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Greatest Economy Presentation Reflection April 13, 2010

Posted by Avu in Section 3.
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Our presentation was extremely good. We got the best grade in our class, bar none. We had some issues with our presentation due to the lack of complexity and communication, which we could have improved through preparation beforehand. However, we are satisfied with our efforts and regret nothing.

Our Presentation

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The Worst Rapper of the Decade (No Homo) April 11, 2010

Posted by Avu in Section 2, The Economist Outside of Class.
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Cam’ron is the worst rapper of the decade. The best thing Cam’ron ever did was have friends who were more talented than him: Big L, Ma$e, Juelz Santana, and Dame Dash. The worst thing he ever did was pretty much everything else.

Cam’ron began this decade in a muddle. He’d been unable to parlay his lifelong friendship with then-Bad Boy star, Ma$e, into a lasting career (or even an awesome song). He’d released an album on a label that folded soon after and seen his contract absorbed into Sony Records. He fought to get out of his contract with Sony and ran into the arms of his other friend, co-founder of Roc-a-Fella Records, Dame Dash.  Roc-a-Fella Records was the home of Jay-Z, a rapper whose wordplay makes him among the most clever to ever grab a mic. Cam’Ron on the other hand makes rap sound stupid, which is a major part of his problem. If a white rapper were attempting to get away with Cam’ron’s lyrics, he would be laughed out of the studio. Cam’ron would be shown up by The Blizzard Man. Here are some lyrics from one of the biggest hits of Cam’ron’s career.

Killa, I’m not your companion or your man standin
Hit me when you wanna get rammed in, I’ll be scramblin
With lot’s of mobsters shop for lobsters
Cops and robbers listen every block is blocka (Blocka!!!)
But she like the way I diddy bop you peeped that
Mink on maury kicks plus chanel ski hat
She wan’t the (Boy) so I give her the (Boy)
Now she screamin out (Boy, Boy, Boy, Boy)

What’s really amazing is that those lyrics, alone, don’t do justice to how stupid they sound when added to music and rapped by Cam’ron. Those lyrics are from “Oh Boy,” the second single released by Cam’ron on Roc-a-Fella Records. This song and his other single, “Hey Ma,” featured Cam’ron’s protege, Juelz Santana, who outshines Cam’ron in every way. Perhaps sensing that, Cam’ron joined forces with Juelz Santana and another friend, Jim Jones, to form The Diplomats (also known as Dip Set). They ruled New York, this decade, but not much else. They released a couple of albums to ever diminishing sales and acclaim (outside of New York) before essentially dissolving.

Now, there are plenty of rappers who are mediocre but are able to stick around through the people they know. What gives Cam’ron the extra boost he needs to be the worst rapper of the decade are all of other non-musical contributions and distractions Cam’ron has left in his wake.

Yes, that's a pink cell phone

Let’s begin with fashion. Cam’ron affectionately refers to himself as the Pink Panther. Why? Because he enveloped himself in pink. Kanye showed us that a little pink can look great, but head-to-toe pink really just makes you look like home insulation (advertised by the other pink panther!). That’s not something he bequeathed to hip hop– it’s just a measure of Cam’ron’s audacity. His look says, “Yes, I may look like an idiot, but are you gonna say something about it?” The REAL Pink Panther is only pink through a freak genetic mutation and would love to dye his hair if only the pink hadn’t become such a profitable trademark for him. So, Cam’ron, feel free to give it a rest.

One thing Cam’ron did leave hip hop is the evolution of the hip hop feud. Rap battles used to be awesome things. A rapper would diss another rapper in a song. Months later a response song would be released. LL Cool J, having withstood a challenge from Kool Moe Dee and taken on both Wyclef and Canibus at once, perfected the hip hop feud, generating hit songs from his battles. Cam’ron took the feuds off of wax and onto Youtube, during his skirmish with rap juggernaut, 50 Cent. Without that groundbreaking evolution in the hip hop feud, we wouldn’t have had to have been bored to death by this year’s Ice-T/Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em feud on Youtube. Thanks, Cam!

Cam’ron’s other notable achievement was his appearance on 60 Minutes to espouse his “stop snitchin’” philosophy. What can I say about that other than this: Hip Hop’s most beloved rappers were killed in the middle of two of America’s most visible cities, and Tupac and Biggie’s murderers remain unpunished because no one has stepped forward to “snitch.” Thanks, Cam!

