Friday, March 9, 2012

Look after unemployment and the budget will look after itself."

This article discusses the financial crisis in Europe. The situation is not improving, and is in danger of getting worse. Greece is a prime example of this. The entire problem stems form one thing. And that is jobs. With high unemployment, nobody is making money, and the economy as a whole continuew to spiral out of control. John Maynard Keynes said that "Look after unemployment and the budget will look after itself.". If unemployment is down, the economy can start to recover on it's own, since people will be able to put their lives back together. And most importantly, start to spend more money. It all starts with the people. Reducing unemployment is the first step to improving the economy.

Apple to hire the unemployed?

This article is about the far-reaching influence of Apple, job-wise. The company only directly hires around 47000 people, but jobs still go further than that. People have to design the iPads and iPhones, design apps, deliver the technology to where it needs to go, perhaps even build the trucks for the company. Including all the jobs that people have done for the company, Apple reported that the company had created 514000 jobs. It is difficult to see how accurate this number is, as there are so many factors that come into play. Accurate or not, even if the company really only created 200000 jobs, that is still a lot. A company like Apple has a big influence, as they have so many things that need to be done, going from designing to delivery.

The current employment rate seems to be declining, and the economy seems to be getting better. I remember that back in the Great Depression, how people out of work would rely on public service to get some sort of income. Even though we are not in bad times now, people are still out of work, and those people suffer just as much as all those people did back in the Great Depression. Other than Apple's 47000 hired jobs and perhaps a few more, the rest are all jobs that anyone could take on. Perhaps people out of work do not need to be totally jobless, and can take on little jobs here and there for a company like Apple, and get at least a little income for themselves.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Real Estate Market Making a Recovery?

In this article, it talks about how much it costs to buy houses for the same amount of money in different cities. The market for real estate has been increasing showing that we should be in recovery, but prices are still down for what the houses should sell for. In Atlanta, Dallas, and Anthem, Arizona, inventory has increased and the demand for houses have increased, which is good for the economy. Right now would be the perfect time to buy a house because prices are still low, but show that they will increase a little as time goes on. All of the houses and apartments shown in this article are being sold around 200,000 dollars, but depending on where you want to live is how big of a home or house you are going to get. Right now in Detroit you can get a house that has seven bedrooms and six bathrooms for only 200,000 dollars. Detroit and Seattle have the best deals for home buyers right now. Location also matters when thinking about buying a home right now. The closer you get towards the bigger cities like Washington D.C. and New York, the more it costs for smaller houses. These houses are also getting closer to their true values compared to other cities. Hopefully people looking to buy homes right now will increase causing more money to go back into the economy, which will cause more recovery from the recession.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hospitality Makes a Comeback

This article explains how industries are bouncing back after the recession. In 2008, the bleak reality of a financial crisis set in. With thousands of people losing their jobs or defaulting on their house payments, the economy was in the tank. However, four years after the start of a terrible recession, the economy is showing signs of healthy activity, especially in the hospitality industry.
When people saw all of the voided checks, foreclosures, and lack of retirement benefits in 2008, people became scared and with good reason. People were slowly losing their jobs because the economy could no longer support the job market. With a lack of money, many people found themselves living modestly. The hospitality industry hit rock bottom. People just weren't spending their income in hotels, on vacations, or in restaurants because, frankly, they no longer had the disposable income that they had previously. This just further increased the trouble America was in. Not only was there less money in the bank and in people's pockets, but there was significantly less money circulating in the economy. This creates a terribly debilitating condition that fosters high unemployment.
The real question here is why is the hospitality industry making a rebound? Four years later, with more money in the average American's pocket, people are starting to spend again. Americans have lost their fear of losing money in the stock market and less people are worried about losing their job. Unfortunately, a lot of this is psychological. People feel that it is safe to spend money again. However, unemployment still hovers around a lofty 10 percent.
My solution is to circulate more money by reducing taxes and putting more money in people's pockets. I honestly think that the economy will benefit more if people are not reprimanded for making more money with higher progressive taxes. On the other hand, we have trillions of dollars in debt to worry about. I still advocate a laissez faire economy. The hospitality industry is a benchmark industry that directly relates to how consumers are doing. If the economy is doing well, the money in the hospitality industry goes up, while it will decrease if the economy fails. I see a brighter future in the coming years, as predetermined by the recent rebound of the hospitality industry.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Benefits Outweigh the Sacrifice

This article explains the boomtown effects of specific jobs in certain parts of the country. The town of Williston, North Dakota has experienced significant increase in population due to the oil industry, and this is sure to boost it's economy. These wireline operators sacrifice time from their families and perhaps dangers of the operation for a hefty paycheck of up to $300,000 or even more. Whether the price is worth it or not, this job must be done with the growing industries of the world. The unique aspect of this operation is that college experience is not even needed to operate the wireline. However, common sense and skill are crucial. This can be rough work, and the pay shows that the benefits are worth the sacrifices. A reason this article is so important is that is relates to so many other aspects of our nation's recovering economy. Each region of our nation has it own resource to offer and once it is determined, it may be able to thrive again and contribute significantly to the road to recovery.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Is Eating Lunch like Economics?

