Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Water Scarcity

Olivia Marrero

A problem on the rise in  not only in the United States but also around the world is water scarcity. One would think about how much water there is on our plant and ask how we have a water scarcity. Only 2% of the warts water is freshwater, the the others 98% is ocean water. Some random facts about water scarcity are: The Ogallala Aquifer is being drained at a rate of approximately 800 gallons per minute. Right now, the United States uses approximately 148 trillion gallons of fresh water a year, and there is no way that is sustainable in the long run. Approximately 40 percent of all rivers in the United States and approximately 46 percent of all lakes in the United States have become so polluted that they are no longer fit for human use and every 8 seconds, somewhere in the world a child dies from drinking polluted water.
A quarter of the world’s people live in areas characterized by physical water scarcity. Looking at all these facts, the question pops up, “What is the government doing about this water problem?" As of right now the government is doing nothing about it this problem. Instead the govern ment desires to shift its attention on other things like the war in Syria or the ever increasing debt that the Unites States has. With so many other problems the government needs to desire wheather to take the water scarcity problem under there belts and come up with a plan about what they plan on doing. Water is extremely valube and with out it who knows what would happened, possibly WWIII. Every living thing needs water making it the most important aspect of life. The government could do a number of things about water shortage. But there are many people that believe that the government should not get involved because there already in control of so much.
Many believe that the government already has way too much control over everything we Americans do. That the government toys with us Americans like puppets. Personally, I think that the government needs  to do something about the water shortages in the United States. There are many options to choose from when considering what the government can do. One option would be putting on regulations on how much water people can use according to where they live and how many people live in there house. This sounds ridiculous but it is just one way that the government could step in. The most important thing that the government should do is build water cleaning plant around the United States to help out with the shortage, cleaning the polluted water making it into clean drinking water. Is the government doing enough to make sure that the United States conserving the amount of water out race will need to last a life time.


Robots Taking our Jobs?

By Kelly Kempen

Many Americans love to use computers. Their main function is to make life easier for us right? Well, with new innovations and technology being thought up by the hour, should we worry about computers taking over the world? No, I’m not talking about a crazy i-Robot situation where they malfunction and destroy a city or anything; I am talking about jobs.

Many Americans have been replaced by robots in the workplace already, as it is sometimes cheaper to pay the maintenance fee of a machine rather than the income for a hundred workers. Yes, machines may be more efficient at putting together Barbie dolls, but what about the factory workers that lost their jobs because a machine was better than them. Could the use of robots in the workplace set the economy off balance? The answer is yes. Since we are a free market-mixed economy in the United States, the “unemployment problem” is not only the fault of the “person running the country” (cough, cough) like politicians like to throw around, but also the people running companies. These companies, by hiring robots instead of people, reduce your chances of getting a job, creating a larger gap between eligible candidates, and job opportunities. 

Hundreds of companies are inventing new systems and programs to replace the average Joe. Jobs we once thought could never be replaced; are being, or on the verge of being, taken over by robots. Obviously, the most commonly known of these replacements is a factory worker, but they are not alone. Odd jobs can be replaced too. For example, a few hospitals have already installed robot pharmacists who can fill out hundreds of thousands of prescriptions without error, Google is working on a self-driven car; which means even a truck driver could be out of luck in the near future, and as I was simply researching for this blog post, there was an advertisement for a “virtual receptionist” aimed at local businesses. Don’t be fooled by the thought that only “low-class” jobs can be replaced, even lawyers, people who pay thousands upon thousands of dollars for college degrees, could be replaced by robots who can read and decode law texts fast and cheaper than human beings.

Would it really be better for every company to produce goods using machines and not hiring even a few people? No, because if every single company did this, then the economy would crash since the firms would have all of these goods, but no one to buy them. If we don’t have people getting a regular income from a job- even if it’s just a measly factory job- there would be no circular flow of money; and it would all be stuck in the firms because the households would not have money to spend on the businesses’ products. Without a flow of money, an economy cannot run, and the most fundamental element of an economy is the people. Without people no such economy would exist; there would be no currency or trade-offs, or value of product. We must not forget why the economy is there in the first place, even when times are tough.   

