Economics is the study of how individuals and societies allocate scarce resources – labor, natural resources, capital – toward competing ends to sustain life and enhance its quality. This course develops the basic tools of microeconomic analysis and advances critical thinking around the dominant neoclassical approach to economic problem solving. We begin with a comparison of how the main questions of economics are considered across economic theories, by capitalism and throughout the history of economics. We then discuss how mathematical models were developed to explain market behavior. Most of the course will be dedicated to microeconomic analysis using the neoclassical model, including theories of supply and demand, government action in markets and market failures. Throughout, we will apply concepts to public policy issues such as inequality, unemployment and climate change. Students will be expected to contribute to classroom discussion by periodically bringing in relevant news articles. Grades will be based on classroom participation, two short writing assignments (2-3 pages) and take-home problem sets. Basic skills in algebra are required.