Fall 2021 - IS 220 D100

Wealth and Poverty of Nations (3)

Class Number: 5553

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    WMC 3260, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 18, 2021
    7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
    SSCC 9002, 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 and contemporary forms of global economic inequality from a comparative and historical perspective. It examines how and why wealth is unevenly distributed between and within countries and different regions of the world. In doing so, it pays particular attention to the patterns of interaction, interconnectedness and integration in the global political-economic landscape. In the first weeks of the term, we will explore the origins of global economic inequality focusing on colonialism, capitalist development and dependency. We will then examine how these have played out, been transformed and 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 social upgrading; the rise of BRICS and South-South cooperation; extractivism and new-developmentalism; and the impacts of climate, economic and health crises on existing inequalities around the world. We will conclude the course by reviewing our major discussions and contemplating future orientations.


Upon successful completion of this 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 links between global wealth and poverty
  • broaden their knowledge and awareness of contemporary patterns of inequality between and within countries
  • strengthen their ability to think and write analytically and critically
  • improve their knowledge integration skills through applying abstract concepts and arguments to contemporary cases
  • demonstrate improved communication skills and ability to engage in a sophisticated, informed and respectful dialogue with their peers


  • Participation 15%
  • Weekly discussion questions (8x 4%) 32%
  • Case Study Analysis 18%
  • Final Exam 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.



There is no textbook for this course. All readings will be made available electronically through Canvas. Students are required to come to class having done all the assigned readings beforehand.

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 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware 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.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.