Charles Edison

"Economics, politics, and personalities are often inseparable." - Charles Edison

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Snared in a Pinch: The Poverty Trap

I read this article that suggests that the being in poverty itself brings to the table more problems than unpaid bills. The author went on to propose that these hardships could induce stress, resulting in "poor" decision making, entangling the individual in a situation where they are "so concerned about the present that [they] can't begin thinking about the future."

You don't say.

I will not sit in my air-conditioned room, blogging, and dismiss this conjecture. Shafir certainly knows his area of expertise, and I lack the experience or knowledge to challenge his claim. Rather, I would like to focus on the issue of being in poverty as a whole. I do not want people to read this and jump to the conclusion that "Oh! This is why those people want my spare change! This is why people require welfare. This is why I can feel fortunate about my position in the comparable world."

Popular science has a disposition to relate enormous issues to a novel cause. Journalists just eat it up. While I can guarantee that there is a percentage of under-achievers who fall into Shafir's affirmation that being surrounded by other working class heroes could hinder your chances of rising up the tax bracket, it's not time to generalize. Everyone has a story. Everyone is in the situation they are in because of the decisions of their parents, their governments, their precursors, their triumphs, their inspirations, their failures, their lucky days, and their sleepless nights. It's seldom one factor that attributes to being poor.

Frankly, being poor has been the norm for the greater part of forever. It's only recently that Wikipedia scholars and cognitive pioneers have asked "why?" The middle class being the primary group (in developed nations) is in its infancy.

Life does an impressive job of beating people down. The most staggering aspect about this article is that poor people being distracted is not common sense. It's not even to the extent that the lower class don't think about the future: I think it haunts some of them. Realistically, they just have too many problems in their wallets to worry about their next "big step." Being in a poor financial situation does not fundamentally transform someone, it obstructs them from allowing the person to rise to their maximum potentials.

Everyone has a story.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Make Kony Famous

Joseph Kony is a Ugandan guerrilla group leader who has had major control over the past 26 years throughout Africa. He has kidnapped children, forced murder as well as sex trafficked under age girls taken from their homes. He is listed number one on the ICC's list of the most wanted and has caused a huge uproar throughout the world. He has caused such a commotion that a charity group, invisible children, formed with specific intentions of stopping this man and saving the African children. After going to D.C. and eventually convincing our government to send some 100 special forces units into Uganda, they began raising more support from the country and are attempting to keep the fire burning through donations and buying of the "action" kit. Although the group stands for a good purpose, there has in fact been some suspicion of a report that they used 8.8 million of their 13.7 dollars raised towards their personal spending of filming, travel, and transportation. Even with this fact being somewhat well known the group has continued stronger than ever, sending a Kony video viral and raising huge support throughout the world.
I personally am supportive of the group although their spending has been a bit suspicious, it is still inspiring that in economic times such as these and human sensitivity at a low they are able to continually raise massive support both financially and personally. It is important people do not get so caught up in saving and watching their expenses that we still remember the importance of lending a hand to struggling countries, whether or not we are at any type of risk for it or not.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hayekian Beliefs

After studying and learning a
little more about the Hayekian economical views, I become even more strongly
against it as I observed the full understanding of the concept. In the beginning
all I believed the system to be was that the government should stay out of economic
affairs and let them sort out by themselves. Later on after researching a
little further, I came upon the true meaning and over view of the entire belief
system. Not only is someone who believes Friedrich Hayek’s beliefs agreeing
that the economy should sort itself out but as well as racism as well. Hayekian
believers thought that slavery should still be a part of the society because it
was a part of life in many previous cultures. A more recent issue would be the
Civil Rights Movement. Hayekian believers would say that it is rational to not
step in and segregate but simply stand back and let the whites and blacks
handle matters on their own. After time has allowed this belief system to
develop, the Hayekian followers have been able to cope with the basic principle
of morals. This has allowed the Hayekians to adapt and realize that the
abolishment of slavery was in the best interest of the society. After reading
and understanding more on Hayeks beliefs, I was able to conclude that adopting
this concept into the U.S. would not only hurt our economy but as well as the
entire nation as a whole.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Woo Pig Sooie!

I visited University of Arkansas a few weekends ago. As we did the college tour, two students were showing us around on campus. As we got to the business building, they started to explain some cool things about the department. The guy told that there is an investing class that every business major/minor has to take. The school donates $1,000,000 for the students to invest in the class so they can really get a hands on experience on the real stock market, rather than just learning through simulators for practice. I think using real money would put more pressure on the students to take it more seriously, in the chances of actually making/loosing real money. I thought this was pretty cool. This gives students the tools and knowledge to invest money early on. Especially being a business major, it is important to invest your money to make a good living. The earlier you start the more you will make. This is becoming more and more important because we need to start planning to save for retirement earlier on because our generations will not be able to plan for social security. Its cool that the university is investing money into their students, which will not only make the school money, but will overall drive the economy because those students will more than likely invest on their own, putting more money into the economy. I don’t know how common these classes are, but I think its an awesome idea that will spread if it hasn’t already. A lot of people, especially young adults, are scared to invest their money. By taking this class, more young adults will begin to put back money and start retirement funds early on and be smarter with their money.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

2012 Progress

As 2012 has started off with a boom, assuming that it is leading up to the end of the world, we have also boomed economically. Our economic stance from only six months ago has greatly improved, in fact we are doing better than what was assumed we would be at currently. Our unemployment rate has dropped more than expected and manufacturing has picked up greatly affecting jobs and production. While our economy has experienced some big improvements it is still hard to say exactly how long they are expected to last. With the rapid unemployment drop it would appear good things are to come ,but we really can never truly tell. The economy is one of the seemingly impossible to predict, but with many good signs it is only right to assume our economy is going into a positive direction. We can only hope that more people are able to find jobs and more money will be injected in our ever changing economy. With businesses picking up and unemployment dropping, we can only hope for the best.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"Nonsense?" (Pt. 1)


The point is that when two people argue over the one cause of oil price increase, both individuals are incorrect because there are several reasons as to why oil prices rise.