  • 5, 2013 there will be 1.2 million industrial robots working worldwide -- that's one robot for every, 000 people, and founder of How Stuff Works. "Jobs Replaced By Robots - Business Insider." Business Insider. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2013. <http://www.businessinsider.com/9-jobs-that-are-already-being-replaced-by-robots-2011-3?op=1>.
  • "Almost half the jobs Americans thought were safe will soon be done by robots – Quartz." Quartz. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2013. <http://qz.com/127454/almost-half-the-jobs-americans-thought-were-safe-will-soon-be-done-by-robots/>.
  • "Andrew McAfee: Are droids taking our jobs? - YouTube." YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2013. <http://youtu.be/WMF-Z74C1QE>.

Weighing the “Free Rider” Problem: The Costs and Benefits of a Command Economy

Written by: Jacob Stern 

Weighing the “Free Rider” Problem: The Costs and Benefits of a Command Economy

            The term “free rider” is most often found in reference to the failings of a completely market-driven economy. In the market economy, because of uncontrollable positive externalities, in a free market we may find that many necessary goods and services are un-provided for. However, it would seem that in the command economic system, the free rider problem becomes much more prevalent, because no one has incentive to work. In determining the most effective economic structure, the ultimate question is whether or not the benefits of having public goods controlled by the government outweigh the sacrifice of market freedom and flexibility of the market system.

            A free market economy is widely regarded as the optimal scenario, as deregulation allows for freedom to innovate and build a business. Because all individuals are acting in self interest, it is also a very efficient form of economics; people are incentivized to provide for their own wellbeing and standard of living. However, in some industries, there isn't enough profit-driven incentive to sustain necessary infrastructure. This is known as the free-rider problem. Some of the common industries in which the government steps in include internal improvement projects (i.e. roads), public education (university system), and the common defense. These are necessary for the government to take on because none of these are profitable for profit-driven businesses. They are unprofitable because the positive externalities are uncontrollable. For example, maybe 30% of the people of the U.S. decide they don’t want to have a department of defense. Well, the other 70% still need a military, and so it’s provided. But if this were to be taken on by a private company, it would be unprofitable because 30% of the populous still benefits in spillover from the other people’s purchase. There would be no incentive to pay for it. Because the maintenance of a military is widely regarded as a universal need, it is taken on by the government and we share the cost.

            A command economy has a similar structure to the scenario previously described. However, in this system, every single industry, good, and service is government supported. This works great in that every necessary service is supported. But there are far more problems with it than there are solutions. First, while every necessary service is taken care of, there will always be problems that the government “solves” that would be better left alone in the first place, problems that become black holes for money. Even in our economy, which is primarily a market economy, we run into these kinds of issues. It’s called pork barrel spending – when we throw “extras,” or incentives, into a bill to get it passed. This is a source of a great amount of public waste.  Secondly, the government, no matter how much money is funneled into it, can never be as efficient as a private enterprise. Due to the lack of incentive, the system of personal accountability upon which the market system is based, becomes much less and effective.

In a mixed economy, we have a nice balance of the command and market systems: we have the flexibility of a free market, but the government does step in and take control of broad scope issues. The balance of private wealth and private interest with government support for non-profitable industries allows for optimization of the economy through the stimulus of public funding (esp. infrastructure), but maintains measures (private property) to ensure incentives that foster entrepreneurship and innovation. A mixed economy is by far the most effective in facilitating industry, progress, and growth, while ensuring that essential “nonprofitable” functions remain funded.

"Free rider problem - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Sept. 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_rider_problem>.
"Microeconomics- the Free Rider Problem." McGraw Hill. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2013. <highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/dl/free/0070969523/837456/MicroeconomicsSampleChap02.pdf>.
"The Free Rider Problem (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Sept. 2013. <http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/free-rider/>.

