Self- Reflection

Looking back on the semester, crazy that it is already over, to me it was one of surprises. Before this course when I thought of economics I would think of the two sides of Communism and Capitalism thinking only in terms of absolutism; ie. one had a Capitalist country or a Communist one. I now understand just how much I don’t understand about the shades of grey that make up the economic systems of the world. I found your look at the present both depressing in that the gap between “rich” and “poor” only seems to be growing, and yet uplifting in that the wage gap between the sexes is slowly shrinking, even if it does not come fast enough.


I enjoyed the format of the class where students were bringing posts to the blog about not only what was going on in the world, but events that were relative to the unit that we were in. I also thought that the relative aspect of the due dates was an interesting shift from the hard deadlines one normally finds in education. I thought the book report was not as helpful as it could have been because essentially everyone was doing their own thing with no interaction between us unlike with the posts everyone was making.

3 Best Posts

I would say my 3 best posts are:
Basic Income: Where I used other articles to support a position that everyone should have a basic income.
Election Cycle: Where my post sparked a discussion on what it really means to be a service based economy and how government policies affect this.
Shifting Economies of a Digital age: My thoughts about where patents and copyrighted information is headed with the change in how information is spread.

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.

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.

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:
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.

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.

“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.

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.

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: . 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.