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.