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  • Michael DeLaGarza 12:31 am on May 9, 2016 Permalink |  

    Self Reflection 

    I think I’ve grown throughout this experience. I mentioned in a previous post that i was slightly nervous before making any posts of any kind, but it’s helped me grow just a bit. The readings and the information we have learned throughout this course have been insightful and interesting. For example, I would not have known that there was going to be a social security fund around when I was older, I just always thought it would be gone. The insight this course has given into some of the problems that we face as a nation has been fantastic and eye-opening, This course has been a nice break from the usual learning methods used in a classroom and if I could I would take this course again.

  • Michael DeLaGarza 12:24 am on May 9, 2016 Permalink |  


    This class was different from any class I’ve ever taken, but it’s format was great. It allowed me to focus on other courses that required more of my time during certain weeks and less of my time during others, so I was able to better schedule my studying habits. The ability to access this website and use almost every function of it from even a mobile phone is pretty fantastic (though I was behind a computer for all of my posts). It let me take a look at the general discussions that were taking place while i was on long car rides or sitting in between classes with no computer in front of me.

    That being said, openly posting ideas and thought and opinions online scared me a bit. This is new for me, and with every post came the fear that I would sound like a jerk or leave me open for criticism in a bad way. What I found was that my classmates were pretty decent people and luckily that never happened.

    I liked the way you taught this course and I would recommend it to a friend.

  • Michael DeLaGarza 12:17 am on May 9, 2016 Permalink |  

    3 Best Posts 

    I believe my three best posts were:
    CEO Pay Soars, Average Worker Pay Stagnates: I put a lot of thought into this post as well as generated a response from the community.
    Unit 3: The New Second World: Once again, lots of thought was put into this post, but It sparked debate among the community with generally large responses which actually made me think that what I was trying to communicate was worth saying. I think there were around three responses total that weren’t me, and almost an essay in response from myself.
    Unit 3- Development, Imperialism, and the Debt Bombs: I believe that this was one of my best posts as well, because once again it got someone outside of myself engaged and talking.
    All of my posts required a lot of time thought and erasing and rewriting, but these three seemed to generate the most talk from the community and that;s why i think they were my best posts of the semester.

  • Michael DeLaGarza 1:18 am on May 7, 2016 Permalink |  

    CEO Pay Soars, Average Worker Pay Stagnates 

    91% marginal tax rate sounds almost unreasonably high. I can see why the rich would complain about that. When recently studying Supply-Side economics, it helped me come to the realisation that if there is no limit to government taxation, then there is no real incentive to be productive. I do not know all things economic, but it sounds like tax rates that high would hurt the middle class more than help, because people and companies with large amount of revenues would simply leave rather than work in the United States and continue to give 91% of their taxable income to the government. I do believe that we should enact policies that would keep us at a sustainable and steady rate of growth, but neither of the extremes that were talked about sounded like they would work. Yes i believe that there should be higher income taxes for those making more money because most likely they are putting to use the infrastructure in the country more than the people who do not. This especially means CEO’s who ultimately get people into a company to run it. For example, huge food chains often have many, many trucks on our highways around the clock. This can only happen because our tax money has paid a great deal to maintain the roads, which in turn get used and ruined by these absurdly large vehicles. If companies have the extra cash to pay CEO’s millions, then we shouldn’t have to watch buildings deteriorate or watch potholes form and stay there because there isn’t enough money to pay for them. They should have to have a high enough tax to recover without a doubt all of the damage that occurs through depreciation to public infrastructure.

    • Eli Zumberg 5:08 pm on May 7, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      the other thing we need to fix would be the way that rich people are capable of hiding their money in foreign offshoots, as well as the laughable capital gains tax because that is a significant problem that could help to fix our problems without raising the income tax back to 91%.

      • Michael DeLaGarza 7:21 pm on May 7, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I agree and in a perfect world that would be fantastic. The only problem is that in order to keep our economy growing steadily above the rest, we need to attract foreign investment just as much as the next country does. Simply residing within the United States contributes to our economic growth, so playing hard ball with them isn’t always the best choice. If every country made it so that once you made money in their country, you had to keep it in their country, well the world wouldn’t work the same way. What will keep the U.S. viable as a strong center for economic growth is constantly being a place that business men want to do business. Our freedom in part allows for this, so taking that away may take us farther away from the higher tax revenues we are looking to gain.

        • Eli Zumberg 6:09 am on May 8, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I’m not saying to play hardball with foreign investors, I’m talking about the kinds of people who hide their money in places like the Caiman Islands or companies that open up dinky HQ’s in Ireland to avoid paying taxes here.