The Effect of ObamaCare in America

Written by: Brittney Tongco

The Effect of ObamaCare in America

            To the impoverished, ObamaCare is seen as a blessing. To the economy, ObamaCare is seen as harm. With this controversial subject, there will never come a civil closure in which all parties, citizens, and individuals agree on one idea. Simply, people under the ObamaCare mostly experience the benefit of the doubt that taxpayers’ suffer.  Inevitably, the negatives outweigh the positives when it comes from the perspective of high-income earners and large businesses.
            From the standpoint of ObamaCare users and small businesses, ObamaCare provides a sense of relief. Millions that are uninsured, that cannot afford, are now exposed to health insurance. Not only does this cover seniors, ObamaCare provides coverage for children and young adults up to 26--who are still dependent on their parents. With this, it is as if Americans are treated equally, giving each individual the right to have health insurance and coverage for unexpected personal misfortunes. Not only does ObamaCare aid the sick, it helps provide preventative care, which does have the ability to keep those under ObamaCare out of the hospital for longer periods of time, meaning that the high costs of ObamaCare could have the possibility of going down. For small business, owners are aided with tax credits up to 50% of their employees’ health insurance premium costs, according to ObamaCare facts. ObamaCare can also be a huge relief for small business owners because many struggle providing health or any other kinds benefits to their workers. By sacrificing benefits, small businesses have a higher opportunity to grow and flourish—the marginal benefit outweighs the marginal cost.

            With higher-income earners and large businesses, ObamaCare has taken a negative toll as it primarily considers the welfare.  With impressions and stereotypes of the poor, it is thought that the impoverished are lazy and are contrary to progressing change. Keeping these thoughts in mind, clearly those with higher income see how unfair it is to provide for people who did not work as hard as they did. The top 2% of businesses and persons are required to pay extra taxes. But why pay more when you have worked hard for your success?  With ObamaCare booming and thriving and users living prosperous with the aid, large businesses consider the government too intervening. With ObamaCare collecting high taxes, businesses cannot flourish efficiently. There could even be a loss in business because they are not profiting. Instead of being a mixed but freer economy, businesses sense the movement to more of a mixed economy but with more command as the government interferes with a businesses growth, which leads to the overall growth of the economy.

Click here for a video on Obamacare's Impact on Business and the Economy.  
With such a vast gap between the rich and poor in America, there is no possible way in which all social classes can agree on one thing when it comes to business and health. When one class thrives for success, another class cascades down—a constant teeter-totter or a seesaw. Unless the gap is reduced or diminished, America will never come to a conclusion, leaving ObamaCare as a positive and a negative factor in the United States.

"Howard Dean: Obamacare good for small businesses - YouTube." YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2013. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANirgiwXqqk>.
"ObamaCare: Pros and Cons of ObamaCare." ObamaCare Facts. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2013. <http://obamacarefacts.com/obamacare-pros-and-cons.php>.
"Obamacare's Impact on Businesses & the Economy - YouTube." YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2013. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLjxbG4rjHU>.
"The Pros of Obamacare -." ObamaCare - Truths, Myths and Lies of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2013. <http://obamacare.net/the-pros-of-obamacare/>.
"The Top Ten Worst Things in Obamacare | National Review Online." National Review Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2013. <http://www.nationalreview.com/critical-condition/304361/top-ten-worst-things-obamacare-grace-marie-turner>.

"Top 4 Reasons Obamacare Will Harm U.S. Competitiveness - Forbes." Information for the World's Business Leaders - Forbes.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2013. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/chrisconover/2012/10/25/top-4-reasons-obamacare-will-harm-us-american-competitiveness/>.