This article is about a book, “Mindless Eating”, by Brian Wansink. Wansink does various food-related experiments, deducing many different conclusions and uncovering reasons for why mindless eating tends to occur. One experiment was giving moviegoers stale popcorn. The main factor that affected the amount eaten, however, wasn’t the fact that the popcorn was stale, but rather the amount of popcorn that was presented. Those offered much bigger buckets ate as much as 53% more popcorn than those given smaller portions. Rather than focus on how hungry we are, we let factors like how much food is in front of us determine how much we eat.

One way to limit how much we eat is to immediately limit the amount of food that is put in front of us. For example, if one is eating out and ordered a huge meal, immediately getting a take-out box and putting half the portion in will dramatically decrease how much you would eat that night. The article gives a parallel example of Bush’s pension law, giving companies incentive to automatically sign up for 401K plans, meaning that a little of their salary would be set aside for retirement. Those that didn’t opt out ended up saving a lot more. So, whether a decision is dealing with one’s retirement or what they will eat for lunch that day, the presentation of the decision makes a really big difference on what is eventually chosen.
A new field of economics, behavioral economics, explains why people act the way they do, and end up not doing what they really want to. Getting things done is about doing them, not merely thinking about doing them, and if the void between thinking about doing things and actually doing them can be filled, many people would have breakthroughs in decision-making in different areas of their life.
On the flip side, one can use presentation to their benefit. I personally believe that people should look at the true value of something, how it can really be beneficial, instead of only basing their judgements on what they see with their eyes. However, when selling a product, or promoting something, although it won’t completely sell it for someone, what people see makes a big difference in their decision. Good appearance and publicity can reap many economic benefits.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Teenage Employment

According to this graph, employment among teenagers, ages 16 to 17, has decreased dramatically over time. Employment among teens is less than half of what it was up until the late 1990s/early 2000s. There are a few different causes. I think the primary reason for the decline is the increase in technology. Now, many jobs that could have been done by a teenager back in the 1950-1980s can be automated, or done in a more efficient way, by fewer employees. Technology always means a decrease in unskilled labor. Another big reason is how immigration has changed. Illegal immigration has dramatically increased over the years, so they often take up many unskilled labor positions that teenagers have traditionally had. They will work for less, and probably do a better job. Honestly, most teenagers suck at their jobs. Also, with minimum wage being so high compared to what it was decades ago, employers are more likely to hire older, more experienced (or at least more mature) employees.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Need For More People

In this article, they are saying that if we add more people into the United States that it will help boost the economy above other countries like China. If the United States wants to retain economic power, Charles Kenny said that we must make or import more people into the United States. If we import these people, not only do we gain people, but other countries lose these people making our gain even better. Importing people not only helps our economy, but it saves money because we won't have to raise a child. Children cost a lot of money, so the less the children, the more money we will have in the economy. Kenny believes that we need to quicken our per capita gross domestic product over China's if we want to have any economic power. When first reading this article, I was confused because I thought that the more people, the less jobs there are. Which I thought would weaken our economy even more than it is now. The more people there are in the country, would mean that there is more money circulating in the economy. This would definitely help ourselves get out of the recession and into recovery.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Is Education for Everyone?

This article elaborates on the veiled jabs between GOP candidate Rick Santorum and President Barack Obama. Basically, Santorum implied that advocating college education for everyone is rather ridiculous. I completely agree. Everyone in the US does not have the resources or the money to go to college. That is just a fact. President Obama, an advocate of Keynesian Economics, believes that in order for the economy to prosper, one must spend more money than is available to jumpstart the economy. President Obama has shown a vested interest in this theory to pick America up out of the recession, but thus far has not delivered in the least. But where does education come in?
If you think about the current job market, it is a really scary place. The market is highly competitive for a variety of reasons. People have to get higher education (aka College) to have a shot at getting a decent job. However, there are two major flaws to Obama's educational aspirations. Where does all of this money come from and why would a burger flipper at McDonald's need an expensive college education?
In my humble opinion, college has, and will continue to be a place for people that are aspiring to do great things. As the job market insists on having the best workers, college can continue to increase their premiums because it has become a necessity instead of a luxury. If colleges increase their tuitions, then how is the average Joe going to afford it? The only way college students from low income backgrounds can afford college is through governmental assistance programs, which are a luxury of living in a capitalistic society. However, government assistance can only go so far before it becomes overbearing and ridiculous. Where does that 'line in the sand' lie? Who knows? One thing is for sure; if Obama believes education will solve all problems, he will have a long list of donations from the federal government to make, a list that will never cease to expand the current debt of the US economy.

Monday, February 27, 2012

"The Dis-United States of Gas Prices"

This article describes the disunity of fluctuation of gas prices in our nation. Many have heard that the national gas price average will reach five dollars by the end of the year or even by summer. This article explains the possible confusion of why some cities have gas prices much lower than the national average of $3.65. Transportation, machinery, and money all play a huge part in the oil drilling process. Our country is obviously not in ideal financial condition which makes it difficult for transportation to occur. This is the main reason for gas prices in the central U.S. being cheaper. The crude oil simply cannot be efficiently transported to where it needs to go. Will this issue cause population demographics to change, and/or migration?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Breaking the 1 Percent

This article describes how the working class in Sweden and Norway was able to take the power from the 1%, the extremely wealthy, and change the country in favor of the 99%. Both countries had extremely bad poverty prior to the 1930s, when the power changed in those countries. People had to leave the country to avoid starving to death. The people used non-violent means to remove the "1 percenters" from power. The working class created a strong economy which "eliminated poverty, expanded free university education, abolished slums, provided excellent health care available to all as a matter of right and created a system of full employment.". The standard of living is very good there. Production is primarily publicly owned, taxation is very progressive, and increased government regulation of the private sector. In 2008, Sweden and Norway were perfectly fine, while the US began to struggle with a recession.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Government Intervention for the Nation and the Individual