So what could be more stupid than that? How about his defense of the “no homo” trend? Oh wait… I should tell you what no homo is. “No Homo” is the disclaimer one calls out after saying something that might be misconstrued (but not really) as being gay. For instance, you might say “I want to wear entirely pink outfits and carry a pink cell phone!” Well, immediately before or after that announcement, you’d have to say “No homo” or else be outed amongst your friends. On New York’s Hot 97, Miss Info asked Cam’ron about No Homo and tried to get him to see how stupid it was. Here’s his idiotic response. No homo is insulting to anyone who hears it, gay or not. Thanks, Cam!

There’s a reason that Cam’ron, despite his connections, has failed to forge a career that will be remembered. Cam’ron is a below average rapper with little charisma whose only lasting contributions to hip hop will be remembered  as big parts of the reason this era sucks. That’s why Cam’ron is the worst rapper of the decade.

And to make it slightly related to economics, Cam’ron’s music can be seen as a negative externality of production and consumption. The former is due to the fact that in producing such awful music, the stratosphere in that field is changed, and better artists cannot have that market share, leading to an overal dumbing down of the general population. The latter is due to the fact that listening to Cam’ron rhyme “beef stew” with “Hebrew” decreases intelligence in the general population. In this case, I would recommend the age old combatant of government legislation to take care of this monstrosity.

Data Response Reflection March 30, 2010

Posted by Avu in Section 2.
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I guess today is the day that I get to pat myself on the back and congratulate myself. This is without a doubt my best IB HL Economics evaluation type of assignment since the offset of this course. I managed to get a total of 33 out of 34, with a perfect 14/14 in the Diagrams and Definitions section and a 19/20 in the Data Response section. I remembered all the definitions due to thorough review and astute recollection during the test. Perhaps I was lucky that the Theory of the Firm diagram I had to know was perfect competitions, which is arguably the most simple of the lot. However, I choose not to discredit myself in my clearly transcendent attempt at this evaluation. The one point I lost was, as stated earlier, in the Data Response section. However, the point lost was not in the evaluation, which I completed thoroughly. The point I lost was on question C, regarding the lack of an imposition of taxation of airline fuels and its relationship with profits. I was meant to include a Theory of the Firm diagram that presented marginal cost not equalling marginal revenue due to taxes, and how that would result in lower profits, but I included an indirect tax diagram instead. I will need to read these questions and think of how best to answer them in the future. However, I’m quite impressed with myself in this case.

In Russia… GDP Calculate You March 29, 2010

Posted by Avu in Russia, Section 3.
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Over the last decade, Russia’s GDP increased on an upward trend up until 2008, improving from about 250 billion dollars to 1.6 billion dollars. This is good.

Russia’s GDP per capita increased from $6000 to about $16000 in the same time frame. This is good.

Economic growth was on an upward trend the whole time. Increased of 8-10% were common from 1998-2002, before it regressed to around 4%. From 2008-2010, Russia experienced negative growth. This is not good.

I can conclude that as Russia’s GDP increased, its GDP per capita. Russia’s HDI was also on an increasing trend over the same time frame, so it can be shakily concluded that increases in GDP can, in some cases, correspond with increases in HDI.

Putin is awesome.

The Argument of the Ages. I’m Right Don’t Worry… March 18, 2010

Posted by Avu in The Economist Outside of Class.
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Is capitalism so deeply flawed that all attempts to ensure the public good are doomed to failure?

Capitalism may be flawed, but it is far less flawed than really any other economic system, at least on a pragmatic basis. To the leftists who gleefully rejoice at the current economic state: this isn’t because of present day capitalism, it’s because of regulation. The system isn’t flawed, simply the execution is.

This Guy: runs the command economy (to the ground)