What frustrates me is that some people nowadays focus on the short term reasons for oil price increase or decrease. Putting blame on the dollar, conjecture, and instability puts the issue as a whole in a poor context. It implies that by solving these problems, everything can go back to "normal."

It's time we step back and address the real issue: oil is a limited resource. You may have read about "peak oil" in the article. It was the first time I learned of it, too: essentially, peak oil will occur when the rate of petroleum extraction is at it's max, after which we must begin to cope with "terminal decline." It's a day we have all seen coming, the end of the oil age... but some say Peak Oil has already occurred. That's debatable. The point is that grumbling over the sanctions on Iran and the possible Oil Wars, or (insert any explanation as to why oil prices fluctuate here) entirely disregards the base of the issue and merely puts off the the problems that we will eventually have to face, such as having no petroleum to power our cities, run our cars, make our plastics, and lubricate the gears of the entire economy.

Others that do not believe in peak oil feel that entrepreneurship will be the new driving force of energy production, having the ability to exploit new fields in alternative resources.

You can expect part two of "Nonsense?" next week.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New Job Program

United States has seen one of the most drastic unemployment periods this nation
has ever seen in the past few years. The vast amount of unemployed Americans
has led to the nation’s continual downfall. Recently, Americans have believed
that we were in the recovery stage of the recession due to how the economy is
reacting, but due to lack in hiring, one can assume that the economy is going
to take a double dip. Even after two, even three to four years had gone by;
there are still people out of the job. Many American citizens have been repetitively
searching for jobs and have failed to find anything until a new jobs plan was
set into effect. After researching what this new job program was, I realized
that it wasn’t even a job yet it was an internship. The creator of this program
believed that to start on a successful path you can’t just immediately walk
into a well-paid job even if you had a college education along with a solid 30
years of experience, you’d have to start fresh and allow yourself to build up opportunity.
So many unemployed Americans were very prideful and would not settle for
flipping burgers or sacking groceries, but as soon as the opportunity of this
internship opened up, many jumped on it.
After reading and learning about this job program, I was able to gain a
firm grasp on what our economy is really going through. My opinion of the
economy after realizing that the unemployment was still so high was that we
were going to double dip and go through another recession but if this job
program was able to expand and spark more unemployed people’s interests, the
United States economy may look at a peeking point in the near future.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Starbucks Discrimination

In a time where jobs are a hot item and people are in high competition for them, it is hard to overlook a job refusal due to discrimination. Starbucks is being sued for not hiring a one armed man in San Diego due to his disability. Starbucks refuses that the claim is legitimate and responded that he did not receive the job due to other reasons, not his disability. Starbucks is known for hiring people with disabilities and that the man's recollection of the interview was false. Pierre, the man who was not hired, is a former bartender that claims the Starbucks manager told him in the interview that the flavoring syrups were too high for him to reach and therefore he was not fully suited for the job. Whether or not Pierre's accusations are true or not we do not know for sure, but what we do know is that people are desperate for jobs and the denial of one over a physical handicap is expected to receive large recognition and bad news for Starbucks if the story is in fact true and he was not hired due to his physical situation. It is important not to discriminate in job hiring. Our unemployment is improving and if people are going out and trying to find jobs, they should not be turned away due to a handicap that would not actually effect their work. This is bad for our economy and unfair to our citizens.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

'Greece Can Only Solve Its Crisis if It Quits the Euro'

If you are even slightly interested with the economic crisis in Greece, read this article.

If you are considerate about the nearby future, read this article.

If you need a little push, click here.

One of my favorite points that Sinn makes in his interview:

Greece's creditors aren't entitled to have the debt repaid by the international community. Everyone has to earn the standard of living themselves, and those who chose to make money from risk must bear that risk.

If I understand interest-bearing loans correctly, don't interest rates encode the risk of default? The idea that a creditor may lend money with trailing interest rates and recollect irregardless of the debtor's ability to pay is irritable. That is the entire notion of risk! Likewise, interest represents the opportunity cost of not investing elsewhere. Why is there an obligation to pay debts that cannot be managed? An entire country turning to austerity mirrors a system of debt bondage, just on a much larger scale. While, yes, the ability to pardon debt too easily could limit growth by turning away investors, a balanced between the creditors and the debtors. I should not be able to go to input debtor into a thesaurus website and see it paired with "delinquent."

Further, what are the negatives to this? What is to become of home mortgages that are held by the Euro? And what of the middle class? They will likely be affected most by the currency shift, and their savings may be exhausted, but what of the austerity period Sinn is predicting? There is also a decent chance that a proportion of the middle class will simply emigrate in search of better opportunities. What shall serve as the backbone of economic revitalization without the pivotal middle class?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Gas Prices

gas prices begin to rise as we head into summer, the consumer price is going to
begin to slightly rise with gasoline. In January the consumer price went up
0.2%, which is the highest it has increased since September of 2011. As we see
this increase of not only gasoline but as well as consumer goods, we can begin
to make the assumption that the demand of certain goods will decrease. This is
where the market begins to become very competitive and eliminates the smaller
less profitable companies. This is not only bad for the smaller business but as
well as the consumers. As soon as the larger company has waited out the smaller
company’s failure and bankruptcy, the larger business is the only one with the
product now which allows them to "jack" the prices up because they
are the only ones who sell that product. Seeing how the price of gasoline
causes the majority of companies to raise their prices, it seems as if we need
something that does not rely on gas to be fueled. I believe as soon as there is
another way to deliver and shit goods from point A to point B without having to
pay the vast amount of money for gas, then not only will transportation be
cheaper but as well as the majority of all goods. This will better the economy
and the business world. Is there any way for the US to develop such technology?