Economics Of the Coffee Industry

Economics Of the Coffee Industry

Written By Annika Schulz 

                It's the taste of peace and of excitement mixed into one drink. There is an odd feeling that goes along with the dark drink, lightened to the flavor our taste buds enjoy the most.  Coffee.  It's all about that coffee that wakes up most of America in the morning, brings people together for a conversation, lightens a person's day with that taste of adventure and readiness for the day to come, or the sip of caffeine to stretch the students strength for a long night of papers and studies. Either way, coffee is a major part of our society! It is a staple! It is also not a product made in the USA, but made overseas and imported into our nation.  America must take action and work with the people of these foreign nations in an effort to come to an agreement agreeable for all, or we may lose the import of quality coffee into our nation.

We bring in and import our precious beans from Brazil, Ethiopia, Columbia, Kenya, Guatemala, and other countries not listed here, and that is how we have running and thriving businesses like Starbucks.  Not only do we have Starbucks, but we must not forget about the small, and sweet coffee shops, and they use these imports because we cannot grow coffee very well here in the United States.  In these other countries of Central and South America, there are prime conditions for producing and growing these coffee beans.  In fact, this plant is very, very particular about where it grows -- and I didn't understand that before.  Also, each of the beans must be handpicked.  Only the ripe and best beans are used and picked for roasting and producing, and no machine could do that. This summer I went to Honduras and visited a coffee farm, and it became very real to me just how much work goes into making such a simple drink.

                There is much that could be said about how coffee is produced, and how much effort must actually be put into making it, but I will not bore you.  Simply though, understand that it is a big process.  All of this effort though, is not rewarded with very big bucks though.  That's the problem, and farmers are complaining.  A solution must be find, or America’s favorite drink will be at risk. And not only that, but people of these other countries will be at risk because they will not have enough compensation for their work to support their family.

                So, in Brazil for example, they are producing a larger amount of coffee than was expected because the conditions were absolutely prime. Now, they have over-production, and there is not a growth in demand.  The result is that there is more supply than demand, and therefore the price goes down.   Such decrease in price and increase in production is  shown in the graph below.  In September now of this year,  it is all the way down to just over 110 cents/lb of coffee beans.  A little less than a year ago in October of 2012 the prices were up to 160 cents/lb.  Simply, this graph shows that the prices are steadily going down.  The beans must still be produced in the same fashion they were before, with the same amount of labor.  Now, the laborers are getting paid less, and there are strikes going up.

Over in these coffee growing countries, laborers are going on strikes! They are burning up these bags of coffee, and are demanding a change in the compensation they get for their work.  In the past, they were receiving much more money than now, and they would like to go back to how things were.  The price of coffee has gone down by a whole 70% in these past five years.   Yet perhaps though, not really how things were -- because the economy cannot really go backwards -- but rather, it is hopeful that a new arrangement will be made between the buyers in America, and the producers in these other countries.  But also, although we want to be fair to those workers in Central and South America, it would be rough if prices increased to produce coffee because that would mean that prices here in our local coffee shops would increase as well.  If prices increase, some people may not be able to afford it as much -- but, I do not think that the popularity of the drink will ever decrease.

                What will be the solution? Must America then buy all of that coffee that was produced so that the people of these countries will not be left stranded with too much coffee and not enough income for their work? Well, I don't know.  Perhaps you as readers could come up with a solution, or at least some ideas. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Fish Market 9.16.2013
Aidan Stuckert

