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Unit of study_

ECON6035: Global Economic History for Business

This unit provides students with an overview of global economic development over the past 1000 years with the objective of helping to understand today's global economy and business environment and what the future might hold. The motivating question throughout is: how did we get here and where are we going? This is addressed through an examination of both the global east and the global west. Conventional analysis is tested through the prism of history and long-run data. The unit of study examines global themes and then proceeds to consider geographies, building on the global theme lectures.


Academic unit Economics
Unit code ECON6035
Unit name Global Economic History for Business
Session, year
Semester 2, 2022
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Remote
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Hugh Harley,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Open book) Type C final exam Final exam
Students answer 3 questions from a choice of 5.
50% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
In-semester test (Open book) Type C in-semester exam In-semester test
50 mins to answer an essay question, open book
25% Week 08
Due date: 20 Sep 2022 at 18:00

Closing date: 20 Sep 2022
50 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO6 LO3 LO2
Assignment In-semester essay
Students will be given a choice of essay topics in Week 8, due Week 12
25% Week 12
Due date: 25 Oct 2022 at 18:00

Closing date: 25 Oct 2022
2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Type C final exam = Type C final exam ?
Type C in-semester exam = Type C in-semester exam ?

In the mid-semester in-class exam, students will be notified in advance of the broad areas of the material already covered from which the exam question will be drawn. They will have 50 minutes to submit a written essay answer to the question, which will be assessed on how well the specific question asked is answered, the command of the relevant lecture and other materials demonstrated, and the extent to which the student shows they have considered the materials from their own perspective. While there have been exceptions, generally it is hard for students to pass or do well with an answer shorter than say 600-800 words.

In the in-semester essay, students will be given an essay topic six weeks before it is due. The essay has a strict 2000-word limit. The same criteria as above will apply for marking.

The final exam requires 3 essay questions to be answered from 5, again the broad areas are notified in advance and carry the same marking criteria. There is 2 hours’ writing time. This is a more challenging time constraint than the in-semester exam and students are urged to use the in-semester exam to practice exam skills for the final exam.

Assessment criteria

Result Name    
Pass 50-64 A basic understanding of the material only directed to the question in a general way and with limited personal interpretation
Credit 65-74 A solid understanding of the material well directed to the question with personal interpretation.
Distinction 75-84 A higher level of achievement than credit, but without being able to achieve sufficiently all three of the elements (command/insight/directed to the question) required of HD.
High Distinction 85+ A detailed command of the material with a clear and insightful personal interpretation directed specifically to the question.


Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

The University's usual processes for Special Consideration apply. No other consideration will be given. The deadlines are binding and will not be extended

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic honesty, academic dishonesty, and the resources available to all students.

The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic dishonesty or plagiarism seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of dishonesty, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction, themes, and historical context Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 02 Population and Family Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 03 Technology, Energy and Growth Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 04 Corporation and Consumer Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 05 Work, labour and land Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 06 Capitalism and competition Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 07 Money, Finance, and Risk Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 08 In class exam (50 mins) followed by lecture on China Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 09 China, India and Japan Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 10 Russia and Eastern Europe; Australia Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 11 Africa and Western Europe Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 12 Americas Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 13 Integration and Speculation Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6

Attendance and class requirements

Attendance at all lectures in strongly advised, consistent with University policies and guidelines.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

  • There is no set textbook, but the most useful single collection of essays is Neal and Williamson’s The Cambridge History of Capitalism (2014, 2 Vols).
  • Kocka’s Capitalism: A Short History (2016) is also very good albeit with a Western emphasis; for those particularly interested in China: Wood’s The Story of China (2020) is very helpful.
  • Allen’s Global Economic History (2011) is a standard reference.
  • A couple of big-picture classics: Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel (2017) and Morris’ War - What is it good for? (2015) are worth a read (at some time)
  • An integrated reference list will be provided in the first lecture and readings will generally be available through the University’s reading list system.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. possess a broad understanding of the long sweep of global economic history
  • LO2. set current global economic issues in historical context and be able to discuss potential future developments in this context
  • LO3. possess an understanding of core economic theory principles
  • LO4. consider both western and non-western perspectives on development
  • LO5. understand Australian economic history in global context
  • LO6. manage, analyse, evaluate and use research materials efficiently and effectively.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
Students have consistently asked that the material be tailored to reflect current global issues. Reflecting this, in 2022 there will be greater focus on Russian and Eastern European history.


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