It’s acceptable that there was much greed and money-hunger involved in the offset of the current debacle, but the government also has a duty to protect the assets of her citizens. Granted, Wall Street capitalists aren’t exactly angels, but their imperfections by God come second to the imperfections of government regulators, who are, of course, humans like the rest of us. With that in mind, what can we do? Should we limit the greed of the private sector by expanding government? Or should we tackle government ineptitude by shrinking and centralizing its power? From the evidence of past occurrences, we can’t possibly take an extreme stance, so we need to take the happy middle ground, the so-called via media. To avoid a cop out, however, I will take the initiative to say that the facts and logic lead us to lean towards a capitalist market structure. Firstly, capitalism can help develop poor countries into rather developed ones. On an empirical basis, it is obvious that markets that allow economic freedom through an open market consistently outperform those that are less free. To the critics: there is no evidence that economic freedom creates greater income inequality. Conversely, the evidence appears to suggest that even the poor live longer, are more educated, and enjoy standards of living in free market economies. Market economies require, and provide, property rights, flow of information, rule of law, and mechanism for contract enforcement, which are invaluable in developing poor countries as it helps the little people. These are the same little people who are fallaciously claimed to be hurt by the same market structure. Think of the consequences of going against the market. For example, Sweden, who’s economy was flourishing, began to falter in the 1950s due to newly implemented government security programs and rising taxes. These barriers discourage business and without their expansion, economic growth is irrevocably stunted. Of course, capitalism isn’t perfect. Capitalism is derived from market forces, which are in turn derived from the imperfection of human beings. Therefore, as inept as governments may be, they need to regulate the market. Profits and welfare don’t always align perfectly, evidenced by the cigarette industry and the healthy food industry. Because of this, there does need to be some government intervention down that happy middle path, but the regulation must only tackle failures in the market, not market forces that don’t hurt individual human rights. When it boils down to it, capitalism if efficient and best for the people. People understand property ownership. Resources can be turned into money easily, and the world can be more prosperous. However, there are extenuating circumstances that must be circumvented in order to have capitalism be successful. One such circumstance is the fact that property rights are often blurry as, in less developed areas, nations, and cities, property isn’t perfectly documented and can be lost before able to produce capital. While the fruits of capitalism are quite attainable in other economic forms, the legality of ownership is not so, and it is therefore difficult to prosper. With ownership comes trading chips. Every piece of property can be used as collateral or credit. With this can come invariably better existences. However, we all must agree that capitalism has its flaws. As described with pithy in the essay of two young economists, morality and profit are completely disconnected. This results in the Wall Street angels doing whatever they can to make that extra million. With only market forces, unchecked, people’s demands will be met with supply.

It's all about the Benjamins, baby

Therefore, if one demands child prostitution, weaponry, death, or other, for lack of a better word, questionable, demands, they will be met with the market. This means that the simple wishes of a psychopath or pedophile will be granted by the market at the cost of human dignity, rights, and in terrible scenarios, human life. This is, like with cigarettes and unhealthy foods, demonstrate the flaws of capitalism. However, they can be tackled. The flaws can be beaten. Again, perfect capitalism doesn’t perfectly work. There must be a hybrid. The crux of the matter, though, is that this hybrid must be leaning towards the market, not towards command. So now, as we ask whether capitalism is so deeply flawed that all attempts to ensure the public good are doomed to failure, we come up with a conundrum for the ages. While we can agree, and if dissenters revel, in its imperfections, we must agree that, compared to any other market structure, one with economic freedom is undoubtedly least flawed. While happiness may not be derived from capitalistic wealth, other things are. Wealth leads to longer life expectancies, opened horizons, new opportunities, and greater accessibility to the fruits of life. If these don’t lead to happiness, I don’t know what does. As it is though, whatever may create a better life must be rooted in the loose formation of a market.

Yeah, that's the other option

http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/09/a-failure-of-regulation-not-capitalism/
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_go2133/is_200803/ai_n32260938/pg_4/?tag=content;col1
http://www.newint.org/columns/essays/2007/06/01/essay/
http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=5182

Market Failure/Externalities of Elderly Care; Voicethread March 7, 2010

Posted by Avu in Section 2.
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I was really prepared for this and totally had a script

http://voicethread.com/share/967331/

Negative Externalities in Russia; Blame Nato and the Taliban February 28, 2010

Posted by Avu in Russia.
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According to this BBC article, Russia is upset with the current state of drug production in Afghanistan. Over the past few years, there has been an offensive that was meant to destroy poppy fields in Afghanistan. However, Obama recently ended the drive, claiming that it alienates the opium farmers and drives them to support the Taliban.

This Guy: IS DESTROYING RUSSIA

The selfish decisions of the United States have caused dismal damage to Russia’s good people. The Right Honorable Victor Ivanov, head of Russia’s federal drug control agency, has blamed Nato for being unable to hinder the production of heroin in Afghanistan. Ivanov reported that at least 30,000 people die in Russia each year from heroin. 90% of this heroin is from Afghanistan. He further criticized Nato for leaving poppy fields and virtually guaranteeing immunity for drug producers. This has led to the black market transfer of cheap heroin to Russia. Ivanov further states that drug production in Afghanistan is now a global destabilizing factor. However, seeing that the trade of such drugs are illegal as it is, it is difficult for the government to regulate. They cannot tax the drugs and have already attempted illegalizing them. The options to combat the problem are limited. For the time being, there is welfare loss and negative externalities of production due to the drugs. People overdose and commit felonies when under the influence, among other notable spill over effects on the general good of Russia. If the government could do anything, they should attempt to better equalize the marginal private benefit with the marginal social benefit. The graph below illustrates this.