A Plan To Save the Postal Service

The US Postal Service has presented a five year economic plan to congress asking for their help to get through their financial struggles. The Postal Service would like congress to pass legislation concerning the price of postal stamps raising the price to 50 cents. The Postal Service lost revenue in the past three months, during the holidays, which should have been their profitable time of year. Many people did not ship mail first-class which led to a loss of $3.3 billion in revenue. Congress has been working on plans to save the Postal Service from suffering even more losses, but all plans have faced controversy and have not been passed as legislation. The US Postal Service’s plan would help save them $20 billion over the course of the next five years, but they need congress to assist in helping them save $10 billion. The stamps which now cost 45 cents would be raised to 50 cents allowing for $1 billion to be saved per year according the statistics of the Postal Service. However, the plan also calls for some drawbacks. Many post offices would be closed, deliveries would be changed to five day weeks instead of six, and first-class mail would be delivered a day later than usual. The Postal Service would also like to do away with the federal law that requires that it to prefund retiree health care. However, it would create a new health care plan for the employees. The plan also would create a dramatic loss of jobs for the many people who work for the US Postal Service. This plan, while it may greatly benefit the Postal Service by recovering their losses, it also calls for reductions that could also be less beneficial to the economy.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Can you resist "Schweddy Balls"?

If you are a fan of Ben & Jerry’s icecream like I am, you have probably noticed their funny flavors. If not, check out the icecream isle next time your at the grocery store. Half Baked, Magic Brownies, Karamel Sutra... the list of witty names goes on. Ben & Jerry’s has shown a lot of activism as a company, supporting Occupy Wallstreet, environmental issues and other current events. They even celebrated the fight for gay rights by renaming their “Chubby Hubby” icecream to “Hubby Hubby”.
Ben & Jerry’s decided to go out with a bang when they whipped out “Schweddy Balls”, their new featured flavor last year in reference to a popular SNL skit. The icecream is rum flavored with fudge malt balls, staying true to the "mouth-watering Schweddy rum ball family recipe". Many consumers began to think they were starting to push the envelope. The carefree company let it be known that they were not going to worry about complaints and just wanted to have some fun and honor the hilarious Alec Baldwin skit. Mothers were saying that they didn’t want to hear their children asking for schweddy balls. Some organizations tried to boycott and resist Schweddy Balls. Many were offended and viewed the flavor inappropriate.
Despite your view on the Schweddy Ball controversy, there is a lot of respect to be given for Ben & Jerry’s as a business. They started out selling icecream out of a gas station in a small town in Vermont and are now known and loved nationwide. The 30 year old company has grown drastically despite their edginess and risky stances.
So has their gutsiness been a positive marketing strategy? Do you still there no such thing as bad publicity? And lastly-- will you resist their Schweddy Balls?

Other cool flavors include “Americone Dream” honoring Stephen Colbert, “Late Night Snack” honoring Jimmy Fallon, and “Cherry Garcia” in respects to Grateful Dead’s guitarist Jerry Garcia.

Postal Closings Lead to Isolation

Although it may prove beneficial financial to shut down post offices throughout the nation, it will have a huge effect on small towns as well as poor communities who have no access to Internet. While the post office has become a largely negative impact on our economy, for some areas it is the primary source for reaching out to distant relations. In small towns such as Dedham, Iowa , the post office is the only way to send out mail as well as packages. It is their primary source to keep in touch with outside of their town because they have no access to Internet. Without the post office they will no longer to be able to send packages, buy stamps, or send letters. Being a small town of only 280 residents, they heavily rely on their post office. By shutting their post office down there will be a large number of unemployment in the town as well as a large feeling of isolation the world outside their small town. A study has shown that 80% of the offices that are lined up to shut down first are located in small rural towns where there is little to no Internet connection possible and poverty is very high. Imagine a life with no email or instant messaging and now no postal service. This will be a huge struggle for these small towns who have always relied heavily on their services. I agree that the postal service is bringing down our economy, but I believe a new resource should be developed in order to allow these people to keep in contact with the outside world.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Iranian Oil & Petrodollar Warfare

The US has another potential economic crisis on its hands. This article claims that Iran is continuing it's "attack" on the dollar, when in actuality the Islamic Republic is merely protecting itself from one commenter called "America's super-imperialism." To have a better understanding of the Petrodollar situation and what Iran is doing to leave America quivering, I suggest reading this wiki article.

The Petrodollar refers to the OPEC recognized standard of using only the US dollar "as the world's dominant reserve currency, and the currency in which oil is priced." Now picture every country that imports or exports oil keeping X amount of dollars in a backroom somewhere for Y years. Since most countries rely on importing oil, they will constantly reserve and demand the dollar. This is one of the reasons we can function as a country despite the debt we find ourselves in. All is well, right? Now imagine a majority of foreign countries switching their petrodollar to the petroeuro. There lies a potential for billions of dollars to be deemed useless, worthless. The countries that adopted the new petrocurrency now have no use for the dollar, and can freely sell their bonds, securities, assets, etc., resulting in a sudden flood of US money in the world economy and unprecedented inflation. Game over.