This article talks about the annoyances of going to a necessary government office - the DMV. People may think that the government may be unnecessary because the free market renders it so, but most probably because of the inconvenient experiences one has to deal with. The United States is a mixed economy system. Government intervention is included for a reason. The government helps regulate helps the weak that can not produce, and has some other benefits. However, can’t these government interventions be made pleasant for people? Rather than merely doing something that has to be done, workers at a DMV should be more welcoming to people. The government needs to interfere, that is understood. But shouldn’t these interferences be made the most beneficial for people? Government intervention helps the country as a whole, but can help people individually on a daily basis, as well.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Why Are We Stealing Jobs?

In this article, they are talking about how a department store moved from Iowa City to the one next to it, Coralville. Moving this department store doesn't change much for the good. The location might change, but not many new jobs are created. Mostly jobs are just switched from one person to the next because of the change in location. Also more money is being spent on moving the department store, then the department store seemed to be making at that point in time. The Sycamore Mall is losing one of the department stores that makes money in their area. This devastates not only the mall, but the people working at the mall. Von Maur was bringing in some type of business into the mall, but now that is taken away causing less people to shop there, which causes more people to lose their jobs. Cities stealing from one another does not help the economy right now. We need to be creating new jobs, not stealing old jobs from other people who live in our area. This competition between cities to see who gets what store just causes more money to be spent and no one getting any new jobs. Also the stores won't make as much money as they are hoping for because they have to shut down business, so they can move the store front. It is predicted that not all of the money lost will be recovered from moving the department store.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Retirees are Scarce

This Article explains the cruciality of expanding jobs in America because elderly people are, to put it simply, not retiring in the usual amounts. Due to the stock market crash in 2008, many Americans are still living in fear. This fear is manifested in many different avenues. One of these avenues is in the retirement community. People that are now hitting the 65 range are normally labeled as retirees because they typically retire in their golden years. This is no longer the case. Elderly people are actually going out of their way to keep their jobs in fear for what another stock market crash would do to their wallets. Why is this important? Well, if there are limited job numbers in an expanding population and the older people are not giving up their jobs for younger people to take over, there is a slight problem. In this recession, where President Barack Obama has attempted to create more jobs for the lower class Americans, the job market is becoming more and more competitive. Now, you can barely get a job as a file clerk without having a bachelor’s degree. Even more pressing is the idea that working class Americans are finding it harder and harder to find a job. When the unemployment rate is steadily increasing, despite government funding, we are in a tough situation.

Another interesting factor is the fact that the housing market has declined in the past years. We are currently on the cusp of a rise in real estate, but not yet. Many retirees, who planned to sell their house for a profit, now have to sit on the piece of property to wait for the home to turn profitable again. This puts the housing market in a bad place as well. Without considering the consequences, I thought retiring was just a typical practice. Now, it has become more of a luxury. In harsh economic times, it is easy to overlook the elderly people because of technological innovation and new sciences; however, we need to put our brains together to find out how to solve the retirement issue. Is it a problem for the federal government to address, or is it more a change in attitude? Only time and more paychecks will tell.

Monday, February 20, 2012

How Much is Your Safety Worth?

This article is about a little, 9 year old girl that was punished for lying about eating candy bars, and as a result, passed away. Her grandmother and stepmother forced her to run for three hours straight without water. If these sorts of crimes are happening everyday, perhaps not all as cruel, how do they affect the economy? Police officers, judges, courts, and prisons are all necessary for these crimes to be punished properly. Also, all of the elements listed cost a great deal of money. For each and every crime to punished to the most reasonable extent, the country would probably go deeper into debt. This article is about prisons that hold too many prisoners and as a result must release criminals because there is not enough funds to hold that many. If our safety is so costly, who determines the least harmful criminals? Our nation's companies and businesses have been laying people off for more than 4 years now. As of current, we are in "recovery", if our economy "double-dips", is there a possibility of law enforcers being laid off? If that occurs, our safety will only lessen.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Benefits of Living Under a Highway?

Places like New York have the highest living costs. One reason, of course, is scarcity. The demand for living space in this area is so high because of the nice views and other benefits there are. How to increase the amount of living space in the city? This article talks about combining bridges, or highways, and incorporating other aspects to them so that they can be used for more than one thing. This also relates to maximum efficiency in a way, because something is being used to the best of its ability. Why just use a bridge or highway to merely go from one place to another? What if, in New York, more apartments were built underneath bridges? Architects nowadays can design masterful plans to make this idea feasible. Those that lived in them would still get a great view and those types of benefits. Adding these would increase the amount of living space, helping the fact that good places are scarce. It also uses the bridge or highway to its full potential, as a bridge or highway can do more than just get people from place to place. It does not only have to stop at adding apartments, things like shops and restaurants can be added as well. A mere highway could suddenly turn into a large metropolis area and reap other economic benefits as well.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


This "Calvin and Hobbes" comic takes shots at a few different groups who are often blamed for the economic problems in this country. It satirizes government subsidies, Unions, and CEOs. First Calvin mocks the ridiculously high salaries and bonuses that CEOs and company presidents often give themselves. Also, Calvin , playing the CEO of his business, is against government health and safety regulations that would cost him money. "Caveat Empor" means "let the buyer beware" in latin, an effort to save money. But when his company starts to go under because of his incompetence in running a business, he runs off and begs for a government subsidy, represented here by his mother. Who you assume will subsidize Calvin's Lemonade Stand. He then plays the role of employee, since he is both the sole employee, investor, and CEO of his lemonade stand. Calvin pokes fun at the unions who demand high wages, and benefits. These all combine to hurt the consumer, when prices go through the roof, such as if lemonade was $15 a glass. Obviously it is all exaggerated, but it shows how these different groups of people, when acting irresponsibly, can hurt both the consumer and the economy as a whole.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Day: Good or Bad?

