Charlotte Lee
Political Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan, Reading, Teaching/Learning Strategy
Community College / Lower Division
  • 2008 Global Financial Crisis
  • Debt Crisis
  • Financial Crisis
  • Global Currency
  • International Banking
  • International Finance
  • International Relations
  • International Trade
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
    Media Formats:
    Downloadable docs, Video

    International Finance


    Module on international finance. Intended for community college students and aligned with the requirements for POLS 140: Introduction to International Relations within the California Community College system. Includes readings, lesson plan, and ancillary materials (lecture slides and handout).

    Lesson Plan: International Finance

    Lesson Plan: International Finance

    Topic: International Finance

    Week #: 7

    Estimated Time: 150-180 minutes


    Assigned Readings and Materials:

    1. Greenlaw, Steven A. and Shapiro, David. 2018. Principles of Macroeconomics 2e. OpenStax. Available online at Sections 14.1 and 14.3 (Money and Banking, pp. 335-338 and 341-345); 10.1 to 10.4 (International Trade and Capital Flows, pp. 245-259); 16.1 and 16.3 (Exchange Rates and International Capital Flows, pp. 381-390 and 395-397) (32 pages total, core reading)
    2. Hennessey, Keith et al. 2011. “Dissenting Statement on the Causes of the Financial and Economic Crisis.” US Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. Available online at (first 10 pages, briefing)
    3. Frontline. 2012. “Money, Power, and Wall Street: Part One.” PBS documentary. Available online at (approx. 60 minutes)


    Total page count: 42

    Online documentary: 1 hour


    Learning Objectives:

    By the end of this lesson plan, students will be able to:

    1. Describe major components of international finance
    2. Analyze the relationship between international trade and finance
    3. Evaluate causes and consequences of a major global financial crisis

    Misconceptions of Topic:

    1. Students may not see how their actions affect international finance and vice versa.
    2. Students may think, “International finance is too complicated for me to understand, and it's just about bankers and capitalists.”


    Lesson Component


    Lecture: Review learning objectives

    Lecture slides

    Lecture and discussion: How does international finance affect me? How do I affect international finance?


    Reading 1

    Lecture slides


    Lecture and discussion: Key concepts in international finance


    Reading 1

    Lecture slides

    Think Pair Share: What were the causes of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis? What might be some ways to prevent future crises?

    Reading 2; documentary resource 3

    Lecture slides



    Application: Debt crisis in Greece


    Instructor resource:

    Nelson, Rebecca M. et al. 2017. “The Greek Debt Crisis: Overview and Implications for the United States.” Congressional Research Service. Available online at


    Online resource:

    Frontline. 2012. “Money, Power & Wall Street, Part 4”

    View 28:30-44:00

    Application: Mexico’s 1982 foreign debt crisis

    Two background readings (optional to assign to students):


    Glasberg, Davita Silfen. 1989. “Chapter Six— Mexico's Foreign Debt Crisis: Bank Hegemony, Crisis, and the State” in

     The Power of Collective Purse Strings: The Effect of Bank Hegemony on Corporations and the StateBerkeley:  University of California Press. Available free online at


    Alternative URL for Glasberg 1989:



    Sims, Jocelyn and Jessie Romero. 2013. “Latin American Debt Crisis of the 1980s” Federal Reserve History. Available online at


    Conclude and wrap-up

    Lecture slides


    Required Readings and Documentary: International Finance


    • Reading #1a: Greenlaw and Shapiro 2018, “Money and Banking”
    • Reading #1b: Greenlaw and Shapiro 2018, “International Trade and Capital Flows”
    • Reading #1c: Greenlaw and Shapiro 2018, “Exchange Rates and International Capital Flows”
    • Reading #2: Hennessey et al. 2011
    • Documentary: Frontline 2012

    Introducing the readings:

    This unit’s readings and online documentary provide an introduction to international finance. To define and connect key concepts, Greenlaw and Shapiro (2018) describe 1a) money and banking, 1b) the link between international capital flows and international trade, and 1c) the link between international capital flows and exchange rates. All of these are excerpts from Greenlaw and Shapiro’s OER textbook on macroeconomics.

    Hennessey et al. (2011) offer an application of these concepts to dissecting the causes of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. To understand the ways in which international finance affects personal, community, national, and global outcomes, this statement to the US Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission notes several interrelated causes of the 2008 crisis. Part One of Frontline’s 2012 documentary, “Money, Power, and Wall Street,” offers a powerful illustration of these forces at work.

    Ancillary Materials: International Finance

    Attached are CC-licensed lecture slides and a handout to accompany the lesson plan for realism and liberalism.