Competition is one of the most powerful forces in the world of economics. On the other hand, a monopoly is one of the most destructive forces. Competition leads to lowered prices and better products. However, when businesses are fighting for money they need to evaluate opportunity costs. In most cases, ethics are sacrificed.
            Let’s take a deeper look at what the need for money has done to our environment. If farmers in the Amazon are faced with the choice to clear a couple hundred acres of forest or have reduced revenue, the answer is simple for all businesses, deforestation. Rather than even selling the lumber, the majority of it is just burned down. This contributes to global warning on a massive scale, as well as fueling the 35 to 50 extinctions that happen daily (there are also reports of 200+ daily extinctions).
            The profitability of putting greed before the environment is only temporary. Why don’t businesses work their employees 16 hours a day? Because continuously raping your resources isn’t sustainable. You would be able to get a lot of work done at first, but eventually the workers would rebel or make mistakes from restlessness. The environment works the same way. Businesses need three things: Resources, Money, and Time. Businesses cannot operate if one of those three necessities is missing.
            A problem with the invisible hand theory is it implies businesses don’t care about the consumers or other businesses. When one company decides to dam a river, they don’t care that it will kill any salmon that try to reproduce in it. Competition has lead to the irreversible destruction of the world largest food source. The Ocean. Once we figured out fishing could be created into a business, we created an entire industry on it. Boats got bigger and tools became more efficient. Can we continue to use competition if it will inevitably point to the demise of all aquatic life?  Usually, there are tradeoffs in businesses. There aren’t any consequences to polluting so there aren’t any necessary tradeoffs.
            Ocean acidification is one of the least known but worst aspects of businesses not taking care of their workers (the environment in this metaphor). Pollutants from the air are absorbed by the ocean and the acid levels increase. A raise of just 0.1 in pH can kill entire ecosystems. Every fish we hunt has had a massive population reduction. In this case, having a mixed economy is beneficial. The government can impose regulations to keep the economy form exterminating the economy (because without land and resources nothing can operate). Entire states can be based on fishing.

As fishing increases, the fish population decreases. Trolling the bottom of the ocean with fish nets is like a farmer cutting his crops 20 times a year. There wouldn’t be any time for the crops to grow back before you cut them again. Supply and demand is a main component of almost all economies. Also, it is part of the Invisible Hand Theory. If someone needs something, someone else will see that and sell the need to make money. Just because there is a demand for fish doesn’t mean there is a supply of them. When (not if) we reach the ‘end of the line’ the markets that run on the fishing industry.
Fish play a quintessential role in the world; they have been a part of our culture ever since we discovered them. Fish are considered holy in some regions. The fishing industry is a micro economy in itself. If the fish were to leave, the truckers that transport fish would be affected, the stores that sell fish would be affected, and many restaurants would be affected.
If something is not done fast to save the fish and the environment we will have to worry about things far worse than crashing economies…global starvation.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Million Dollar Slaves

Million Dollar Slaves
By: Joshua Byrd

I recently discovered that ninety percent of all U.S. citizens are and will always be modern day slaves. Unless you are a part of the ten percent of the population who are wealthy millionaires, you will never be excluded from the slave category.  Most of us reading this blog are in category one.. But, after researching and looking into modern slaves I found out that even the most upheld and notable sport icons are in the same boat as most Americans, and I call them Million dollar Slaves. The most recent display of million dollar slaves was in 2011 when the National Basketball Association (NBA) had their fourth league lockout under commissioner David Stern. Another example of this was also in 2011 when the National Football League (NFL) went on their fifth league lockout. Among these two programs the players in it are arguably the most idoled, famous, and wealthy people in the U.S., but couldn’t play football or basketball when they wanted to. Their bosses (the owners of the sports teams) had a different plan in the year 2011. The owners wanted more money, the players wanted to keep their money, so who controlled whom?