Iran is the first country succeeding at their fight against the petrodollar, and that worries the United States. "Supposedly" the US and friends are merely placing sanctions on the Islamic Republic to coerce them out of pursuing WMDs, but protecting the petrodollar's regime is first priority. We could face the truth: it's unlikely Iran would ever initialize warfare against Israel. They would face utter annihilation. It's also unlikely the US could go to war with Iran given the American public's awakening in the face of media manipulation. We've become much more conscious of the media's bias and its ability to sway public opinion. Perhaps the only way for the US to continue to dominate the oil trade is to utilize Israel to deliver the first attack, then to follow through with the aforementioned 'utter annihilation.'

This article radically shifted my position on "who's the bad guy here" from a "clearly, them" to "nope, us." First off, how is it an attack if Iran is merely wanting to trade natural resources with India? Is it seen as an attack just because of the looming economic threat? If I attempted to sympathize with Ahmadinejad, I would see an otherwise disillusioned man who ultimately wants to protect his people from what they view as capitalist greed and monopoly.

I do worry about the looming future. As justified as it may be, Iran is breaking OPEC regulations by trading in any medium outside the US dollar, which in itself could cause a monumental backlash not just from the United States, but also the OPEC-member countries. In 2000, Saddam Hussein tried to break away from the petrodollar as well. I predict a parallel future for Iran.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chicken Economy

In today’s economy, chicken farmers and meat producers are struggling to profit in this industry. This is due to the high rise in cost of chicken feed as well as a decline in the demand for chicken products. However, the amount of chicken being produces has not changed that much in comparison to the amount of chicken produced last year. This has created a surplus of chicken because there are fewer buyers than years past. In effect, this causes the price of chicken to go down. People however, are still not buying the chicken, so what could be done with all the extra chicken? The government decided to purchase $40 million worth of chicken products that could be used to feed needy Americans. This in turn, benefits the industry se, because the surplus of chicken will decrease allowing struggling producers to raise their prices and cover the costs of their production. This government intervention has greatly helped the industry stabilize during these difficult economic times. Hopefully, the demand for chicken products will increase over the next year rather than continue its decline. As of right now, the expectations for 2012 are not looking too great.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Grammy awards were shown on February 12, and I began to realize, just like the
super bowl, that this was a time for many to advertise. The commercials could
be doing the advertising or it could be the actual artist performing. I realize
that the amount of people whom view the Grammys is not as large as the group
who watch the super bowl, but on a smaller spectrum, this would give a great opportunity
to grab the audience’s attention. Not only this but after the artist Adele was
given her six awards, the number of buyers that purchased her songs sky
rocketed. This caught my attention because not only did the Grammy winners
begin to sell an abundance of music but as well as the ones who performed that
night. This made me begin to think that if someone, an artist, was to expose
something that had not been heard before, on the night of the Grammys, they may
experience a large sale of their album/song they performed. I mean i realize
that you must be invited to perform at the Grammys, but if the performer strategically
allowed them enough time to develop new music and performed it that night, it
would have a dramatic effect on their overall sales. I am not quite sure if
this has ever been accounted for but if not I believe it may actually work. In
my opinion if I were watching the Grammys and heard a song that was just being
released I would immediately access iTunes and purchase it. If myself along
with others throughout the country did this, the sales would drastically
increase in the matter of hours.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Facebook for Adults vs. Facebook for Teens

A study has begun to discover how Facebook is viewed by adults vs. how Facebook is viewed by teens. Although it would be assumed that Facebook would be discussed as a more positive outlet by teens, it is actually reversed. Adults have come out with higher percentages of having a positive view of Facebook for a resource of social networking whether it be for reconnecting with old high school friends, or keeping in touch with distant family members, they think it is a wonderful source with many positive uses. Teens on the other hand have come out with a more negative view of the website and have shared more negative outcomes due to the website as oppose to positive. They have higher percentages of experiencing bullying, job conflicts, school rejections, and ends to relationships. Teens report that the website makes them feel bad about themselves more than good whereas adults claim the have had more good feelings about themselves and their lives. This survey could be a small detection of a future drop off of Facebook users that are teens and its user majority could possibly turn into primarily adult aged people.

Speaking as a teen, I personally have seen a huge drop off of teen users already from Facebook and a large conversion to Twitter. Although Facebook has its positives and negatives, I think teens simply become bored and are always looking for new things. No matter how many updates a social network may make, teens are always looking for something cooler, newer, and preferably undiscovered. Unfortunately, bullying may never have an end brought to it no matter what social network is created, but depanding on how big of an issue it becomes it could play a major role in the popularity of a site increasing the demand for access to the network.

Cali Beaches

I just read a very intriguing article on Drudge Report. This week, LA county raised the fine to $1,000 for throwing frisbees or footballs on the beach. In this ordinance, they clarify all activities that could potentially “disrupt the public.” This new law also restricts beach-goers from digging a hole deeper or wider than 18 inches. I find this all a bit ridiculous. $1,000 is a big fine for something not as big of a deal. I think it was in place for crowded beach areas because some people don’t have enough respect to consider the people around them, but I don’t think that the government should be able to regulate the size of your sandcastle. If you are playing catch and your ball hits a kid, I think the person with the ball should be liable because it was their fault. But I couldn’t imagine going to the beach and not being able to those prototypical beach activities like throwing a football or burying people in the sand. Also, what I find even sillier is that your allowed to play with volleyballs and beach balls all you want. Is this a way for California to bring in some money, or is it an actual problem that needs to be diminished by adding on this hefty fine?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Day Without a Mexican

The relatively new anti-immigration law in Alabama, HB 56, has caused much controversy. This article in the Atlantic Wire brings to our attention how harsher anti-immigration laws have backfired on the state’s economy. As the growing season draws near, farmers find themselves running short on field hands despite the state’s 9.3% unemployment. Alabama simply cannot find anyone willing to work for the wage they’re offering, except prisoners. The article doesn’t mention if the prisoners are even willing to work in the fields, and I doubt they will have the same level of carefulness and ambition that is seen in the migrant workers. In addition to that, everyone who was at one time willing to work for a fair wage most likely left when Alabama turned a blind eye to the larger agricultural businesses paying illegal immigrants $0.25 an hour.

