So I actually went to MicroEconomics today.
First thing I learned...it's the crap ventilation and unclean buildings that spike my sinus problems. School sets them off routinely, work decreasingly so, but staying home leaves me pretty well alone.
Second...that's twice I missed Micro and EACH time all I missed was we had homework due for points. We do it, break into groups, go over it in class, rate our group members. Even funnier is that, apparently, everyone did SO piss-poor on this one that she's putting up a new one that'll be due Tuesday (she said Tuesdy, but next week is "spring break", so do I assume due the week after?), so I STILL get by and really only wind up missing points from the prior one. HA!!!!
I'm LOVING economics though. Basic Economics should be required learning in school. Just leave out all the "but we have to manipulate the market and ruin equilbrium in order to provide social equity" justification bollocks.
We're on to taxes, markets and trade. Closed economy vs. open economy. If the market of a particular good, trades on the world market at a higher price than domestically, domestic producers will benefit from exporting it to other nations who will, in turn (theoretically), trade us something they're better at producing. Meanwhile, domestic consumers are left to pay a higher price at home for the good than if we DIDN'T trade it on the world market, so the producer benefits and the consumer suffers.
Yes, international trade, in many respects, can be BAD.
Which brings me to this. What I just wrote today for submission for the March issue of Uncommon Sense. I've since thought of some fine-tuning additions, but this is what I sent to Matt for approval.
Here's a short lesson in economics to help you better understand your money and what to do with it.
Your money is worthless.
Let me clarify that; American dollars are worthless. They have no inherent or intrinsic value. First there was commodity money, such as gold and silver, precious metals of their own value traded for goods. Coin money came from this. Then there came a move to representative money, paper certificates backed by gold and silver, because it was easier to trade than the metals themselves. What we have is fiat money. Fiat money is only valued as money because it is used as money. They're not even issued by the government. The Federal Reserve, despite its name, is not part of government. It's a large, centralized bank run by a conglomerate of banks and operates outside of government control. At any time people could agree to trade something other than our Federal Reserve Notes (a matter worth its own discussion) and it would have the same effect. If they decide to use glass battles, glass bottles would be the new norm. If they went back to gold and silver coins, money would have value again. Sure, everyone's perceived “wealth” would suddenly drop, but so would prices. It would be one large shift in the economy. Two words: Liberty Dollars. Look into it. Meanwhile, Benjamin Franklin has been turned upside down. A penny saved is not a penny earned. Just as the “value” of “collectibles” are determined by how much you can get for them, the reverse is also true. The “value” of your “dollars” is determined by what you can get with them. Money in a bank, especially when inflation is higher than the interest you collect, does you no good. Your money is only worth what you spend it on. Which brings me to my next point;
You're the reason you don't have a job.
You're also the reason your friends and neighbors don't have jobs. Even removed of intrinsic value, your dollars are what drive the economy, they're what everything is based around. Where and how you spend them has larger consequences than just what you buy that week and whether or not you “get” more “for” it.
I love Wal*Mart.
I also hate Wal*Mart.
There's no contradiction there. Wal*Mart is a perfect example of business success in this country. It started out as a nowhere store in Arkansas and is now the largest corporation in the world. That's free-market capitalism at its finest. Don't begrudge them because they succeeded where you and others have failed. However, DO begrudge them for the business practices they undertake to grow and remain on top. By now it's no secret that Wal*Mart gets most of their goods from Asia, especially China. What's that? Yes, it's true, most goods anywhere are foreign made. You can thank forty years of America-last trade policies for that. Wal*Mart, however, doesn't just buy from Asia, they insist on Asian production from their suppliers as a condition of doing business with them and guaranteeing those “always low prices, always.” What does that yield? The more Wal*Mart sells, the larger their share of the market grows. A larger share means fewer competition and more business leverage to dictate its terms. This translates into selling at Wal*Mart as a necessity to sell anything which leads to an increase in foreign production and, consequently, a decrease in domestic production. Stop worrying about the auto industry. They have their own myriad of problems outside of economics. Start looking elsewhere. Watch where your dollar goes. Change your spending and change the economy. It's called a voting dollar. It has no value of its own, so you may as well make it worth something by making a stand with where you spend it. Knowing the economic fall-out from “spending to save”, is it really worth saving that 60 cents on an item? Wouldn't you rather do some good with it?
Why me? Why doesn't the government fix it?
Because that's not the government's job. Wal*Mart's practices are immoral, not illegal. There's a large difference there. Government interference, regardless of intent, is still interference. You can't “democratically” use the power of government to force your will on others and then complain when it gets turned on you. The best way to stop it is to not start it. Someone in a local paper recently offered up a common complaint about the price of gas. Why is it cheaper at X than at Y? Why is it so expensive overall? Why doesn't someone do something? Here's an answer; YOU'RE the someone. It's up to YOU. High prices don't automatically equate to price gouging. You don't know where all the money goes. However, if you don't like how someone operates, then don't go there!! It's that simple.
Let the market take care of itself.
Government intervention is a bad idea. You don't need hiring quotas. Just don't give your money to shops you don't like. If enough people shun them, they'll either change or go out of business. The market works. You don't need wage fixes. In any defined market, prices and wages are determined by an equilibrium of supply and demand. With goods, excess supply is a surplus and prices will drop so that supply will match demand. The same is true with labor. Fixed wages, in the form of union contracts or government-defined minimum wage are meaningless if set below market equilibrium as the market itself will rise above them, but, as a price floor set above the equilibrium, they're devastating. When the price (wage) is above the equilibrium, supply (labor) outstrips demand (jobs) and perpetuates unemployment. You need to let the market adjust itself. Unfortunately, we're caught up in a mentality of equality of things where we want somehow want everyone to magically be millionaires, so we hurt ourselves in the long run in order to give the appearance of help in the short run. You get what you earn. Leave others alone. Trade freely and fairly. That's all there is to it.
So, now I have to get the hell out of here, get to Office Depot, say "hey, do I get a job or what?", then come back to leave by 6 for the Pistons/Pacers game tonight. It almost sucks, I had TWO calls today to ask me to come in and work tonight. They couldn't call the last 3 nights when I had NOTHING going on (at least that I couldn't let go of). I'm not fretting Office Depot. I bet the lack of communication is indicative that I, in fact, DIDN'T get the job, but...so what. I've re-thought it and I think I'll suffer (yes, suffer) through Meijer a few months, then look into substitute teaching like Nick was telling me before. I'd ruled it out earlier, but I think it may be worth it, especially since I'll still be in school myself for the next two years.