In the year 2011 the NBA had one of the biggest lockouts in league history; the two sides just couldn’t come to an agreement. Before the lockout, the players were getting 57% of the revenues and the owners were getting 43%. Ownership asked for a 50/50 split which they were not given, and had no choice but to lockout the NBA. This meant that the arenas were closed, practice facilities closed, workout facilities closed, and even the players weren’t granted access to see the team doctors. The President of the NBPA (National Basketball Players Association) Derrick Fischer of the Los Angeles Lakers, Matt Bonner of the Spurs, and Maurice Evans of the Wizards represented the players. David Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver represented the owners. After meeting a couple times the two sides failed over and over again to come to a resolution. For some reason after meeting with each other they couldn’t tackle and find a solution on the four major issues as to why the NBA went into a lockout. The biggest reason was the NBA had been losing money over the past two years, and only the big markets like the L.A. Lakers, Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, and the New York Knicks had been making money. But, smaller markets like the Minnesota Timberwolves couldn’t compete with other programs and were losing money rapidly. Another huge reason to why they had a lockout is because players that had huge contracts for 5-6 years weren’t living up to their potential and the value of their contract. When a team makes a deal with a good player for $80+ million for 6 years, and that player gets injured or become a liability for the team, the team may lose money. A contract is a contract and they have to respect it no matter what happens. So where do they go on from this and solve these problems? After fifteen hours of bargaining, 149 days of lockout, 16 regular season games missed, and pre-season games missed, they finally came to a conclusion. They concluded that the players will have a $300 million annually reduction in salaries, which would make owners about $3 billion over the 10-year deal. But, the new agreement called for a 50/50 split of all basketball revenues instead of the 57/43. With the loss of the 16 games they had to cut the NBA season short to 66 games, which was a loss in $400 million. “For myself, it’s great to be a part of this particular moment, in terms of giving our fans what it is that they so badly wanted and want to see,” said Derek Fisher, the president of the players union. Ladies and gentlemen we have basketball, until the 10-year contract runs out then what will they do?

Similar to the NBA lockout the Nation Football League (NFL) had a lockout soon after the 2010-11 season was over. Who would have thought these millionaires and billionaires would fight over money. Well, once again the multi-billion dollar industry of a major sports market is at a standstill. Greed fills them all when money is the motive, and the owners (billionaires) wanted to “take back” the league, and the players (millionaires) wanted a bigger piece of the sweet apple pie the owners were eating. The profit-pie that both sides wanted so eagerly is about 9 billion dollars annually. Now out of that, the owners get to take $1 billion off top, and any extra money they need which would go towards miscellaneous operating expenses.  After the owners finish with all of their needs the players get 59.6% of the remaining pie, the money comes in the form of a salary cap which every team has. Now, the whole feud is that the owners want the players to get the same percentage but out of a smaller pie. They want $2.4 billion dollars off the top with the extra money they would need for miscellaneous reasons, and the players would get the same 59.6% of the remaining money. This would represent about 18% decrease in pay. But, players still have contracts that the owners have to abide by, so this decrease in pay would affect rookies and free-agents the most, at first. Eventually a player’s contract would run out and they would lose about 18% of their normal income. How can both sides with very strong voices come to a conclusion? After the 130-day long lockout the NFL went through both sides finally reached a decision, which would benefit both sides. It was a win/win for both sides. Ownership received 52% of the revenue instead of 47% in previous years, and they also raised the salary cap to $120 million with an additional $20 million for benefits. In the end, the owners and players split over $9 billion, and they didn’t lose any league games which was the number one thing they wanted. So, no one really lost in the 2011 NFL Lockout.

Everything about this entire process makes me sick to my stomach. Not because I'm against capitalism or because the thought of someone making that much money and wanting more makes them a villain in my eyes; it doesn't. No, what makes me sick is the idea that these two sides seem willing to stick to their guns even to the point of hurting the third party in all of this. Have they stopped to consider the parking attendant, the beer guy, the concessions staff, security, ticketing, and practice players? Or what about the fans who spend thousands of dollars every year to see their heroes play their favorite game? Once those checks stop coming, well that’s a story most Americans know all too well. The longer they hold out and stand their ground, the longer thousands of people will not have jobs from just one industry. Come on, players and ownership let’s get it together and vow to have no more lockouts. Honestly what would we do without football or basketball? 

