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TED Talks – Ideas Worth Spreading August 31, 2009

Posted by Avu in Section 1, The Economist Outside of Class.
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http://www.ted.com/talks/list

For my news site i chose TED Talks, which is a website that collects a number of speeches and lectures by prominent college professors, economists, and speechwriters, often related to decision making, scarcity, and opportunity cost related themes. While it is not quite as prominent as The Economist, Bloomberg, or any of the major news magnets, but it provides information which is both sophisticated and accessible, making it ideal for students of our age.

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What I learned from Oppurtunity Cost video August 27, 2009

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1. Your costs for anything are not just obviously monetary, they include your time, effort, and opportunity cost.

2. Your benefit or utility is the maximum cost you are willing to pay for something.

3. Your costs should ideally be equal to or less than your benefit.

4. The benefit cost varies from person to person, depending on their personal interests.

5. Your oppurtunity cost for something is determined by how much some one would have to pay you to not do that thing.

Japanese Nurses – Opinion August 26, 2009

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On the matter of whether importing cheap Filipino labor to Japan for the nursing sector is right or wrong, the answer is abstract at best. Japan is largely facing similar problems as the United States does at the menial labor level: cheap labor vying for jobs, demanding lower salaries for similar amounts of work. It remains my opinion that as privately run organizations, these nursing services have the right to hire whomever they choose, as these decisions will most closely reflect their goals. Because they should wish to maintain high standards as nursing providers, they would ideally only hire those with enough training to sufficiently do the job, whether this be a local or an import does not matter. As a basic principle, however, I believe that outside help should only be exported or imported if either the worker to be imported is not able to perform to their highest potential in their home country or if the country of destination desperately needs foreign aid in the department that these workers are specialized in. As many of these Filipino nurses cannot get proper jobs, with a high enough income, in their department, they adhere to the first loophole of this import/export of workers principle, and are therefore, in my personal opinion, in the right when moving to Japan to seek employment. A local cannot complain that a foreign individual would dare to work the same amount for less pay. This idea that because these people are foreign they have lesser right to work than locals is outdated in our growing global society. Isolationism is ending. It remains a matter of economic choice. The benefits of hiring these low-wage immigrants simply trump whatever concerns there may be to an employer. So, yes, these immigrant workers not only can, but should be in Japan, employed and living.

Oppurtunity Cost Video – Main Idea August 25, 2009

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From watching the video about a football game on the morning of August 25, 2009, I realized that there are many costs and benefits that you can’t put a quantitative price to. These include, time and leisurely activities such as time with family and reading the sports page.

The Worldly Philosophers August 24, 2009

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1. How are scarcity and survival intertwined?

As a basic fact and principle, people need certain resources to survive. As another basic fact and principle, the resources people need to survive are scarce. So enters the dilemma of scarcity. As a society we need, first and foremost, food and water. From the obvious examples in early times, to even now, in less economically developed areas, we can see that the scarcity of food and water causes a limited amount of survival. As there is not enough food for people to survive in these settings, they will not do so. The examples are unending, from the scarcity of, as mentioned, food and water to land, money, protection, shelter, etc. Our unlimited wants cannot be resolved by the scarce resources we have, and even our limited needs seem to be hindered by the imperfect process of allocation, leading to scarcity, and a decline in survival.

2. What are advantages and disadvantages of the two ways societies have been organized in the past?

The advantages of having a traditional style economy lie in the simplicity. As each son is assigned his father’s role, ideally all needed occupations would be fulfilled without worry of losing workers in one sector to another. This would allow for security when it comes to survival, and hopefully a higher likelihood of utopia. The disadvantages of this style of economy seem to outweigh the advantages, however. First and foremost, such a rigid system does not allow for innovation or advancement as a culture, technological, intellectually, or artistically. People are shackled to the professions drawn out for them at birth and even the most brilliant minds could be oppressed and forced to perform manual labor. Furthermore, having organizations divided by social class, a trend which still occurs today to a lesser extent, prevents those same brilliant minds from rising the ranks of society. There could be not Sotomayors, Oprahs or Jay-Zs in traditional economies. The stagnant, predominantly Caucasian, culture would dominate even more than it does today.

As for authoritarian rule when considering survival and employment, there are, hard as it may be to believe, several notable advantages. For example, the government can control the distribution of workers to make sure that no economic sector is too crowded or too undermanned, allowing for all needed work to be completed, without wasted excess. The disadvantages of authoritarian rule in economic matters mirror the disadvantages of a traditional style economy: lack of innovation.

3. Why was there no need for economists throughout most of history?

Because for the majority of history, tasks were driven by either tradition or authoritarian order, leaving little or no place for human intuition to come in and create chaos. With the establishment of the market system, choices became infinite and decisions unpredictable. This is where economists became most useful. Economists would, to the best of their ability, provide a forecast of future decisions and actions regarding humans. Because there was so little variation in human action until recently, predicting decisions was a rather useless task. For this reason, those with that task, economists, were not needed in society.

4. Why do you think the economic revolution was so disturbing?

The economic revolution caused an upheaval of the status quo, similar to the changes brought by the Renaissance, leaving people in a state a fear and mistrust, as they could not possibly anticipate the next moves of anyone. Any wrong step and the economic minefield could blow, leaving millions starving and homeless, scarcity would reign supreme and survival would be futile. As this initial xenophobic anathema for change begins to wear off, we realize that self-interest motivates and stimulates the economy enough to trust the market system. Social evolution can run rampant and we can finally reach a brave new world.

Why I Took IB Economics August 24, 2009

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Why did I take IB Economics? I suppose there are several factors of differing amounts of importance that influenced my decision making. Firstly, Economics is an extremely interesting subject. As I discovered last year, it is one of the few subjects offered at Canadian Academy that we as students have not truly delved into. Beyond this, I heard universal critical acclaim for the class from older students who had worked their way through the IB program, and, especially among students in the Model United Nations, I was often encourage to take the class. On a separate, related, tangent, I am quite interested in the Model United Nations program and whatever knowledge gained from Economics regarding the workings of the world at a fiscal level can only benefit me. I was also informed by my previous social studies teacher that I possessed a certain gift for Economics and should definitely consider exploring deeper into the subject. I also find that Economics are more relevant to today’s problems than any other subject in our curriculum, so I believe that if I wish to ever aid the world I live in, I should have sufficient education in this field. I like money too, its quite pretty.

Hello world! August 24, 2009

Posted by Avu in Section 1.
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Hi my name is Ken. Except its not. You see what I did there. Whoa. Guerrilla Monsoon Rap.