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Life as a Factory Worker

May 24, 2013 Leave a comment

bf1Do you ever wonder where and who produces your the favorite phone, IPad or computer?  The Foxconn City is a complex of factories that house persons working for them producing Apple, Microsoft, Dell and Hewlett Packard project.  Foxconn Technology Group, who owns the complex of factories, and employs 235,000 workers, has a reputation of tough tactics and sweatshop condition for their workers producing these in demand products. According to the Daily Mail, Apple Corporation uses sweatshop environments to produce the products that are sent to the west. Apple, for example, sold 93 million IPhones, 40 million IPads, 38 million IPods and 17 million computers, yet they are involved with a company that is paying the Chinese workers far below United States minimum wage earning a whopping $1.75 per hour or $273 per month, which would require months of work in order to be able to purchase one the products they make.  Reports have indicated that workers were recorded doing 24 hours shifts at a time, while others were forced to stand up during their entire shift.  These people are producing the phones and apple products that are craved all over the world, while working in a monotonous, tedious, assembly line environment under what looks clean, but horrible conditions.  Many workers have committed suicide because of the harsh conditions in the factories; many factories have been forced to install suicide nets around their facilities.

bf2Even though abuses continue, Apple contends that they have sent 60,000 workers to college for free and have informed one million staff of their legal rights. Chief-executive Tim Cook claims that they are working hard to improve the conditions for workers and are trying to improve the lives of employees. He is working with Foxconn to fix the problems. However, there are still reports of 150 Foxconn employees threatening to leap from the facilities because of poor working conditions and low wages.  Given the rise in Apple stock it seems that something could be done to improve the conditions of the low wages.

A Company’s main goal is to make as large of a profit as possible. These sweatshops are the most efficient way to make large gains. But do the cost outweigh the benefits?  Many major companies like Apple believe in improving the working conditions of their employees.   These companies are only left to wonder whether consumers would be willing to pay a higher price for their product in exchange of knowing these products are being produced the right way.  According to basic economics and the law of demand, if a company raises the price of their product demand will decrease.  When a product price rises, many consumers will be tempted to look at a substitute at a cheaper price, so therefore, when a company raises its price their demand will decrease.

Is Bale Worth It?

May 24, 2013 2 comments

Today was the day that Tottenham Hotspurs qualified for Champions League. The Spurs needed to win along with a loss or tie for Arsenal. Even though Gareth Bale buried a game winning goal to give them a chance to qualify for champions league, Arsenal defeated their opponent disqualifying Tottenham from Champions League. Gareth Bale, a Welsh professional soccer player, plays in the Barclays Premier League on the Tottenham Hotspurs. In the season 2012-2013, the demand for Bale significantly increased due to his extraordinary performances. He appeared in thirty three EPL matches scoring twenty one goals and receiving four assists. Bale placed third in goals scored that season and received the Play of the Season award. The success Tottenham had in 2012-2013 only happened due to Bale’s excellent showings. Since Bale scored many game equalizing and game winning goals, the clutch factor increased the incentives for other clubs to buy him. Rumors were created saying Bale wanted out of Tottenham if they did not qualify for Champions League, causing teams around the world to be more interested in him. Since Tottenham was disqualified from Champions League next year and incentive for Bale increased, teams around the world, such as Real Madrid, are more than willing to pay substantial amounts of money for him. The question is: should Tottenham reject all offers or accept money and potentially star players for Gareth Bale.

Bale Econ 1

 

This is a simple trade-off. There will be a cost and a benefit if Tottenham decides to reject all of the offers and keep Bale. The benefit of keeping Bale at Tottenham is that they keep their best player on their team. They are almost guaranteed success if Bale stays on Tottenham. The costs of rejecting all of the offers to keep Bale is the loss of a great amount of money and potentially other stars to fill in holes in Tottenham’s squad. Andre Villas-Boas, the manager for Tottenham, said, “his club wouldn’t sell Bale even if Real Madrid were to make a bid of £60 million” (BR). If Tottenham will decline any offer  £60 million or less, they are losing a great possibility to increase the club’s wealth and to purchase other star players to improve the overall squad. The costs and benefits of selling Bale for money and players is the opposite. The benefit of accepting an offer for Bale is a substantial amount of money to increase Tottenham’s wealth and the possibility to purchase other star players. The cost of accepting an offer for Bale is the loss of Tottenham’s best and most inspirational player.

