Exam Reflection Questions-

  1. Question 1: One of the most significant comments that a fellow student has made, was by Alexander Westerlund on the Death of the American Dream. He said “Today in society everyone has it so good coming into this world, the advancements in technology are blinding that nobody really knows how to be social anymore and have the urge to be the best that they can be. Back in mid to late 1900s there was no social media to be able to see the celebrities lifestyles that everyone so craves. I think that now everyone sees the good lifestyles from popular people they see it from them but not them selves and its just tearing everyone down. But the thing is people don’t even realize it. Anyone can do anything they want to if they apply themselves…” I really like this comment because it’s so real and a breathe of fresh air I am so glad that I am not the only one that feels this way.
  2. The most significant thing I have learned during this course is that our economic system is changing and that it is destroying certain aspects of life that we used to cherish. I also learned that the american dream is indeed deteriorating. I also learned that the economic curve is changing and the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting more poor, while the middle class is slowly ceasing to exist.
  3. Over the next 10 to 20 years the biggest challenge I see society facing is corporations trying to rule over the government, and corporations buying out their competitors to build monopolies. The system needs to change by regulating how much companies can actually charge people for certain services. We need to create a healthy competition market again where competitors are not doing predatory pricing and then driving there competitors out of competition and then buying them out.

Research Project Post

---Originally published by Julia at ECON 260 Comp Econ Systems – Spring 2017 – Julia Voshell

My research project post-     The book “The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” by John Perkins published by Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. is the book I chose for this project. The book’s ISBN is  978-1-62656-674-3, its genre is Current Affairs. I’ll post links to the authors and publishers websites below.   The book …

Blog Post 5: Research Project/Paper

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Blog post 4

---Originally published by Alexander Westerlund at ECON 260 Comp Econ Systems – Spring 2017 – Alexander Westerlund

Extinguishing the national debt with one click.. In the 1980’s, a cahirman of the coinage subcommittee of the U.S house of represenatives pointed out that the national debt could be paid with a single coin… The constitution gives congress the power to coin money and regulate its value and no limitation is put on the … Continue reading "Blog post 4"

Blog Post 3

---Originally published by Alexander Westerlund at ECON 260 Comp Econ Systems – Spring 2017 – Alexander Westerlund

Interest.. Interest is now a huge thing to watch when getting a mortgage or any sort of time where you borrow money. Interest charges are Incorporated into every stage of producing a product, from pulling raw materials out of the earth to putting the goods on store shelves. These cumulative charges have been estimated to … Continue reading "Blog Post 3"

Blog post 2

---Originally published by Alexander Westerlund at ECON 260 Comp Econ Systems – Spring 2017 – Alexander Westerlund

The money supply and the federal debt To keep the economic wheels turning, the money supply must continuously inflate and the federal debt must continually expand. This was revealed by Marriner Eccles, Governor of the Federal Reserve Board. How does the federal reserve get money to buy government bonds? It’s created out of the right … Continue reading "Blog post 2"

Final Exam Responses

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Book Report – Guns, Germs, and Steel

As I began reading this book, the question I wanted to focus on quickly came to mind, “Why did wealth and power become distributed as they now are, rather than in some other way?” More specifically, “Why weren’t Native Americans, Africans, and Aboriginal Australians the ones who decimated, subjugated, or exterminated Europeans and Asians?” Before reading this book, I could still give you a simple answer to this question without doing any research. The people of Europe and Asia, developed language, technology and civilization before groups such as Native Americans did. And not only were they the first to discover these things, they also got to the people of Australia and America before they too had a chance for discovery. I also knew that this answer alone wasn’t justification for why things are the way they are today, sure ‘westerners’ discovered these things first, but how actually did this happen. I learned it has much more to do with how humans developed physiologically, historically, and culturally, but even an answer such as that does not do justice, for there are so many things that led to the people we are today. The frustrating thing I learned about this book and answers to mine and Jared Diamonds questions, were that there isn’t one answer that can explain why things are the way they are. The best way I understood this book was knowing that every little choice that the first people made on this earth, where they lived, what they ate, the animals they were surrounded with, the temperature, and the thousands of other differences that seem minute led people to be who they are today. I will now attempt to give you examples of these little differences so that you can understand how people got to where they’re at today, but to best understand it you will need to read this fascinating book.