We cannot expect an exodus from the cities and suburbs to the rural farmlands of Alabama just to rebuild the employment infrastructure. Those with jobs will prefer them over the arduous tasks of field work, and some unemployed simply lack the will to work long shifts for two week periods for mediocre payment. It seems that they take city-dwellers, throw them into a field, and expect a full day’s work. This may fail, but perhaps that is what they intend: maybe then things will return to the way they were. Americans incessantly complain about the fairness of hiring illegal immigrants over citizens, but when it comes time for them to step up and actually perform labor, we call a sick day. Finally, this article appears to imply that only a migrant worker can pick crops, when in reality it’s a skilled occupation that requires experience, endurance, and patience… three facets lacking in the modern day workforce.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Entertainment Industry

Often, I wonder what kind of effect the entertainment industry has on our economy. The film entertainment industry is growing very rapidly and actually fuels our economy because it creates jobs. In addition to that it promotes nations and services and encourages people to buy products. Movies also can have an impact on society’s behavior. Movies send out positive and negative messages that spark ideas and interests into people. How could any society thrive without ideas and interests? In addition to the motivation it gives people, this industry also keeps people spending money. However, at the same time as people choose to spend less money on entertainment, the industry must make certain budget cuts producing less quality entertainment. Even though people have been spending less money on movies, games, etc, many still view this type of entertainment less costly then a vacation, or a trip to a theme park. Thus, the industry is still bringing in money and helping the economy grow. Also, with technology developing more quickly many people are helping the home entertainment industry. When more people buy TVs then more people will have access to advertising from other industries. The entertainment industry has a great effect on our economy as a whole.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Many believe that the market failures are the reasons for our drastic economic problems. But markets don’t “fail.” They respond rationally, quickly and often brutally to the conditions in which they are in. If they see a shortage of supply or an excess of demand, they’ll drive prices higher. Conversely, excess supply or falling demand drives prices lower. If you’re looking for someone to blame, examine why supply is constricted or inflated or why demand is stifled or encouraged. But don’t blame the markets for responding accordingly. For example, the onset of the financial crisis three or four years ago was largely due in the US and the UK to excessive demand for mortgages from people who couldn’t afford them. In the US, this was driven by government mandates to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to do just that – pump up demand for housing. In the UK, tight restrictions on construction limited supply to a market that quite rationally came to believe home ownership was a sound substitute for more productive investment. The logical response by the markets was to divert money to housing, just as the politicians wanted. As soon as this folly became apparent, the banks bailed out as did the humble folk queue outside branches of Northern Rock, much to the dismay of policymakers. This is why I believe in the strong theory that no market is at a failing point but yet the harsh societal conditions don’t allow for a market to become anything more than a failure.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Mini Cows

As the baby boomers are hitting an age for retirement, small acreage hobby farms are growing in popularity. The availability for land in the states has declined, though the demand is increasing as the baby boomers are retiring. This is a reason why miniature cattle are growing in popularity. Today, the average cow weighs 1300 lbs at the time of slaughter, and 2 cattle require 5 acres of land. The mini cow cannot be taller than 42 inches and weighs 500-700 lbs when its 3 years old. They can be utilitized for the same uses as their full sized counterparts, while being higher income. Mini cows are more efficient because they consume 50% less food than normal cattle, produce high quality, tasteful and tender meat, have 45% less body fat and have better proportions of the best cuts of meat- the mini cow’s ribeye is 50% larger than a normal cows! Mini cows are easier to raise because they are gentle, and can easily be produced hormone-free. They are easier and more desirable for meat production, dairy production and breeding because of their size. Mini cows have a lower total maintenance cost and are overall higher income because of their efficiency, even though they start at a whopping $1000 as calves. They are becoming more and more desirable, and the demand is rising 20% a year. They are ideal for 3rd world countries and poverty stricken areas, and are also becoming pets for the rich. For another added bonus, they are absolutely adorable.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Endangered Seal Shootings

There has been a serious issue of different seal breed's washing up on shores with bullets in them. The seals are already on the endangered list and with an occurrence of already 8 found on shores their numbers continue to dwindle. Their endangerment is due to a contamination in the water as well as over fishing of seals as well as multiple other sea animals. Seals are fished for use of their delicate skin. Their skin serves as a popular leather used for wallets, purses, and multiple other objects due to its extreme softness as well as durability. Seals play an important role in sea life by serving as both a predator and a prey. Without the seal, there would be a surplus of fish and a lack of food source for animals such as the arctic fox and polar bear. There is a high demand for seals' safety and if they had not been on the endangered list, this occurrence of seal shootings may have been over looked. It is a shame that these precious animals are being treated so wrongly and even worse that more seals are popping up dead on shores. These occurrences have only been a problem in Washington state ,but it is important it is looked into now and that a stop is put to it before the problem grows on a larger scale. It is extremely important we respect our environment. If we do not, our list of natural demands will run dry and we will be without several vital products from our world that we will not be capable of recreating.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Really Simple Theory

Breaking News: Intelligent people will work in fields that promise higher wages.