  • Michael DeLaGarza 1:17 am on May 7, 2016 Permalink |  

    The Rich Vs. The Rest in 20th Century 

    The end note of the article says that it’s class warfare, but it doesn’t feel much like a war. Policy makers are in the pockets of big companies, and even when we vote for our presidents, the super delegates don’t necessarily vote for the majority they are supposed to represent. It’s hard to convince people to go out to the polls, and even harder to find people who are educated enough to know what their politicians actually represent. I believe there is a general consensus not just in the U.S. but around the world that our politics today are the biggest joke going around. We aren’t just voting for people who are backed by big companies any more, we are literally letting them run for office. This isn’t a war, it’s a massacre.

  • Michael DeLaGarza 1:16 am on May 7, 2016 Permalink |  

    Problems with GDP as an Economic Barometer 

    I’m glad I watched this video. Aside from it being required for class, it actually opened my eyes to the implications of measuring a nation’s well being through its’ GDP. I believe Mr. Stiglitz mentioned that GNP was a better measurement, but we have moved from that, so I went online and looked around for some suggestions of what could be better indicators of a country’s economic “health”, which brought me to this article: http://steadystate.org/wp-content/uploads/CASSE_Brief_GDP.pdf
    One of the proposed measurement is called the “Human Development Index,” which takes into account life expectancy, academic success, and also uses GDP per capita to measure the position of a country, as opposed to just its gross domestic product. I figured I would post something since Mr. Stiglitz didn’t mention much on alternatives.

  • Michael DeLaGarza 1:15 am on May 7, 2016 Permalink |  

    The Economics of Happiness 

    I remember studying marginal utility in microeconomics. The idea was that there were diminishing returns on happiness, based on the amount of a good or service consumed. I suppose that applying this to money itself could also makes a lot of sense. However, at some point, our focus on happiness became the societal focal point for motivation to do things in life. when there was a period of time when just being able to survive brought us happiness. From what Ferrer-i-Carbonell was saying, it sounds like there is a marginal utility for happiness itself, which is an interesting concept. Perhaps this has always been a motivator for continuing forward? Almost as if once we peaked in happiness with a certain activity, boredom itself would drive us to find other sources of happiness.

  • Michael DeLaGarza 1:14 am on May 7, 2016 Permalink |  

    “What are the implications for an economic system and society when the highest priorities are obtaining more knowledge, love, and friendship?” 

    I’m guessing world peace is thrown around a lot for responses to this question, but love is something that we seemingly don’t have complete control over. Moreover, some of the best friendships are established by going through hard times together. So going off of that alone, we end up with people who are jealous of others, and therefore compete over the one they love, while learning a lot about science and economics. So they find others who are hurt, team up with them, create their own, better version of a country and show off that they are the better love companion, all while figuring out how to best the person they are jealous of. I think the implications are that we end up in something like a world war? I’m no history expert, but I’m pretty sure most wars have come from some country’s desire for either more power or more gold, so they can have a better life or have people singing their praises because they need the adoration affection of many and to be seen as better. Just spit balling here.

  • Michael DeLaGarza 1:14 am on May 7, 2016 Permalink |  

    Ted Talk: Yochai Benkler 

    After Yochai highlighted how wonderful wikipedia was and that people without phds were able to help nasa with almost indistinguishable results, it occurred to me that yes, in theory the processing power of people around the world is better than any one company can pay for, but it is still just in theory. Some things like deciding if a picture is ok is a job that can be handed to a random person and most likely they will be able to come to the proper conclusion, but to get information from wikipedia is something that is still shunned amongst academic institutes. The reason is the credibility. Credibility is something that can ruin a business or even an entire nation. I could go up onto a wikipedia page and change it, then someone else could read it when all I did was make things up. This idea that he proposed at the end of ted talk is occurring, but it won’t completely replace industrialization. While more information is available every day on the internet, you don’t see the school systems collapsing. In fact tuition rises every year. If this “free internet information” were really a threat to business, we would expect to see the opposite, as it would be a substitute good/service.

  • Michael DeLaGarza 1:13 am on May 7, 2016 Permalink |  

    The Future of Production 

    I first wanted to comment on the part about producing videos for youtube. There is actually a lot of money involved in video production for these kinds of sites. For example there is a video gamer that I’m sure most people in the video gaming world have heard of who goes by the name pewdiepie (pronounced pewdeepie). Forbes has named him the highest earning youtube video producer, with an annual income of 12 million dollars. Here is a link to the article: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/forbes-names-pewdiepie-as-highest-earning-youtuber-with-annual-income-reaching-12m-a6695536.html . So in the previously presented model of our traditional produce to consume mentality, producing these seemingly free videos does actually fit in. I view it as gambling of sorts. The risk is that you become a social outcast (and unfortunately sometimes world-renowned) if your video is deemed to be not within the meta, but the payoff is high if you strike the audience the right way.

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