Have you ever just stopped and thought about how much money is spent on holidays? Days like Valentine's Day, where it seems like tradition to buy your loved one candy or flowers. Valentine's Day is one of the most expensive days of the year, especially this year as said in this article. Valentine's Day is the day where you show your loved one how much they really mean to you by buying them cheap candy and flowers. This holiday should be more than just buying gifts. In this article, it shows how much money is spent on candy, balloons, and flowers. The only good thing about Valentine's Day is that more people become employed towards this time of year because of the demand for flowers and candy. This Valentine's Day has been the most expensive Valentine's Day is the past decade. This is good for the income of these businesses like the florists who deliver flowers and the restaurants that house the dates. Valentine's Day can seem like it's a pointless holiday because all people do is buy candy and flowers, but really this is helping the economy not only buy bringing in money, but also causing employment to rise.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Housing Market: Reduced Sizes, More Expectations

This Article explains how housing markets are changing to suit the demand of homeowners in modern times. The sizes of houses are reducing, but so are their price tags. People expect more for their money, but let’s establish what more means. More does not mean more space, but rather it means people are expecting more amenities, such as energy efficiency, and ecologically friendliness. As the years go by, people are willing to pay a premium for their house if it houses all of the necessary energy efficient technologies.

After the stock market crash in 2008, home buying has decreased significantly. People stopped buying and started renovating. However, over the past year, homeowners are becoming a little less cautious and are starting to invest in the housing market again, but at what cost? People have started a trend to buy smaller, cheaper houses that are more energy efficient. Average housing sizes have decreased, but the amenities have increased. People are expecting new homes with great insulation, energy efficient appliances, and new windows. While everyone's next though would be solar panels, the technology is still too expensive for consumers to demand and the companies to supply. Basically, builders are supplying the needs of their homebuyers by giving amenities without a significant price increase. How will this affect the expectations of homeowners?

In my opinion, smaller, efficient housing is most likely the best thing for our planet. Older homes are hurting the environment more than they are helping and homeowners are starting to realize this. The housing market is rebounding quickly. Who knows what's next? The main concern with the new housing market is the higher expectations for a cheaper price. Builders are losing their profit margins with more cautious buyers. Hopefully, the building industry will continue their environmentally friendly trend into the future, but at what cost?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Will you be my Valentine?

This article discusses the increase in flower sales on Valentine's Day, which is obvious. The article goes on to discuss the convenience that has developed with online sales. While economic stability is fairly poor at this time, it is comforting that each holiday brings with it some kind of profit for retailers. For example, the Superbowl brings beer and snack food sales, Halloween brings candy sales, and Christmas is obvious. While American's do not have a favorable economy right now, they haven't quite learned not to indulge when the moments strike. People may be tight on money, but a holiday is a holiday. Besides people spending money themselves on holidays, countless organizations work to help people during holidays to still have more than needs. Whether you're buying goods for yourself or getting it from someone, the economy still experiences a slight boom. Retailers should use these holidays as an advantage to fuel their stability.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Popularity of the iPhone

Sprint hasn’t been doing so well. However, things are going to change, since Sprint has recently added the iPhone to the list of products they are going to sell. Demand for Sprint products hasn’t been very high, as they constantly report having had losses in profit. There’s a positive and negative to getting the iPhone. The negative is that getting the iPhone has its own costs. Each iPhone will cost roughly $200 more than other smart phones. Profits aren’t really expected to show up until 2014. The positive is that profit is expected. The constant reports of net losses will cease. Sprint will change their demand line by adding a very popular product to sell. By popularity. Adding the iPhone will initially have a decrease in profits, but in the long run, it will greatly benefit the company.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

App Economy

This article discusses the nearly 500,000 jobs created in the US alone from app development. But how profitable and stable are these jobs? An app has to make into the top 100 list in the online store before they start making any real money. That's a pretty slim chance when you look at the thousands and thousands of new apps every day, most of which nobody buys. Besides, how many different apps do you even use on a daily basis? Only a handful most likely. There is nowhere near 500,000 people needed to make the apps people actually use, most of those 500,000 people just put out shovelware crap, hoping to get lucky. It's like saying that playing the lottery is your job. In 5 years, I bet 90% of these jobs won't even exist any more. Apps will still be around then, but they won't be the fad they are today. They will just be another tool that people take for granted.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Are Super Bowl Commercials Worth the Money?