The increasing number of post-grads entering fields like finance, equity, mgmt., and similar careers is one of the many problems the United States is facing. Jobs will not be created by lawyers, or through financing and leasing. We see consistent growth rates in our economy, yet lack the manufacturing to back it up. Fortune 500 companies are investing more into financial expansion over industrial expansion, eventually accumulating into a generation of managers and money-pushers without the potential to manufacture. The Steve Jobs age of investing, when businesses would continually invest into "the next big thing," is over. Knowledge & service careers will not stimulate growth, and a surplus of MBA degree holders means the demand for those workers will decrease. Still, this is a realistic take on the situation: entrepreneurship is truly difficult, and paying off student loans is a priority for many. Those that become engineers and mathematicians are passionate about their college courses, but the bright students with no concrete goal for the upcoming years will generally pursue a job that can immediately provide a steady income. What really surprises me is the number of students that decide to pursue careers in law or finance when the job market for these positions is incredibly narrow. "Consulting" careers are not an immediate hire, either, as I doubt an aging business executive wants to take advice from some newly graduated punk who had a Philosophy professor who "totally opened their mind last spring." It's borderline foolish to pursue high tuition rates and self-destructive student loans when there's a slim chance of securing a job.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Traditional Sytem

Recently, I have learned about the four economic systems, one of which is the traditional system. The traditional system uses a system of passed down techniques in or order to accomplish their own economic growth. However, this particular system often leads to a stagnant economy. On the other hand, a traditional economy is the original economy from any part of the world. In other words, no country began with a developed economic system. That being said, most countries today with this traditional system have underdeveloped economies. Upon learning about this economic system I became curious if their still remained any purely traditional economic systems. Any traditional system today would most likely focus on agricultural. However, even the small underdeveloped countries are transforming their economies to keep up with the modern changes of society. Although this is true, the idea of a traditional economic system is not extinct. Many indigenous countries such as, Papa New Guinea, Brazil, and other African and Asian countries still practice traditional concepts. Traditional values remain prevalent in these countries, with the understanding that in order to survive they must use some of their production as a mean of commercial use.
But why would these countries still practice these ideas if they are proven less efficient than other economic systems? A traditional economic system has some valuable benefits that can only be achieve by the social nature this type of economy creates. Traditional systems require a group effort among the people. Thus, this system unifies them and nurtures their beliefs and cultures. Unfortunately, in order to survive, the main principle of the traditional system, each person has a set job to perform to keep society running. With less governmental control there is more freedom of thought, so why do the people continue performing the same jobs the same way without question. In my opinion, it’s because they value their cultural practices more than they do an advanced economy and they lack the resources need to make an economy thrive. Though they aren’t the wealthiest of nations, a society with this system can enjoy certain independence without feeling a financial strain.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Obama Rejects Pipeline

Last week Obama rejected the idea of the Keystone Pipeline, which transported oil from Canada to the US. This is hard to understand, considering the pros and cons. Canada has a huge abundance of oil sand reserves and they are wanting to build a pipeline to the US to sell to us. Being in AP environmental science, we have studied different ways of extracting oil, and oil sands are a lot less environmentally detrimental compared to the other possibilities, such as deep sea drilling- which a lot of our oil comes from! It does have its negative impacts however, mostly taking away from the natural beauty by digging up large areas. But the real deal is that if we dont buy it, someone else will. There is a growing demand in energy resources as technology is ruling the world. It is expected that if the US does not buy the oil, that Canada will make an agreement to build a pipeline to China. The only reasons that i have heard about Obama rejecting it is the negative environmental impact. So if thats the only con, let me tell you all the pro’s -- it will help the economy, increase job opportunities, lower oil prices and decrease dependency on the Middle East. Also, if the US wont buy the oil from Canada, TransCanada Corp. says that they will sell it to other countries instead. Therefore rejecting the building of the pipeline to the US will not help the environment; it is inevitable that Canada will sell it to someone else. Along with all of this said, many believe that Obama has only rejected the pipeline for the time being so he doesn’t have to make any big political decisions with the chance that he might loose votes in the upcoming election. As far as I can see, the only ones that would be against this would be radical environmentalists, who usually lean towards a more liberal standpoint. But I think more people would want to see this getting built than not, so I think he would actually gain support, especially considering how rising gas prices will only get worse as the weather warms up and people begin to travel. So are their any other reasons not to build this pipeline that I am missing? And do you think Obama will go back and end up approving it if he is reelected?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rangers Big Gamble

Texas is known for several things, one of them is being home to the Rangers. The Texas Rangers have been the ALCS( American League Championship Series) winner for the past two consecutive years, this leaves fans with high expectations. The owners and managers recognized this and realized that it was crucial to keep their line-up stacked and record filled with W's. They decided that one of the keys to these two goals lived across the globe and was an icon in his country, it was Yu Darvish. Yu Darvish is considered the top pitcher in Japan, at 6ft.5in. and 215 lb., he's not doing too badly for being 25 years old. Rangers managers decided they not only wanted Darvish, they would do whatever was necessary to have him. They settled on a $60 million six year contract. Now the question is , Will he meet expectations? The Rangers have a solid batting line up as well as defense, the only area debatable is pitching. Darvish is expected to be a key element in it's build up after what some consider a huge loss by losing Wilson.