Apple Does it Again

By Jennifer Gohlke 

With all the new technology emerging around the world, the population is constantly left wondering what the newest advancement will be when it comes to cell phones, tv’s or computers. One of the leading brands in this search for improvements is Apple. This company is always on the top, creating the latest, most innovative devices. Their ridiculously popular iPhone is Apple’s largest source of revenue, accounting for 53% of their earnings according to The Economist. Although sometimes consumers believe their “needs” form plans for the innovative devices, the way Apple continuously produces phones each year creates a sense of need for the consumers, in a way where once one iPhone is bought, the next invention must be purchased instinctively as a replacement.

The first iPhone was released in 2007, and since that time, Apple has gained $150 billion in revenue from their phone line alone. The way they create a newer version of the iPhone each year builds a sense of need within the consumers. This supply and demand is what brings Apple the big bucks; they create the supply, and as they watch the frenzy of customers line up for their new technology, they dream up the latest and most innovative ideas for the new iPhone, that will be released in the next year. The excitement of leaks and sneak peeks into whatever iPhone is developing at the time only reinforce the demand among consumers. This creates an even bigger supply, which is why the iPhone has been the “world’s bestselling smartphone for five consecutive years” according to The Economist.

Apple has discovered a technique to keep the customers involved and interested; the limited, yet exciting new options make decisions regarding iPhones simple and effortless. For many users, buying the most recent iPhone is instinct and simply just an upgrade to the next best thing. According to Time.com, customers say that they like having choices, but when it comes to technology, only one option makes the purchasing process much easier. People naturally want the best of anything that they can get their hands on, and this deluxe phone is not any exception.

The company represents the social aspects of our country as well as our mixed economy. Recently, according to Business Insider, it’s been said that the government will gain some control over parts of the Apple company, mostly regarding security. A patent from Apple would allow our government to have the power to cause black outs around certain areas, in the situation of a protest, concert, or other time when information should not be spread. However, the United States also has characteristics of a free market, in the way that Apple and individual companies can produce any kind of product. They benefit from this because they can create and almost manipulate the thoughts of consumers, drawing them in to a never ending “need” for the newest technology.

Apple is only one of the many companies that has mastered the ways of the economy. Their creation of need among consumers has helped them become the most successful electronic company in the world.

"Apple may need an iPhone 6 sooner rather than later | Apple - CNET News." Technology News - CNET News. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2013. <http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57523913-37/apple-may-need-an-iphone-6-sooner-rather-than-later/>.
"Apple Patent Allows Government To Control Phones - Business Insider." Business Insider. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2013. <http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-patent-government-control-phones-2012-10>.
"Daily chart: Mega phone | The Economist." The Economist - World News, Politics, Economics, Business & Finance. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2013. <http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2012/09/daily-chart-6>.

"6 Unfair Market Advantages You Should Steal from Apple | Copyblogger." Content Marketing Tools and Training | Copyblogger. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2013. <http://www.copyblogger.com/apple-market-advantages/>. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Is a Centrally Planned Economy Better for America?

Is a Centrally Planned Economy Better for America?
By: Zoe Kanavas
As a nation dependent on self-incentive, our common thinking is that our economy is the most efficient, logical method. But our capitalist country is currently running a 7.3% unemployment rate, leaving 22995000 Americans out of work. Compare that to China’s 4.1% unemployment rate, even with a significantly bigger population the country manages to keep the rate low. The centrally planned economy has a major impact on this low number. Thus, there is a possibility that a government controlled economy would benefit a country rather than defeat it.        

            Because a CPE is in constant regulation of the entire economy, there is also a regulation on the goods and services given out to the people. Ideally, this is a solution to inequality because the government’s goal is to provide services such as: free healthcare, free education, and guaranteed jobs. When contrasting the healthcare systems between the U.S. and China, there are 44 million Americans without health insurance, while China’s healthcare is provided to 95% of the population. Clearly, the healthcare in this CPE styled country is benefitting more of its population than our mixed free economy is. Even though both countries offer free education the amount of vigor in Chinese classrooms is much higher than American schools. This results in a more beneficial schooling experience, pushing Chinese scholars to the top in the world. Lastly, by simply comparing America’s unemployment rate of 7.1% and China’s 4.1% it can be seen that the job guarantee is present in CPE China. Therefore, the regulation of these goods and services can be a solution to inequality, healthcare, education, and job issues.

