Saturday, August 28, 2010

Want to know why printing money in not the answer to our problems? Inflate your knowledge with this link...

Students---An EXCELLENT, concise lesson on why the US has to be careful about printing money to get us out of the recession...Please take the time to read it---it answers alot of questions...
“Why can’t the government just print more money?” – NOT such a silly question!

China's now infamous traffic jam---and why more will happen!!

China's 11-Day Traffic Jam Was Insane... But Here's Why More Will Happen...
Graph shows the growth in the number of cars (BLUE line) relative to the road infrastructure to handle that growth (RED line)...The math does not work...

Reinforcement for me on the recycling lecture I gave in class this week---Nice quote... :)

How timely!!!...A great quote today in the Wall Street Journal in regards to an economist they profiled.  It is from his wife and is quite apropos to my spiel on recycling I gave in my AP classes this week.  It sums up what I think about the application of recycling, as opposed to the philosophy (two different things, in my opinion):
""He refuses to recycle," Mrs. Boettke says. "Something about how it actually uses more resources." He's not exactly a handyman either. "If his 'opportunity cost' is too great, he'll hire someone.""
The emphasis in the quote is mine....The "economic way of thinking" requires you to sometimes express an opinion that is contrary to conventional wisdom.  Don't forget the lesson from Bastiat---consider the unseen as well as the seen---be a GOOD economist... :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Another assertion of mine in class today: MOST conflicts/wars are caused by fights over resources or have an underlying economic cause---current example enclosed...

Today in class (in addition to the discussion on recycling), I also suggested that MOST conflicts/wars/revolutions in history are related to economics, specifically the fight to control a vital resource.  Today in the NY TIMES there is this article A Test of Wills Over a Patch of Desert: which relates a story from the MiddleEast on the fight over a relatively small plot of land:
""For years, the women — Naifa and Aali, the wives of the village elder, Sheik Sayah Abu Mudegem al-Tori — and about 300 other residents of Al Araqib, many of them children, lived in relative obscurity on these beige slopes, situated between the Bedouin town of Rahat and the southern Israeli city of Beersheba.
Then the bulldozers arrived at dawn on July 27, accompanied by more than 1,000 armed police officers carrying out a court order. They tore down about 40 unlicensed concrete-block homes, shacks and other structures and uprooted hundreds of trees.
Within hours, the villagers and volunteers put up flimsy tents and a few shacks, for shelter from the scorching sun and to stake the Bedouins’ claim to the land. In a test of wills, the Israelis have already been back to destroy the structures three more times.
The tug of war has suddenly turned Al Araqib into a symbol of a much larger land dispute between the Bedouins and the Israeli authorities that has been simmering since the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948.
“With God’s help, we will stay on our land,” said Sheik Sayah, wearing a tweed jacket over his cotton thobe, a white headdress and aviator sunglasses.
“Anyone who thinks of throwing us out will first have to throw the dead out of the cemetery,” he said, referring to the old Tori tribe graveyard next door to the encampment. The sheik was living in the cemetery because the courts had ordered him to stay away from Al Araqib for two weeks.

Had the recycling discussion in class today...Why do I even go there?? :)

In class today (3A) we had a rousing discussion on the merits of recycling. Specifically, I proposed that re-cycling paper may not  be advantageous and even harmful to the environment--is the intention to save trees (which are renewable) or is it to conserve all resources (it takes lots of other, non-renewable resources to recycle)...Regardless or your opinion, I found this comment this evening on the topic that offers additional food for thought:
""There is a simple test for determining whether something is a resource (something valuable) or just garbage (something you want to dispose of at the lowest possible cost, including costs to the environment). If someone will pay you for the item, it's a resource. Or, if you can use the item to make something else people want, and do it at lower price or higher quality than you could without that item, then the item is also a resource. But if you have to pay someone to take the item away, or if other things made with that item cost more or have lower quality, then the item is garbage. [...]
"Recycle, regardless of cost!" doesn't solve a problem; it creates one. Laws requiring recycling harm me, the environment, and everyone else. We have to take prices into account, because prices are telling us that we can't save resources by wasting resources.""
What do you think? Agree or disagree?

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Lie: US Manufacturing is in decline!! Why are we constantly told this? Let the truth set you free...

There has been alot in the news lately about the decline of American manufacturing, considered the backbone of our economy. In terms of jobs in manufacturing there has definitely been a decline in the numbers of people working in this sector. The first graph below shows this long term trend:

 Business Insider

Please note that this decline has occured in good times and bad (the bad are recessions marked by the gray bars).  This second graph below shows a more recent change in manufacturing output relative to jobs in manufacturing: 
Carpe Diem

What is going on?  Numerically we are absolutely producing more "stuff" (look at the BLUE line) BUT we are doing it with fewer workers (RED line).  How can that be? Are workers more efficient? Do they have access to,and employ more technology and labor saving devices/techniques than workers in the past?  The next graph seems to bear this out:
Cafe Hayek
Has there been a silent (silent or people not paying attention)  revolution in manufacturing, and technology has made many workers obsolete? It could be said, in terms of manufacturing jobs, the US is in decline, BUT in overall output of goods we are at historical highs, so US manufacturing is VERY healthy, right? Can't have it both ways.  You make the call...What do you think??
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