There are many odds against Darvish being successful. He is away from his homeland, dealing with completely new ranges of temperatures, and pitching against a whole new group of players. All three factors could be reasons for his failure, but as a Ranger fan, I am hoping it is all handled easily and Darvish will be a great success while on our team. If not, the Rangers will have suffered a huge opportunity cost which will follow them the next six years.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Finding Value in Higher Education & Marriage

An interesting article on the premiums earned for post-grads and married men highlighted how economists are encouraging men to pursue a degree to increase their income versus their zipped lips on the bonuses that come with marriage and a comparable premium return. Mr. Caplan proceeds to list several possible, semi-thought out reasons possibly explaining how this could possibly happen, using the "you could think" starter to hide behind the fact that his reasons are mediocre. Still, to give Caplan some credibility, he at least takes the time to present counterarguments to the arguments he himself developed. They range from a man's distaste for marriage to the lack of freedom that comes with eternal union.

I am uncertain if there is a positive correlation between marriage and age, yet there is most likely a positive relationship between salary and age. Employers desire experience, and seniority in the workplace more likely than not secures the employee higher wages. That's not to say, however, that all elderly job-seekers are guaranteed work. Caplan brought to light an interesting "discrepancy" that may be explained by means other than economists have established a "double standard." For one thing, there may be a large proportion of single, white males that believe marriage would lead to children. The thought of having kids intimidates the college-grads or high income hopefuls from settling down until they themselves have a steady/larger salary. From another perspective, being married with kids could act as motivation for the male to work harder and secure a better job to provide for his family. A wife may act the same way.

While the statistics lead one to believe that marriage may lead to a higher premium, speculation of divorce, along with alimony, is certainly not encouraging. Also, marriages may be a direct result of a man's income. There is a higher correlation of marriages for men with higher incomes than those who merely "get by." The 44% premium with marriages may be an after-effect to an up-and-coming mate's promotion or line of work.

These points are all speculation, however.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Financing a Higher Education in a Struggling Economy

Prospective and current college students face the dilemma of how to pay for their education because of the decline in the economy. Many college students in fact believe the US economy is doing poorly or is “on the wrong track.” A major concern of many of these students is finding a job after they graduate. These students as well as future students want to see the job situation in the US improve so that they can feel secure. Without such improvement, students will have to accept low paying jobs with no benefits. In addition to their own financial burdens, these students can no longer turn to their parents as much as they use to because their parents are struggling to find work too. However, this does not necessarily mean that students want the government to give them more money, but rather have a deficit reduction in order to help the economy. Some students on the other hand, feel that by the time they graduate there will be available jobs, but they still believe the economy will continue to face big issues even after some are resolved. Basically even though students feel they have future job security they still feel their economy will continue to struggle. Thus, many college students feel the extra money they put into their education will pay off in the long run. As a future college student I am facing this same dilemma as I choose which college to attend considering the economic struggles. Would it be more advantageous to attend a college that cost more but offers a better education than a more affordable school?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Command System

When reading on economic commands systems I realized how detrimental they could be to an economy. I first believed that if the government ran the entire operation, that our country would be stable, with a constant exploitation of rescources. After reading more into the system, I realized that the government would have all power and the people would basically be under control having no working freedom. Each individual would be working for a designated amount that was issued to them by the government. This would become controversial now because each individual person would not have any incentive to finish their own work. Each persons success would depend on others to fullfill their duties as well. This made me realize that the Command system and the Market system are actually polar opposites. The Command system has an absence of private property while there is private property in a market system. I realized that it would take a very strategically planned and developed Command system for the nation to actually succeed and flourish. This made myself question why any nation would convert to this type of economic society when your sole purpose in work is to please the political figure.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Colombia's Production Possibilities

Colombia produces 10% of the worlds coffee, making it the 2nd largest coffee producer in the world (beneath Brazil). If you try to imagine how much coffee is consumed by the average person everyday, you will realize how important coffee production really is to the Colombian economy. Keeping this in mind, Colombia also produces 90% of the worlds cocaine. The Colombian coffee industry is at risk because the opportunity costs of production are increasing. Rising temperatures, unpredictable rainfall and the intensive labor that goes along with producing coffee is making it more and more undesirable to farmers. As a result, farmers have begun to abandon coffee and take on the coca plant, which produces cocaine. The popularity of cocaine production is increasing because of the multi-billion dollar cocaine trade between South America up towards Mexico into the United States. Poverty stricken families have either added coca plants to their coffee farms, or switched over to coca all together. As the popularity of cocaine production in Colombia has increased within the years, the US has given money and supplies to destroy coca crops and aid the government in reducing production. The UN has also invested in coffee to reduce the drug trade. Though these factors might stunt the amount produced, coca will continue to be farmed in Columbia because of money that is entailed. Though coffee is and will continue to be the more popular crop, production continues to be shared with the coca plant. This is sad to see knowing that the out-of-control drug trade is inevitable and there will always be a demand for cocaine. Maybe if other countries continue to help, technology can aid in making coffee farming more efficient to increase production. So pick your stimulant- cocaine or coffee?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Olympic Fraud

It has been discovered that the security director of the 2016 Olympics is being charged with over billing the Brazilian government by 80% four years ago for the Pan American Games. The same man, Luiz Correa, was placed in charge of heading the Olympic security for the 2016 games until the government did its mandatory check over its past finances and discovered the true market prices totaled to $11 million instead of the requested $20 million for the Pan American Games.Correa has not been tried but remains the director of security for the Olympics as was the decision by an Olympic official. The evidence has been collected and given to a federal judge who will determine if the case will go to court. If found guilty Correa will have to pay back the government the amount over billed, a total of $9 million.