Every year during the Super Bowl, I would watch the commercials to see which one's were my favorites. This year just happened to be the Oikos yogurt commercial featuring John Stamos. In this article, they ranked the top 5 and the worst 5 commercial on this year's Super Bowl. This year, it cost about $3.5 million for 30 seconds of commercial time. This seems like a large amount of money for thirty seconds of air time, but to the companies, the money is worth it, if their commercial is memorable and makes people want to go and buy their product. This year though, there wasn't any truely memorable commercial like the classic Coke commercial with Mean Joe Green, so why did these companies spend so much money on a commercial that will flop? In this graph, it shows how much these commercials cost since 1967. The prices for the commercials are getting more expensive meaning that the companies need original ideas that will last a life time. To start this they need to figure out what product they are going to try to sell, who their targeted audience is, and how they are going to get the attention of this audience during the Super Bowl. This year's GoDaddy's commercials were focusing on exploiting sex to get the attention of males, which is a good idea, but not everyone who watches the Super Bowl will want to buy that product based on the commercial. Some companies go for the humor aspect like in the Doritoes commercials. Humor is more likely to affect a wider audience and they're product will most likely sell better than the GoDaddy's will. The decisions these companies make are based on what they feel is the best choice to get their product to sell and how to get the money back for buying the air time.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Alzheimer's Patients Face New Diagnosis

This Article explains the dichotomy of thought in the medical field over the classification of Alzheimer patients. New studies and medical studies have tried to change the majority of Alzheimer’s patients to be labeled as Mild Cognitive Impairment patients (MCI). While this seems to be a medical breakthrough, it really is just confusing the industry. The medical professionals behind this study are trying to further separate two diseases that are almost exactly alike. In my opinion, there really is no difference between mild Alzheimer’s and MCI, but some professionals say otherwise. "We are really now working on trying to identify exactly where people will fit in the continuum of Alzheimer's disease," Thies said. Thies is a medical professional advocating the split of disease between the two entities. He says that many patients diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease are misdiagnosed. However, a study shows that 99.8 percent of Alzheimer's patients that were labeled as mild carriers of this disease would be changed to MCI patients. They would no longer be classified as Alzheimer's patients. While this seems to be very easily changed, it isn't.

If this classification process was instituted, the cost in millions of jobs, millions of donation dollars, and medical dichotomy would fully change the economy. Alzheimer's currently affects almost 3 million people in the United States. A significant change in insurance policies and medical care for that many people would have drastic effects on the economy. People would buy into the fallacy that MCI and Alzheimer's are actually two separate diseases, whereas in reality, they are actually just different stages of memory loss. In my opinion, until more research is done, no change to Alzheimer's patients should be publicized because the American public is known for buying into lies and without realizing it, changing the way they live to substantiate these lies.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Necessary Changes?

This article is about Walmart, one of the nation's biggest multi-purpose retailers, changing the duties of it's greeters. Some people may shrug at the thought of the greeters having to move into the store and help customers. It is more than just their move into the store, it is their abilities. Most of the greeters are retired, aged people trying to bring in a little extra money or help pay something an expense. Perhaps they are retired from their former occupation that they could no longer do because of age, and now Walmart wants them to do strenuous tasks instead of happily greet customers? While in the article, Walmart says that they asking for physical effort from these elders, but only to help customers find items. Is taking this relaxing job away from our nation's senior citizen's worth the customer service? If they cannot do their new job properly, the nation risks many elders to lack income and possibly not have enough to get by with medical bills and other necessities.
Whether or not what Walmart is doing is right, there is still question on why so many retired-aged people are in the work force? If people of these ages are still having to work now to pay mortgages and put grandchildren through school, what will happen when the "Baby Boomers" get to the age of retirement? The time is quickly approaching, is it a Social Security issue that older people are still working? This article brings up more than only the controversy of Walmart's changes, but also older people taking up jobs and what may cause them to do so. There are many possible reasons for this, all of which come from the economy. Lack of means in Social Security which causes older people to find jobs, but also takes job opportunities away from working aged people.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Decrease in BMW demand caused by a head-scarf

Auto writer Merve Sena Kilic from Turkey unknowingly started an uproar in the head-scarf debate in her country. For an episode of a TV show, she was driving a Mini, wearing a cream and brown head-scarf. Later, a picture of her in the car appeared in a magazine, causing a stir. Soon after, a call was received from Mini and BMW, saying that the picture in the head-scarf was causing an image problem for the company. Much public debate ensued.
We can look at the economic impact of BMW through this incident. A sponsorship deal for the driver was said to end four months sooner days after the incident. Also, people got angry and said they would never buy a BMW or sell their Minis.
The popularity of BMW went down, due to this incident. Popularity is a big indicator of demand, and it is interesting to see that popularity could suddenly swing to much lower than it previously was due to one event that isn’t related to the product whatsoever. Sometimes the most unexpected things can hugely affect the demand of a product.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

1 Crisis Away From Poverty

According to this article, while here is a relatively small number of Americans who live under the poverty line, about %15. However, nearly half the country is just one bad crisis away. If someone has a medical issue, lose their job, etc, they would be under the poverty line. Many peoples' lives could be turned upside down very quickly. They would quickly go into debt, lose their home, and barely be able to scrape by. Many would resort to payday advance loans, which can be very bad. They have extremely high interest rates, and the people who get them often cannot afford to pay them back. People end up in a cycle of debt they cannot escape. A potential cause of this is a lack of financial education in US schools. Many people don't know how to spend responsibly, and live above their means.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Jobs During the Recession

