Friday, December 23, 2011

If you like back-stories on history (or Literature), this is for you--Who was the REAL Scrooge and was he as bad as Dickens portrayed him? I did not know this before. VERY interesting!!

(HT: Conversable Economist)
 Revealed: the Scot who inspired Dickens' Scrooge

""HIS name became an aphorism for meanness, but the base nature of Ebenezer Scrooge was inadvertently fashioned by failing light and an author whose eyesight was equally dim.
The real "Scrooge", an Edinburgh merchant, could not have been more different from his literary counterpart.

But the gloaming of an evening in the Capital, allied with an episode of mild dyslexia suffered by Charles Dickens, has forever associated Ebenezer Lennox Scroggie with one of the Victorian author’s most famous characters.

In life, Scroggie was apparently a rambunctious, generous and licentious man who gave wild parties, impregnated the odd serving wench and once wonderfully interrupted the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland by grabbing the buttocks of a hapless countess.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Would YOU pay $5,300 for this TV to watch the Bowl Games coming up?

Me either. It WAS made in the USA, but not many could buy one.  We had a crappy, tiny black and white one...

Another way to look at it---the average wage in 1964 was $2.50 per hour (production and non-supervisory workers--Source HERE).  At that wage, it would take someone ($749.00, the price of the first TV in 1964, divided by $2.50) 299.9 hours, or 7 1/2 weeks, to earn enough to buy this TV. 

I was at Best Buy yesterday (example below) and saw a rather large 50' screen HD/Plasma TV for $500. At this price a worker in 2011 earning an average wage of $19.54 would have to work 25.5 hours to purchase a very nice TV that has features the richest person in the world in 1964 could not fathom or even imagine. 

Interesting situation: One TV made in the USA and few people could buy one. One TV not made in the US and a large majority of the US population can afford one or HAS one (I don't, though).  How does THAT happen? Rhetorical question...I know the answer and so do you...
Source: Carpe Diem

China just surpassed the US in terms of manufacturing output. This MUST have been at our expense, right?? See this graph and you tell me, please...

China just surpassed the US in terms of the dollar value of manufacturing output/finished goods, i.e. "stuff").  China is the BLUE line and the US is the RED line.  The US trend line has been remarkably consistent over time.  Post-recession, we are recovering and it looks like we are going to be back on that long term rend. (For my math friends out there, if you were to draw a US trend line, would it be relatively constant over time, or has it fallen since 2000--I am just eye-balling it. Not very scientific. :) )  Graph  from CARPE DIEM
Source: Carpe Diem
My question when I look at this graph: If China had not industrialized as it has, would OUR manufacturing output (I am NOT including manufacturing employment in this discussion)  have increased MORE than what our historical trend in manufacturing shows we could do, OR would it be LESS? If so, how and why?

Excellent Interactive for adults and kids alike! See how the prices of the items in the classic song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" have changed over time. Christmas and Economics---Does it get any better? I think not...

A very nice interactive HERE showing the change in prices over time of the items in the classic Christmas song "The Twelve Days of Christmas".  An entertaining holiday distraction for you and/or your kids AND you/they get to learn a little economics as well....Win!! :)

PNC---Christmas Price Index

Here is a video sample:

I bet "10 Lords a Leapin'" are relatively inexpensive to hire now-a-days...An example of "Flexible Prices and Wages", no doubt. :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

ATTN TEACHERS: This one is for you! Here is a list of "High Paying Jobs that GREW in number during the recession"...I am just the messenger...

7th one down....the graph below this one shows the change in teaching jobs since 2006.  How can the number of administrators INCREASE and the number of teachers DECREASE? Who are those Administrators administratin' to???

Source: EconomicModeling via Carpe Diem

I am living in the Chicago area now...I need survival tips...And a job!

Due to a job promotion and transfer (from Dallas/Ft Worth area) for my wife (@Verizonwireless), I am living in the Chicago area (Deer Park) now.  This is quite an adjustment.  I grew up in Northern New England so I know cold, but as a young person. I have resided in Texas since getting out of the Marine Corps in 1984-85.  I may need some cold weather survival tips from some of you Northerners or other cold weather countries (who I know visit this blog).

I will continue to post things of general/specific interest to me, my collegues (economic teachers and otherwise) and for the high school students (and former students in college as well)  I teach or have taught. My goal is just to keep some basic economic(s) knowledge alive and relevant in your lives. Nothing heavy duty or in-over-my-head analysis...

I hope to secure a job in the next school year teaching Advanced Placement Economics somewhere close to home here in the "Northwest Suburbs" Chicago , as it is known.  Through the grace of God, I have secured a long-term sub position for an AP Econ teacher going out on maternity leave in Feb/March, but I need to look long term.

It is the longest of long-shots, but if anyone knows of anything permanent for the next school year for an AP Econ teacher, I would appreciate the lead.

I will continue to post stuff to keep busy and to stay up on current economic news, events and analysis. I hope this blog helps you in some small (or big!) way... :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Attention Students: You are short-changing yourself if you don't look off-shore for career potential---this graph shows you all you need to know...

A stunning reversal of fortunes...Since the year 1999 the change in trade flows to "Emerging Economies, mainly Brazil, Russia, India, China has been dramatic.  This graph shows imports into Developed and Emerging Markets. One countries imports is another countries exports.  If you are pondering a career with growth potential, look outwardly.  Incomes around the world are rising and businesses/entrepreneurs with foresight will find a way to sell to these countries/customers. Are YOU on board?
Source: The Economist

From The Economist: ""In 2012, an important new milestone will be reached when emerging-markets import more goods and services than the rich economies combined. That is a dramatic change since 2000, when they imported barely half as much as rich countries did. Policymakers will hope that the rapid growth in developing countries’ buying power will boost the profits of companies in rich economies over the coming years.""

Nice Venn diagrams showing the hazards of the relationship between the Federally Regulated and the Federal Regulators who Regulate Them...I thought this was supposed to STOP???

Nice Venn diagrams showing the revolving door of regulator to regulated and vice versa.  You will see people from industry appointed to Federal agencies responsible for regulating the industry that person came from, AND you will find former elected officials who now lobby for the same companies they were responsible for regulating when they were in office.  Can you say "Conflict of Interest?" or at the minimun it creates moral hazards for the people involved.

A positive aspect of this arrangement is you have industry insiders who are familiar with the inner workings of the industries they regulate and can be more effective in setting/creating policies that can have the desired effect on the regulated.

A negative of this arrangement is the same as above, but the outcome toward the tail-end is the opposite--the industry gets protection by way of the politically appointed regulator who is/was "one of them".

Source: KPC

Another interesting Millennial Info-Graphic---How you consume your media (fancy way of saying music/video/movies/TV)---Music is King/Queen...

Source: Adweek

Here is an "Inconvenient Truth" about Kim Jong Il---One of the World's Greatest Environmentalists..

If you are scraping the bottom of the barrel to find something positive to say about  Kim Jong Il's legacy, then this might be it.  He could be the most "Green" Dictator in history.  I think one can win a Nobel Prize for that now-a-days...

One Great Thing About North Korea's Stagnant Economy

While it continues to be one of the poorest countries in the world, North Korea has at least one good thing going for it.

"Grim communist stereotypes soon give way to unspoiled natural beauty, one of the few upsides of having stagnant economic growth," said Allen.

"The sea here is so clean," said a Chinese tourist. "It's pollution free and it's so pristine. This is definitely something you can't easily see in China."

China is the anti-North Korea in that it has experienced rapid economic growth, which has led to massive pollution.""

Kind of reminds me of this cartoon:
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