This issue can be an example to the world that in an economic downfall that we are currently in we must watch finances carefully. With people being in a desperate state for money even the government must stay on their toes. People are in need for money and are willing to go to endless means to get the money they believe they need. With millions of dollars having been over looked, who knows how much money has been taken without having been discovered. We must all be especially careful with our finances as of late years and as proven by this new discovery in Brazil.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Mitt Romney, the GOP candidate that has essentially locked himself as the front-runner for the Republican party has many potential voters and international markets cocking their heads in anticipation of the alleged flip-flopper seizing the presidency.

He is remarkably non-charismatic for a Republican candidate, yet manages to run one of the most impressive campaigns in recent elections. An Economist article claims Romney is not as much of a buzzer-beater candidate as his party believes. One of its primary arguments is that Romney possesses true business experience, something lacking not only in President Obama, but in the remaining GOP primary candidates as well. This is virtually meaningless. The United States does not need a CEO at the moment: it needs a unifying leader. Unity can lead to legislative progress, and eventually, accomplishment... of anything really. Nevertheless, why are the Republicans continually searching for a replacement for Romney when he presents himself as the professional, the businessman, the job-maker, the no-scandal straight-edge? Could it be because he would claim that the sky was green and the grass was blue if it would help him win an election? His speech is arguably lacking in comparison to President Obama, and his own party has witnessed Romney's lack of "core" beliefs. Strangely, some are in favor of the non-ideological candidate, and voters remain hopeful that his changing stance of an array of issues shows an intelligent man whose ideas and dogmas change and adapt to new policies and social evolution. You can decide if this is true.

While the majority of the party outside his opposition brings his "flip-flop" history to light (X Republican will always be more welcome in the GOP than A Democrat), they should really appreciate his business aptitude more. It could hold the key to a potential win. Still the 2012 election is one of social issues, not economic policy.

With Bain, Romney accomplished a great deal for the company. He generated profits for their shareholders, allegedly created 100,000 jobs, and cut spending. What the American people need to understand is that the Presidency is not a company. In a company, one business succeeds, and the other struggles. One wins, the other loses. A country cannot run in similar fashion. While this may satisfy the "win, win, win" mentality that the GOP seems to idolize and epitomize within the legislative branch, it has no place in a position of leadership that should primarily be supporting compromise and unity.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Effects of Recession on Dentistry

Aspiring to be a dentist, it is important for me to be aware of the effects that our economy has had on the dental industry. The recent recession our country is going through has made a pretty big impact on many dental clinics. Due to these economic changes the business of dentistry has slowed down quite a bit. As our economy slowed down dentists were pushed into running business more professionally. Those dentists who have changed their practices to manage business efficiently have flourished with the economic changes. Others have let the negative effects of recession take a toll on their business. Because fewer new patients are available to the dentists and their current patients leaving the dentists are losing business. Practices losing patients however, are losing them because they are inaccessible to many people. Dentistry can only prolong if the clinics use better marketing strategies to attract new patients and persuade old patients to return. In addition to the lack of patients, many patients are also rejecting treatments, therefore, dentists are losing profit from the few patients they do have. Thus, dentists are losing revenue and are unable to purchase better equipment. People on the other hand always want to improve their smiles. If dentists could convince their patients to accept more treatments they could easily increase their production rates. Unfortunately, dentistry is also declining in production due to the lower reimbursement plans offered by insurance carriers. In order for a dentist to recover from this in our economy they would have to increase noninsurance costumers. Although marketing is necessary for dentists to continue their practices, internal marketing is the best solution. Many dentists are spending way too much of their profits on advertising which is actually damaging their business instead of helping it. Another effect of the recession in our country on dentists is the increasing amount of debt they hold after graduating dental school. This has led to a rising number of regional and national owned dental companies. In this situation more dentists are employees of a practice rather than owning their own. The benefits of company owned practices lie in their ability to be more flexible with their patients. They tend to accept all types of insurance and extend their hours of operation for the patients. This convenience has led to an increase in the number of patients that choose companies over private practices because they do not have to give up as much of their valuable time and money. Private practices will have to offer the best level of customer service in order to compete with these dental companies. The loss in numbers of patients for dentists has occurred primarily because during this time of recession people do not have the extra money saved for a trip to the dentist. In order for dentists to keep their businesses running they have to offer flexible financial plans for their patients. With this loss of profit many dentists will retire much later in life creating other issues within our nation.

Monday, January 16, 2012

College vs. Jobs after graduating high school

In a recent article by Leah Konen, she states how a majority of college graduates are unsuccessful in finding a job after receiving their degree. I find it interesting because it made me contemplate whether or not going to college immediately after finishing high school was going to benefit me later on in life. Obviously this has no affect on my choice of attending college, but for many people, how would going to college after high school benefit them in any way? When they see that the average college graduate is $25,000 in debt and cannot obtain a job to begin their life and begin making money, why would people believe that was the most advantageous choice they could make? But if this were the case then it would be unfortunate for the ones seeking jobs at that time because the high school students whom are now looking for jobs instead of pursuing a degree will be taking up job opportunities for others. This would make our economy have an even stronger need for jobs. Thinking about this was very interesting to me because its a very possible occurrence. I know that there are many people out there who actually pursue this idea and in the long run I do not believe it benefits them. Therefore, in my opinion, it is in a persons best interest to attend college immediately after high school and allow their self to have a plethora of options when deciding their career. Not only will this allow them better career opportunities but it will also allow others to find jobs, while the high school student attend college.