The demand for jobs have been increasing because of the number of jobs lost during the recession. In this article, it shows 5 American cities that have been devastated by recession. These five cities have had barely any job recoveries if any. In cities like Flint, Minnesota, where their economy is primarily based on the automobile industry, the products are scarce, but the demand for the products are scarce. Not many people are looking to buy new cars right now because of the recession, which is hurting Flint, Minnesota because of this the number of jobs recovered are little and the poverty rate has increased. The increasing of the poverty rate put them at one of the worst rates in poverty in America. In Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, most of the jobs lost were government jobs in education because of the budget cuts. If we can't even recover the government jobs, how are we going to recover jobs in private businesses when they aren't given money by the government? People aren't buying as many products as they used to, so small businesses have had to close down and the people who worked there lost their jobs. The demand for jobs is high, but the amount of jobs are low, so we need to create more jobs like bring the factories to America like we said in class. This increase of jobs will help the economy even though the cost of the products produced might increase a little bit. The more jobs created, the better chance the economy will get out of the recession.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Starbucks Finds a New Market

Recently, this article explained that with an ever expanding global consumer, Starbucks is ready to take on India. There has been a drastic increase in the amount of coffee shops in India in recent years and Starbucks, noticing the trend, is happy to take on another market. Starbucks currently resides in 57 countries with 17,000 stores. Basically, Starbucks is taking over the world, one country at a time. The interesting concept here is that Starbucks is actually taking on an equal partnership with Tata Beverages. This company initally invested 80 million dollars to lure Starbucks into its grasp, giving incentive a global carnivore, like Starbucks, would not refuse. The real question is why would Starbucks be successful in India?
According to the article, "Tata Starbucks Ltd., as their venture is known, hopes to capitalize on the rising aspirations — and fattening wallets — of many Indians, who are eager to partake of the global latte life." This is rather interesting considering the Indian market has always consisted of tea drinkers. However, I posed the initial question "How can Indian consumers afford the ridiculous prices of Starbucks coffee? I soon found the answer to my question. Indian civilization does not give its population any place to socialize, regardless of age. Coffee Shops, renowned for their social atmosphere, provide the perfect setting for people to 'hang out'. India has changed from a poor, uncivilized country into a modern metropolis of civilized people. India is finally on the same page as the rest of Asia, a task many thought to never see.
What economic implications does this new introduction provide? Well, obviously Starbucks is going to profit even more because it will take the urban areas in India by storm, while also giving tourists a familiar place to 'call home.' In my opinion, Starbucks has once again used their powerhouse status to change another country. Economically, Starbucks is providing an outlet for the consumer, while also giving Indian poeple a chance to manifest their long-awaited civility. Starbucks epitomizes what capitalism can create, both positively and negatively. On the bright side, Starbucks will continue to rule the coffee market, monopolizing the industry. On the dark side, Starbucks is gaining too much power in too many different countries, essentially limiting any government action to limit their influence. Once a company goes global, it is expanding its own success at the expense of everyone else in the market. However, Starbucks continues to increase global demand, a feat most companies would kill for. Who can blame them? Starbucks seems to have all the cards and is playing them without hesitation.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Iphone Revolution

I searched for a video/article on this topic on purpose because I feel that Apple's Iphone has really begun a revolution. There are now very few people who do not use the Iphone or have some sort of Apply product, such as the ipod, ipad, etc. Apple is an excellent example of a company that would be the leader of a market system. As discussed, it is "survival of the fittest", Apple is certainly the "fittest" as of now. Since the debut of the first iPhone years ago, more and more people have been making the switch. People who had never cared for having a snazzy phone are looking into what the little machine can do to make their life easier. Apple has revolutionized communication and every other element of life through the functions and applications of their products. If this company keeps advancing, extremely likely that it will, what kind of economy can this develop into? Apple has so much control over the world's population. It seems that it could get to a dangerous point for individuality; the "in" thing has become a way of life. Apple has power. And Apple's power may go forth with excellence or corruption.
If Apple can do this, who's to say that this can't be done with all essentials of life.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Somalia's lack of government

Somalia is the only country in the world with no government. Only utter chaos exists within the country, as it is divided into a number of separate regions, whose leaders sometimes conflict over territory. Which economic system does Somalia follow? The rare fact that there is no government cancels out a majority of possibilities. Traditional, command, market, and mixed systems all have some form of leadership or government. However, a market system has no government interruption, Somalia is under no leadership, and so a pure market system is followed. A market system can be good because individuals can produce what they want to, however they want to, and for whoever. Disadvantages are that the weak aren’t protected, there aren’t enough public services for retirement, and one doesn’t know whether their product will be popular or not. However, in this situation, disadvantages are a little more extreme, as interests lead to guns and other weaponry. It is not really about producing what one wants and selling it for profit. The leader of each region is looking for power over other regions, and looking for money through stealing, even kidnapping, as piracy is rampant in the country. One can forget about the weak, as a large majority of Somalis are poverty-stricken. A market economy has no government interruption. Somalia’s pure free market system has no government interruption because there is no government in the first place. A market economy that has leadership in place will not end up in anarchy, because although there is no government interruption in the economy, there are still laws that prevent crime. Somalia lacks even this basic necessity, and is literally lawless. Pure market systems do have their pluses and minuses, but the pluses can only come to fruition if there is some kind of order established. Market economy is literally defined to doing whatever you want to, and that can be highly destructive without some kind of superior power in place. Previous Somali leadership was definitely not the best, but was still exponentially better than the current situation. Until Somalia gets some kind of government established, clans will continue fighting each other, kidnappings will continue to occur, and the country will carry on going in the same direction of helplessness that they have been stuck in for the last two decades.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Why the US Will Never, Ever Build the iPhone

