 21st century.

Topics of discussion will include the role of international financial institutions in addressing and reproducing poverty and inequality; development as ‘catch-up’; global value chains and the link between economic and social upgrading; the rise of BRICS and the South-South cooperation; extractivism and new-developmentalism; and how climate and COVID-19 crises exacerbate the existing inequalities around the world. We will conclude the course by reviewing our major discussions and contemplating future orientations.


Upon the successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • evaluate some of the key concepts and topics in the field of global political economy
  • develop a firm understanding of the historical development of global wealth and poverty
  • broaden their understanding and awareness of contemporary patterns of inequality between and within countries around the globe
  • improve skills in analytical and critical thinking and writing
  • participate in public deliberation
  • apply theories and concepts to contemporary cases in an independent research project


  • Participation 15%
  • Article presentation (10 minutes) 20%
  • Reading reflections (3 x 6%) 18%
  • Discussion questions (4 x 3%) 12%
  • Final exam (take-home) 35%


Students will be required to submit their written assignments to Turnitin.com in order to receive credit for the assignments and for the course.

The School for International Studies strictly enforces the University's policies regarding plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty. Information about these policies can be found at: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/teaching.html.

Class Format

Lectures: Asynchronous (Lecture recordings will be uploaded to Canvas)

Online Class meetings: Synchronous (The class will meet online via Zoom each Monday at 5:30 pm.)


This course will be delivered via online platforms, such as Zoom, Canvas, Blackboard, etc.

Students are required to have a computer, with a microphone, webcam, and speakers. They also must have good access to the Internet.

Microsoft Office is required, and a free version of Office 365 is available to SFU students here: https://www.sfu.ca/itservices/technical/software/office365.html.

Students will be required to upload assignments to Canvas and through Turnitin.com.



Students are not required to purchase any books or a course kit for this course. All readings will be available through Canvas.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).