Give me STRIPPERS, or give me DEATH! February 28, 2010

Posted by Avu in Section 2.
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This can lead to rape

According to this recent article my the free market mogul, the Texas government considers strip clubs to be a negative externality. The negative externality in mind is that strip clubs supposedly propagate in objectification of women, and even promote domestic violence towards them. This is very well founded I suppose, as strippers are seen as objects of entertainment by their patrons, and this brews intense disregard for the *ahem* greater sex. Furthermore, supporters of the idea that strip clubs are a negative externality claim that many serial rapists and killers have problems with pornography and frequent strip clubs. This claim manifests into the suggestion that pornography and strip clubbing and murder and rape are correlated, which is not completely unfounded. Granted, many of these ornery folk are clinically insane due to indoctrination by the unholy instituions being mentioned. However, one can argue whether or not this supposedly large negative externality is as potent as it seems. Texas believes so, and is therefore implementing a 5% tax per patron at strip clubs. The author of the article seems to disagree with this motion, making a juicy argument for the contrary. Congress claims that most, if not all, serial rapists are strip club patrons. The author suggests that every single 9/11 terrorist was Islamic. By that logic, he claims that the government should tax all who practice Islam. This makes the former argument almost invalid. Regardless of the severity of the negative externality and what the government should do, we can agree that there is a negative externality, as in the graph below.

Drinks & Music is crazy February 15, 2010

Posted by Avu in Section 2.
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Schoolies are an absolutely wonderful time of year where Australian barely legals go partying after finals. Partying includes drunkenness and drinking and drinks. Of course this results in externalities, or third party effects not taken into account by market factors. the externalities in this case are mostly health related issues, as the liberal media says that alcohol is bad for people. Furthermore, a large number of the little people can be hurt by the unseen costs of alcohol abuse. Alcohol promotes rowdiness, public obsenity, and a stepping stone to drugs, which all ruin the nights, and thereby sleep, of locals near the parties. Furthermore, the entire reputation of Australia and its youth is ruined by these socially deplorable acts. This is like how everybody hates Kobe Bryant since he raped a 19 year old maid.

Getting crunk with a suit

The boys in blue must deal with the public drunkenness as this leads to crimes of passion, stupidity, and “yo dude hold my beer and watch this”. The police are similarly ruined when it comes to trying to get rest and relaxation. Some steps have been taken to try and combat the problem. First and foremost, a Schoolies organization of adults has been founded that attempts to monitor and babysit the kids during their binge. This is perhaps the best solution, because as an adult in the video widely remarked, kids will have fun and drink. As an extreme solution, perhaps the government could raise the legal drinking age to a point above the age of most students, in order to prevent the students from legally binging. This would effectively reduce the publicity of the event, as kids wouldn’t be able to abuse alcohol for fear of the Five-O. This would work definitely, maybe.

There are also problems with noise pollution. People are constantly blasting movies and televisions, and their neighbors are suffering because of this. The negative externality, or spill over effect, is that these people are unable to sleep. Therefore, they are unable to work productively, leading to societal problems all around. Because the people are being so negatively effected by the noise, a police patrol system has been set up.

Polluting the world; one half-dollar at a time

This is a negative externality on them as well because the police have to make warnings and extra stops. This is a negative spill over on all of society because there is less law enforcement available to deal with more potent problems. The only positive thing about noise pollution is that there is a potential for jobs to be created in order to get rid of the problem. This would, however, be paid by taxdollars or fines, another negative effect on society.At the time, the solution for noise pollution is the police seizing the problematic property of individuals who are repeatedly causing problems. Another possible solution would be to tax repeat offenders, or perhaps fine them. These fines and taxdollars can be used to pay for the noise patrol as well as to possibly sound proof areas and homes for people who don’t want high levels of noise.

Get the NAACP on this February 10, 2010

Posted by Avu in Section 2.
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Price discrimination. The words let hatred ring like a buckshot, but not just yet; first we must understand the nature of the threat.

Price discrimination is simply a situation in which different people are given different prices based on whatever reason. Examples could be gender, age, income level, you name it. Even offering someone lower prices because of a special membership or coupon is price discrimination. We all experience it. Perhaps on would notice that as a student we get decreased prices at movie theaters and other venues. As foreigners we may get hit or hurt by price discrimination. I think we all manage to accept price discrimination as okay, but even we are sometimes surprised by it. A wonderful example could be seen when me, a handsome young Korean, and a Mexican-Phillipino all went to Osaka on a very eventful evening. The handsome young Korean boy and I ate at a curry shop at a place near Yodobashi Camera. Interestingly enough, when preparing to pay, we noticed a sing that said “Foreginer Minus 200 Yen”. This is an interesting example of price discrimination because it occurred at a restaurant, which is a place that usually offers a fixed rate for everyone.

Price Diiscrimination; The crayons are doing it wrong