 

If the decision was up to me whether to keep or sell Gareth Bale, I would choose to keep Bale at Tottenham. Even though I could potentially gain a great amount of money and good soccer players, the benefit of keeping Bale on the team is more desirable to me. Bale is the heart and soul of Tottenham creating a large amount of chemistry throughout the squad. Chemistry plays a huge role in a club’s success, therefore I would spend my effort searching for a strategy that complements Bale’s play style. Gareth Bale will endure a long, promising future, therefore Tottenham would be making a bad mistake letting Bale leave and win trophies for another football club.

 

 

Republicans Introduce Census Reform Bill

May 23, 2013 Leave a comment

This year we have studied both Government and Economics and worked on ways to relate our studies to the current events around us. This year has been one of Economic turmoil mostly caused by the Government’s struggle to achieve bipartisanship.In mid April the GOP began working on a bill that will limit the information the constitutionally required census will be permitted to ask us. This bill will have massive repercussions for the American economy. Not the state of the economy itself but the indicators used to calculate unemployment and the GDP itself. Making this story on primed for our economics class.
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The Census is an essential part of both of our Governmental and Economic systems. Republican Representative Jeff Duncan has begun the process of pushing a bill through congress that will end the census as it is known today, limiting the amount of information that can be procured from it. This bill would limit the census to finding out information about population….and that’s about it. The bill states that the census may conduct only a  “decennial census of population,”.  It eliminates the part of the census that provides information about poverty, income, education, health converge and most importantly no economic census. Without further information, the ability to calculate unemployment rate will be hindered along with GDP. We would not be able to calculate unemployment rate because we would not know how many people are working nor what the people who are working are making. This eliminates our ability to know how much people are spending or saving. These pieces of information are important economic indicators for predicting and calculating GDP. Without this data the government will not know how to compensate for the economy. We willbe forced for a total hands off economy, removing government involvement entirely. Should this bill go through our Keynesian way of life could be put in jeopardy. As intrusive as the census could seem it it is a necessary part of our governmental system and essential to keeping our economy running in the state it is.
          Before our class I would’ve viewed the GOP census bill as something nominal, really not worth noticing in the scheme of things. Now I see the impact the census makes. The importance of these economic indicators and the governments involvement in our economy can not be corrupted because we want a little more privacy. This article made me reflect not only on economics but on the relationship between our study of the constitution and our economics studies. Although I may not understand everything about economics, I understand the impact it has made in our world now, and how important it continues to be.

Original Atricle: http://portcitydaily.com/2013/04/29/congressman-jones-on-bill-to-end-intrusive-census-activities/

Categories: A1

Keynesian Economics Today

May 22, 2013 Leave a comment

The use of Keynesian economics was introduced by John Maynard Keynes in order to fight the Great Depression.  Keynesian Economics uses monetary and fiscal policy in order to fight recession and inflation. Keynesian economics was a way to keep the economy at equilibrium by using two opposing policies.  Both policies encourage spending and circulation of wealth through the economy. Keynes proposed the problem was in the demand and not in the business confidence levels. Through Keynesian economics the solution would not be to cut government spending or to cut wages so that the businesses would hire more people. The solution was to increase government spending and infrastructure to create jobs and lowering taxes to encourage people to spend money.  The use of Keynesian economics could be used today for the problems we presently have in our economy, which is mentioned in an article for the New York Times written by Nancy Folbre.

Fiscal and monetary policy work opposite eachother to keep the economy in equilibrium by preventing recession and inflation. Fiscal Policy works through the government by increasing government spending and infrastructure and lowers taxes to encourage spending, which stimulates the economy.  One example would be the war that pulled the US economy out of the Great Depression. The more demand for jobs and the increase in salary would promote spending and increase money flow in the economy. Monetary Policy is often the preferred policy because of its benefits over Fiscal Policy. It is much faster to implement because, instead of working through the government, monetary policy works through the Federal Reserve buying bonds in order to lower interest rates. As the supply of money increases the interest rates go down in order to encourage people to borrow money that will then be circulated through the economy. The graph shows how monetary policy increases the supply of money which decreases the interest rates and encourages people to borrow money which is circulated through the economy.