This article discusses outsourcing, and why it might now be why you think. The iPhone, along with numerous other products that are popular in the United States, are made in other countries, often times China. Cheap foreign labor is often cited as the reason why those jobs are sent overseas, instead of staying the the United States. However, there are other reasons as well. Factories in China cost less to run, due to lower wages, have better supply chains, and can scale up much faster. Workers in Chinese factories often live on site, so they can go to work at a moments' notice. Also, there are thousands and thousands of potential workers, so it is much easier to "scale up" production than it would be in the US. When it comes to supply chains, Asian factories have much better access to materials and components, since many electronics suppliers are based out of Asia. So instead of shipping every processor and hard drive from a factory in Asia to the US, it is far cheaper, faster, and easier to get those same parts to another site in the same region. Another big reason why most technology is primarily produced in other countries is education. China graduates nearly 10 times the number of engineers of the US. Engineers are needed to oversee the manufacturing process, and there are just many more in Asia. It is a slippery slope, because as more large companies move overseas to be closer to customers, wjo are also overseas, even more companies will follow.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Economics in Castaway

Have you ever thought about how movies and television shows incorporate economics into the story plot? Well I found a blog post that talks about how economic aspects are incorporated into the movie Castaway starring Tom Hanks. Castaway is about a Fed Ex employee (Tom Hanks) who is stranded on a deserted island for four years. On this island he is forced to live without specialization, where the most valued jobs get paid the best. This is ironic because his job before landing on the island was delivering special packages around the globe so that people could specialize in their comparative advantage. Also Castaway showed how scarcity of resources effected his goal of survival. In the video found on the blog post, it shows how resources like seeds or communication tools mean more to the person stranded on an island than a person who has those resources around them every day. To a person like the women on the video, bottled water and matches are not as valuable than a thousand dollar necklace. To Tom Hanks in Castaway, water and matches are scarce resources and are probably the most valuable things that could be in their posession. Value is all based on the situtation that a person is in at the moment and the resources that are scarce at the moment.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Is the State of the Union Address a Bunch of Lies?

This article reflects on the rather unsuccessful year President Barack Obama has had in 2011. From the failed promises and the unfulfilled dreams, he has left many Americans speechless. He promised a lofty campaign full of restructuring Washington and tax changes, both of which he has failed to do. Barack Obama idealizes a very strong centralized government very similar to that of a command economic system. He tries to heighten taxes on the wealthy, and gives economic relief to the poor to level the playing field. The failures of a strong central government include a lack of incentive. This lack of incentive can be seen in a portion of Americans receiving our tax dollars in the form of welfare. Unless America starts to become the home of the free and not the home of the governed, the economy will never rebound. I am here to tell you that the Robin Hood adventure President Obama is living will never put forth any results and it is time for the American public to stop dreaming for 'change' and get set in reality.
The main detriment to President Obama's campaign is that he is fostering a public that is used to getting free handouts. He has contributed heavily to the misshapen belief that people are all equal. While this may be the case spiritually and morally, economically that is definitely not the case. This is America, the land where people come to achieve their dreams. People work hard and benefit from it. President Obama is destroying that notion by advocating the current welfare system. As it stands now, the welfare recipients actually make more money off of government assistance than they do with a part time job. This is not a way to generate a productive economy. If given the chance to have more money and not have to work at all, who wouldn't take that opportunity? I know I would. The real issue here is the political game that President Obama is playing. He is previously misled the public into believing he can achieve nearly impossible tasks overnight. He has failed to "eliminate subsidies to oil companies; replace No Child Left Behind with a better education law; make a tuition tax credit permanent, rewrite immigration laws and reform the tax system," all of which he promised to do last year in the State of the Union Address.
While this seems to be a condemnation of our president, it is not. I am sincerely pointing out the problems with the State of the Union address. The real problem lies in telling people what they want to hear. Presidents use the State of the Union to boost the morale of the people, which is understandable. But it goes without saying that feeding the American public with unachievable goals is ridiculous. If the State of the Union Address was more focused on presenting the 'State of the Union' and less about winning the next presidential election, I think the American public would respond more positively to the unexpected failures of the current economy.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Cherish Your Chocolate

This article is a great example of "tribal", traditional system, and stagnation. It creates a recognizable contrast between America's "normal" and foreign "normal" as highlighted by the journalist's shock. The children trafficked for the harvest of cocoa beans know nothing more than the life of slaves that they were basically born into. Since they do not know of any luxuries available to them, they only work to survive. Their work gains them nothing, no money, no rewards, and no future. They learn from an extremely young age, like Abdul in the article, how to harvest and work. It is almost as if they were born to work those fields.
Comparing this bare lifestyle with an average American lifestyle exemplifies how a nation's economic conditions and technological advancement can contribute to educating the younger population. In America, it is obvious that there is effort being out forth to educate the future innovators of the nation. On the contrary, in countries such as African ones that are still developing or underdeveloped, educating the younger population seems irrelevant compared to other steps that must be taken to advance. While it seems they neglect educating the young, it may in fact be key to begin advancement. It may be this waste of young minds that is hindering countries, like Côte d'Ivoire, from advancing not only socially, but also economically--which may also increase trade and the world's economy.