            Although China is a wonderful example of a centrally planned economy gone right, it is not the same case in every setting. In a different CPE country, Iran, the unemployment rate is 11.2, and in a different country, Libya, it’s as high as 19.8. Corrupted governments with extremely powerful leaders can cause the economy to spiral downward, fast. Even in every case of CPE, there is a very limited amount of freedom for the people. There is no possibility for the consumers to choose what they want to purchase, and the lack of entrepreneurship may lead to lack of motivation to get work done. In addition, the almost guarantee of jobs can allow a person to not feel the need to work their hardest if their job will always be there. Also, because the government needs to control the whole system, much money and time is lost in the constant communicating the government must make in order to keep all the firms on track.

            While the lack of profit and freedom for the people may be discouraging in a CPE, countries like Cuba, Turkmenistan, Myanmar, Belarus, and Laos with this method of economy all have unemployment rates under 4%, one even being .5%, in Belarus. That poses the tradeoff of freedom of economy for a possible higher standard of living regulated by the government. Would the gain be worth the loose for our economy? Or would it result in a worse scenario than we are already in?


"Unemployment Rate - Countries - List." TRADING ECONOMICS | 300.000 INDICATORS FROM 196 COUNTRIES. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2013. <http://www.tradingeconomics.com/country-list/unemployment-rate>.

"'Ticking Time Bombs': China's Health Care System Faces Issues of Access, Quality and Cost - Knowledge@Wharton." Knowledge@Wharton. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2013. <http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=3296>.

"Comparing U.S. and Chinese Public School Systems." University of Michigan. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2013. <sitemaker.umich.edu/vanschaack.356/strenghts_and_weaknesses_of_both_systems>.

"Monroe-Woodbury Economics / Centrally Planned Economy." Monroe-Woodbury Economics / FrontPage. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2013. 

"PBS- Healthcare Crisis: The Uninsured." PBS: Public Broadcasting Service. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2013. <http://www.pbs.org/healthcarecrisis/uninsured.html>.

"Planned economy | features, advantages and disadvantages." IGCSE, A Level, IB Business studies, Economics, Accounting and ICT. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2013. <http://www.dineshbakshi.com/as-a-level-economics/basic-economic-ideas/117-revision-notes/1349-planned-economies>.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Labor Force Shrinking

According to a report from CNN, the United States' labor force has shrunk to a level of 63.2%, the lowest it has been in 35 years. The labor force is calculated by tabulating all American citizens 16 years or older who are either working or looking for a job. The labor force reached it's peak in 2000, when 67.3% of eligible Americans had jobs, but has been declining ever since.

The reasons for this could be several. One of them just happens to be demographic, as the baby boomer generation has now reached the age of retirement and is no longer working. Workers over the age of 65 make up 38% of the labor force, and those folks are now retiring in large numbers. What is partially alarming though, is the apparent lack of good full-time jobs. Too many Americans are finding themselves with low-paying jobs containing no benefits. Further, there seems to be  a trend as some companies move to cut full-time positions in favor of part-time work.

The lack of good full-time positions is something that young people are having to grapple with, as many of them are finding themselves working in jobs that they do not consider to be career-path oriented. Even after graduating from high school and college, many young Americans find themselves living at home, working jobs that do not necessarily correspond with what they studied.

One significant problem posed by the declining labor force is that with a fewer percentage of people working, there are fewer people paying for various guaranteed entitlement programs. As more people retire, and the percentage of Americans working decreases, the government will have to decide what to do with the scarce resources, whether it is to increase the tax rate or to cut some of the benefits.

What possible implications does this have for you?
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