              Economists predict the solutions to today’s recession are the same solutions proposed by Keynes during the Great Depression. According to the article written by Nancy Folbre in the New York Times, our society has fallen into debt because of a lack of demand for jobs. His solution to this problem would be jobs created by the government.

A Possible End to World Hunger?

May 22, 2013 Leave a comment

As I went to check my mail on Yahoo.com, I was shocked and intrigued when I saw the headlining news story, “NASA awards grant for 3-D food printer; could it end world hunger?”. World hunger has obviously always been a problem; one that most people see as inevitable and too great of an issue to ever be solved. We are seeing an excess of demand; too many people to feed and not enough resources or efficient enough economy to prevent hunger. We have hit a point where more resources are greatly needed, yet they are slowly dwindling. But a project headed by Systems & Materials Research Corp and funded by NASA, may just be the solution to this problem.

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3-D printer food made from meal worms

According to Anjan Contractor(the mechanical engineer behind the idea of the 3-D printer) and other economists, our “current food systems can’t supply 12 billion people efficiently” and “so we eventually have to change our perception of what we see as food”.  This 3-D printer would turn foods into powder form that could last for 30 years, and use carbohydrates, sugars, and proteins to make edible foods that people could survive off of.  The first prototype they will attempt to make is a 3-D pizza printer. This pizza printer would start by printing a layer of dough that would be baked as it was printing by a heated plate at the bottom of the printer. Then a tomato base would be made from stored powder mixed with water and oil. Finally, a protein layer would be added.  These 3-D printers would also be able to provide personalized nutrition, where “ if you can program your needs into a 3-D printer, it can print exactly the nutrients that person requires”.  This machine works just like any other 3-D printer, but instead of sending a design, you send a recipe with precise ingredients and measurements. Other food sources that could also be used along with the printer are duckweed, grass, lupine seeds, algae, insects, and beet leaves.

Image            I agree with the prediction that food will continue to become more expensive, because the demand is greater than the supply. People will have an even harder time feeding themselves and their families in the future if nothing is done to make more economically reasonable food options.  NASA has given the Systems & Materials Research Corp a six-month grant that comes to $125,000.  They are mainly interested in it so that they could use it to feed their astronauts who go on long space voyages. NASA was convinced of the success of this project after watching it synthesize squares of chocolate. I believe that more agencies should invest in this project because there is great incentive involved: to end world hunger. This project has the potential to be one of the most beneficial and life-changing inventions of all time, which should give people the incentive to ensure its success. Not only could they end world hunger, they would dramatically curb food waste. These printers might not produce the most natural and tasty foods, but in terms of keeping people from starving for inexpensive prices, they can do the trick. If these printers succeed, in 30 years every new home could be outfitted with a 3-D food printer instead of a microwave. These printers give us hope for the future.

Minimum Wage: More Good than Harm

May 21, 2013 Leave a comment

Recently, the Obama administration has started to push for a raise in the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.00, a $1.75 increase. This increase could do one of two things- substantially improve the lives of the minimum wage workers that will be affected by this increase or lower the incentive for businesses to hire employees and asking them to take a hit on their profits. I became fairly interested in this topic after I read a blog post on the Department of Labor’s blog. This post was about a roundtable discussion in Baltimore that told the stories of several different minimum wage workers. These workers work long weeks and still come up short for the necessities that them and their families require. Their stories opened my eyes to the everyday choices and struggles that these people must face because their wage is not high enough to support their family. Upon further research of this topic, I found some interesting statistics and numbers. “Nearly one-third of U.S. minimum wage workers last year were teens, and about 45 percent were 25 or older, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Two-thirds of all minimum-wage workers were women.” (Dallas Morning News) In California, “About one in eight California workers – about 2 million people – earns $8.80 or less an hour. And the vast majority of those workers are adults rather than teens at an after-school or summer job.” (LA Daily News) This is definitely a problem because though the teens don’t need to pay for their necessities, there is a large number of people that are not getting paid enough to put food on the table.Image

