Our interactive studies of supply and demand in Economics have been engaging. Supply and demand is an interesting concept by itself, but our recent Appletown activity has made it all the more intriguing.
To begin, a couple key terms must be noted. Supply is “the amount of goods available,” while demand is “the desire to own something and the ability to pay for it” (Economics: Principles in Action 79, 101). Another key term used in Appletown is market equilibrium. Market equilibrium is the point at which “the quantity that people want is equal to the quantity available, and the price stabilizes” (Economics: Principles in Action 148). It is also important to note that the quantity supplied or demanded will affect the price and quantity produced of a certain good or service.
All of these concepts came into play while participating in Appletown. The class was divided into two groups of 7- one group the Producers and the other group Consumers. The Producers drew from an envelope the price at which they were selling their bushel of apples at. The Consumers drew from a separate envelope the maximum amount of money they could spend on the apples. Individuals from one group had to bargain with individuals from the other group. The ending effect was hopefully a deal between the Consumer and the Producer. The consumers’ goal was to pay less money for the apples than the money they actually had. The Producers’ goal was to sell the bushel for more than they made them for (the price on their paper). Some goals were not met because the Consumer and Producer could not strike a deal- no Consumer would pay all of his or her money and no Producer would sell his or her product for less than it was made for. This is an example of shutting down, which is sometimes the best option.
From the Appletown activity, I can draw a few conclusions about supply and demand in Microeconomics. First of all, it is not a good idea for a consumer not to buy a product when the supplier offers a price higher or close to your income. Secondly, a producer may choose not to sell his or her product when he would be losing profit because the consumer cannot or will not pay the price that is asked. Lastly, if the number of producers in certain market increased, then there would be an excess supply of that good. The producers would sell less and, therefore, they would be keeping the price above the market equilibrium. This can also occur with an increase in consumers. An increase in consumers would result in an excess demand and the price of the product would be below the market equilibrium. The Appletown activity is a great way to put the concept of supply and demand in a realistic situation that betters the understanding of a majority of the material we covered in Microeconomics.
Over the first and second trimesters, I have found that money mixed with elections is a horrible combination for our country. A major part of campaigning nowadays is how much money a party or candidate can raise compared to his opponent. This is a big mistake because the more money that is used to sway votes and opinions, the more the politicians become depended on the money than the issues. As of now, power is now based on how much money one side has in the elections and something needs to be done to terminate it.
According to Ezra Klein in “More Money, More Problems”, the use of money is turning into a tiresome way of winning elections. The United States is spending billions of dollars on elections, causing people to wonder if elections every year is a good idea “in a weak economy”. The fact is, that we are spending too much money on elections during such a hard time and that the outcome might not be favorable to Americans. Elections allow citizens to voice their opinions but it appears to be only “corporations trying to buy access with winners, secret donors trying to purchase the votes that will make them richer, and ideological hit groups that delight in the scurrilous attacks that candidates themselves would never make”. So are we really getting a say or is it just big businesses and people with major influences in America? I think the people with major influences are getting the say. Meanwhile, while candidates are focused on fundraising, no one is focusing on the main reason why elections are being held: bettering the country by meeting with “with constituents or with public-policy experts”. It seems reasonable that in order for money not to have a big influence on elections anymore, “a major scandal that’ll shock the public” will need to occur (Sen. Evan Bayh).
In class, we discovered the money spent on campaigning up to November 5th. The numbers are staggering and shocking. Just in Massachusetts, $65,421,208 was spent in the Senate race alone. It is crazy how much money can play a part in an election and no small person can get the say. It is clear that too much power is given to those who have the ability to make a change, even if that change is not beneficial for every citizen.
In this case, I think that the power of choice should not be given to the representative of the state. Clearly, in the perspective of “More money, More Problems,” the representative’s choice is based off of how much money that one person will receive in discord with the constituents. The fact that money plays a major factor in a representative’s choice that is supposed to be better for the
people is a lie. If the outcome were to be the best for the constituents, then money would pay no factor whatsoever. Money is a way of bribing and not all constituents can be bribed. If constituents have a vote, then they will have their own opinions and not the opinions that money brings them.
Money cannot be used as a deciding factor in an election. The representative who can balance the want of the people and what is best for the people shall be the most suitable to fulfill the position. Money can bribe people into doing what the main power wants, but not what the constituents need. A representative has to be able to make decisions that are not persuaded by money. It causes problems that no one wants and it is a low point in the representative’s career.
It is no surprise that not everyone agrees with President Obama. It is our right as citizens to have our own opinions. If we did not have those rights, the United States would not be considered a democracy. Because not everyone can approach the President and voice their opinions on what he is doing right or what he is doing wrong, every citizen (above 18 of course) has the opportunity to vote for a representative who can express their wishes to Washington in the best manner possible. It is that representative’s choice to pick whether he or she will practice a Delegate Model of Representation or a Trustee Model of Representation.
In class, we defined what it means to exercise the Delegate Model of Representation and the Trustee Model of Representation. We concluded that to be a delegate is to be a legislator who recognizes what the people want and acts solely on those wants while making decisions. On the other hand, a trustee is a legislator that always knows what the people want, but acts on what he or she thinks is best for the nation. To fully grasp the meanings of the two, we read works of Senator John F. Kennedy and the Virginia General Assembly and their stands on which style of representation was superior. These prominent writings allowed the class to understand the different discerning factors between having a legislator as a delegate or trustee.
When we divided into groups and decided which representation had the most compelling style, every group chose the Delegate Model. Apparently, our class is not the only crowd to think that this is the best way. Republican leaders seem to be taking on the role of a delegate when it comes to facing the current issues in the United States between President Obama and his opposing party. According to ABC News, the “reason Republicans are continuing to defy President Obama” is because “it’s what their constituents want”. Republicans are not always advocates of the Obama Administration’s decisions and, consequently so, their “voters are less likely to support compromise”. So the question is, how well do legislators represent the interests of their constituents? Very well, obviously.
Also mentioned in ABC News, Republican legislators, such as Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah feel that it is paramount to “explain Utah to Washington rather than the other way around”. This is how a legislator should act. Chaffetz succeeds in embodying the role of a delegate by standing by the desires of his constituents to the fullest extent while in Washington. The congressman listens to his backbone of supporters’ urges to push harder on the Benghazi attack or for deeper spending cuts. Chaffetz’s reply to the skeptics’ reaction to his “defiant talk” blames the Democratic Party for “not communicat[ing] well with voters”. Congressman Chaffetz is a true delegate legislator.
In my opinion, the Delegate Model of Representation is the most effective because it most accurately conveys the will of the people. I was very excited when I stumbled upon this article of Congressman Chaffetz because it was the perfect piece to prove my perspective on the styles of representation. I was quickly able to draw the connection between class and the situation happening between legislators and their constituents. I never realized that there were legislators out there who actually based his or her decisions solely on what the constituents wanted, not what the leader wanted. Finding out that some legislators only bring what their people want to Washington confirms that, although defying the President may slow down the process of getting things done quickly, it will eventually form the best outcome for the people because it was made by the people.