Friday, January 20, 2012

This article talks about the new education developments from Apple; iBooks 2, iBooks Author, and iTunes U. iBooks 2 is the new version of the electronic bookstore, where students can download textbooks. iBooks Author is a Mac program that can be used to create textbooks, and iTunes U can be used by teachers to create curriculums and share material with students.
Apple is transforming the classroom environment; textbooks on iBooks 2 from original publishing partners cost $15 less, cheaper than print books which can cost up to $100. Once the digital textbooks are bought, there is no longer any need for students to lug around heavy backpacks, as all that they need to succeed can all be held within their hands.
For many teenagers, electronics are wants, not needs. One doesn't need an iPad or an iPhone to continue down the path of education and eventually success, a need.
People need an education, it is necessary for advancement in peoples lives. Apple has managed to incorporate the full academic experience, a need, into their electronic devices, wants. Apples' technology helps students absorb and understand knowledge more easily, as all the information needed is in one place, and can be handled very differently electronically than on a physical book. Apple has used their product, a want, as a spark for advancement in education, a need.
On the flip side, Apple has used the need of education to increase the value of the want, their product. Ultimately, they want to sell their products. If the Apple products are the best for one's education, they will be bought, therefore using the need to further the want.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

SOPA/PIPA's Impact on the Economy

This article discusses some of the possible economic impacts impacts of the Stop Online Piracy Bill (SOPA), and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). Fortunantly, SOPA has been put on hold until next month in the House of Representatives, but the Senate version of the bill (PIPA) still has a chance of passing. Both are supposed to prevent piracy, and improve copyright enforcement. But they will also give copyright holding corporations and the government to effectively censor the internet, in the name of fighting piracy.

While piracy hurts media producing companies, both bills will seriously hurt the 46 billion dollar hosting industry, which is increasing by 20% per year, and creates about 15,000 jobs per year. PIPA would put all but the largest hosting companies out of business, due to the additional legal expenses, since hosting companies will be held responsible for any copyright infringement on any domains they host. The damage done to the hosting industry would cause thousands of jobs to be lost, and put companies out of business. It would also stifle technological innovation. Internet technology makes up 7% of the annual GDP of the United States. Any sort of limitation on the internet will be detrimental to both the U.S. and global economy.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The "What If?" Moment

Have you ever thought of the "What if's" in life? What if I had studied for my test instead of going to the movies? Would I have gotten a better grade? These "What if" moments are the opportunity cost of your choices. I have decided that I want to go into graphic design as my major and the major influence of this was taking the yearbook course at school. What if I hadn't taken yearbook? Would I still want to go into graphic design? This was my first thought when learning about opportunity cost.

In middle school, I had always taken choir and had decided that I was also going to take choir in high school, but one day I decided to look at my choices and I realized that I wanted to try out yearbook. At that point in time, choir was my opportunity cost. I had no clue if I was going to like yearbook and I was constantly wondering if I made the right decision, but that is the whole point of choices. Choosing which is the best option at the time is a big part in economics. When people are trying to decide what to produce, they are choosing to take one idea over another. What if their opportunity cost would have made them millions of dollars? This is the whole point of choices, you won't know if you made the right decision until you put your all into the choice you made to make it work.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Is Cloning Worth The Money?

This Article explains the expansive amount of money a woman paid to have her precious dog cloned. This article works on multiple levels. First, there are the implications of cloning. People have extremely strong opinions about the divide between science and religion. Many people argue that cloning is a scientific advancement, while others believe that it is actually the act of 'playing God.' Everyone has a sense of value based judgment that is relatable to their experiences in life. No one has the same experiences. While I am baffled at the idea of cloning a dog, not to mention the ridiculous price tag to do so, some people think it is worth 50,000 dollars as seen in the opinion of young woman, Danielle Tarantola.

Based on the scarcity of the event, Tarantola was able to cut the cost of the procedure in half by appearing on a TLC screening about cloning. By being able to cut the procedure costs in half, there was more incentive for Tarantola to push for results, affecting her value based judgment. In my opinion, cloning is not something that humans should try to control. I believe that God creates life. Therefore, he should be making the major decisions concerning life and death. Essentially, decisions in our lives play almost solely on value based judgment which encompasses the present circumstances, the scarcity of the event, and past experience. In my humble opinion, Tarantola has attachment issues that cloning will not rectify even with her cloned dog Double Trouble.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sleep Disorders in Police Officers

This article explains the growing number of sleep disorders seen in police officers and the consequences that have arisen. Since police officers are paid using taxpayer money, they are expected to be alert. Drowsiness behind the wheel leads to all the negative consequences described in the article which may as a result lead to increased issuance of traffic tickets and accidents which lead to payment of medical bills, auto repair, and ticket payment. People do not have these expenses calculated into their monthly expenses, and many do not have the means to efficiently take care of these expenses. Accidents and traffic tickets contribute to increase in auto insurance payments which many people already struggle to keep up with.
Besides the financial burdens this may cause, police officers must initiate a solution to this issue because this is their specialization. They are expected to keep the streets and cities as safe and peaceful as allows. With the technology and medicine available today, officers are sure to have some way out of this predicament. The officers should not necessarily take medicine to resolve their sleep disorders, but some regulation is absolutely necessary. The world’s society and economy is advancing every day, faster than many can handle or keep up with, as proven by this study. If the fast pace of advancing society is becoming so overwhelming that it is affecting our safety, something must be done. If this problem worsens or ceases to be resolved, society will pay the price—in safety and tax dollars.