Though it seems simple and reasonable to raise the minimum wage, there are some costs to this increase. Critics of this plan say that “ higher minimum wage would lead to higher unemployment among lower-wage workers.” (Dallas Morning News) This problem arises because employers are not willing to keep employing/hiring new people because the minimum wage is higher. This causes excess supply of workers, leaving the US in disequilibrium. To some businesses, the increase in wage isn’t really a problem because their wage is above the state set minimum wage. A good example of this is Costco. “Costco chief executive Craig Jelinek said recently that paying “good wages makes good sense” because it lowers employee turnover and increases productivity, saving money” (Dallas Morning News) To others, specifically restaurants and fast food chains, this change seems detrimental and would cause all sorts of problems. “Very few restaurant operators are big fans because there are very few ways to mitigate the impact of increased wages.” (Dallas Morning News) These businesses have very few options to work around this increase of wage. They can basically either raise their prices or cut labor hours, both of which many restaurants are very reluctant to do.Image

In my opinion, the benefits undoubtedly outweigh the costs in this situation. Although our economy has just seemed to get stable, there are many people in the US who still have to choose between food for their children or their electric bill because they’re getting $200 a week without taxes.

 

Categories: A1

Costs and Benefits of Retirement

May 21, 2013 Leave a comment

Every day there are more and more people retiring at a younger age. By the time an adult is around 55 they are tired of working and just want to retire already. But, what they do not realize is that retiring early will give you much higher medical expenses. Heath care costs can add up quickly when you aren’t eligible for Medicare, which kicks in at age 65. Someone who retires at age fifty-five will spend an average of $119,600 over the next ten years on insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, said Dale Yamamoto, who authored a report on medical spending on behalf of the Society of Actuaries and the Health Care Costs Institute. By contrast, a sixty five year old leaving work today will chart-retireesspend only $50,900 over the next ten years thanks to Medicare, which provides less expensive coverage.

There are many study’s going on right now about retiring and when the best time to retire is at. The goal of the study is to help people understand how much money they’ll need to retire. Dale Yamamoto said, “My neighbors had no idea how much health care costs, they were floored by how much it costs for just one year before Medicare kicks in.” The goal of Dale Yamamoto is to inform everyone how much it costs to retire before Medicare comes into play. In the study they found out that by the time today’s fifty five year old retiree hit age eighty-five, he will have spent $372,400, on average. The sixty-five year old retiree will spend only $146,60. That is more than a $200,000 saving if they choose to retire at age sixty-five rather than age fifty-five.

If someone really wants to retire early they have to know what they are getting themselves into. They have to think about the costs and benefits as well as the trade-offs, and the opportunity cost. The main cost of retiring early would be the loss of money. They could lose around $200,000 that could be useful later in their life. Also, work makes someone get up and get moving. If a fifty five year old does not go to work then they are more likely to sit around all day and not be as active. It is important for people to work while they are getting older because it keeps them moving. But, on the other hand, the benefits of retiring early are sleeping in, having more freedom to do what they want, traveling the world, and spending more time with family.   In my family, all of my grandparents have worked until they were at least sixty-five. My grandpa still works today and he is eighty-one yearsmedicare old while his partner is ninety-four. Going to the office really keeps them going and they are more motivated throughout the day. So, they are not losing any money while they are working they are having to pay less for medical expenses while still earning a salary. On the other hand, my friend is forty-nine and she has already retired. She still has a long time until she gets the Medicare benefits so she is having to spend a lot more on her medical expenses than most people. But, before she retired she weighed the costs and benefits of retiring early. Everybody has different views but in my opinion the costs outweigh the benefits and it is important for people to stay working until they are at least sixty-five or can physically no longer work. People who choose to retire early are making a trade-off because they are losing money but then also gaining freedom to do whatever they want to do during the day. People should retire when they physically cannot work anymore or when they turn sixty-five not when they just do not feel like working, if they do not work they will lose a lot of money in the long run.

Categories: A1, Learning Tags: ,
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