Let’s look at the people of the Americas compared to their European counter parts first. The people of the Bahamas and other southern islands, were still using primitive stone tools when the first Europeans arrived with huge ships and steel. Could something as simple as temperature explain this? Through thousands of years living the people who resided in these islands had little to worry about weather wise. They could stay outside all day, hunt, fish, gather, never did they have to go inside for long periods of time with nothing but their own mind. Now let’s look at the Europeans, 4 months out of the year, for thousands of years, these people would have to sit inside and think. What else is there do when there is little entertainment? Did the Europeans get the advantage because they had more time think and in turn, turn those thoughts into inventions? While just looking at these two groups alone, this explanation seems to make sense. Now lets go to the other side of the globe in Africa, at this time, Africans are experiencing similar temperatures have had steel and civilizations for some time now, so it now seems temperature cannot account for the differences.

If it wasn’t temperature that gave these first groups a leg up, was it rivers? In the Fertile Crescent, Europe, and in the Americas, many civilizations popped up lining the rivers. A flowing river makes irrigation much easier for farming, which is very essential in the becoming of a civilization. So then why weren’t the aboriginals of Australia building civilizations at this time, there were plenty along the river? Does this now disprove the river theory?

Another way to look at these differences is to look directly at the many biological differences in the rise of civilization. With Western culture leading the influence throughout the past 1,000 years, it should be easy to say that race played a part in the rise and demise of people. Fortunately, that is even easier to disprove, the first civilizations were nowhere near Europe and came about in today’s middle east and Africa. So now we know it wasn’t western culture that made the difference.

As I kept reading this book looking for the answer to why people are the way they are today. I kept reading theory after theory, only for the author to disprove them. It wasn’t until I started to blog about this book about half way through it, that I began to notice a pattern. Although something such as biological reasons were very easy to disprove, the geological ones, i.e. river valleys, climate, location, etc. were actually what caused us to be the way we are today. Sure there isn’t one geological factor that you can look at across the board, but that’s because I was forgetting about the diversity of every group. The reason I couldn’t apply climate to the Africans is because they are so much different than the people of the Bahamas. They have different food sources, different plants, different needs, but these many geological differences are still what led people to be who they are today. There is no one group of people who went through the same thing, but its what was around them that got them where they are now.

Overall, Guns, Germs, and Steel was a great book. Not only did I get an understanding of why I am the way I am today, but more importantly on my quest to answer these questions I learned about the history of man kind. I’ve always been a person who needs an explanation to why things are the way they are, this book went above and beyond, answering questions I’d had never even thought of. I highly suggest this book to anyone who likes history or looks to understand the world around them.

 

 

Legalization of Drugs

The legalization of drugs is a very complicated topic, but in this post I only plan to tackle the economic benefits and risks. If I were to try and convince you all on the subject there are many other benefits I would bring up, but that may take 20 pages to do so. It seems unfair to only bring up the economic benefits, because there is so much else that goes into such a thing, but for the sake of my own time and yours, I will focus on what the legalization of drugs can do for the U.S. economy.

The word ‘drugs’ comes with a lot of baggage in a country such as ours. Since Nixon declared the war on drugs in the 60s, and Regan’s second push in the 80s our leaders have done everything in their power to see that drugs, dealers and users are eradicated from our country. After years of anti-drug propaganda, thousands of arrests, the break of up of countless families, and billions of dollars spent (in 2010 alone the federal government spent $15 billion, while states spent another $25 billion) one might think that there has been progress. Unfortunately there has been absolutely no progress, and the end of the war is nowhere in sight, unless the government realizes this is a problem that will not go away. So how do you police a problem such as this? You don’t, we must accept that our societies public health problem (drug addiction) is here to stay, benefit from it economically, and fight our drug problem with education, help and understanding. To me, it is quite easy to see how we can benefit economically. Our country will be spending billions less through imprisonment and policing, the government will make billions through government taxation, and all citizens will benefited through private sector spending and economic stimulus.

The amount of money we spend on incarcerating people for drug related crimes could go to a lot better programs. According to the Hamilton Project at Brookings Institute we spent $80 billion in housing inmates. If you put that together with a 2010 statistic from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, half of all people in prison were locked up for a drug related crime, that would mean our country could possibly save $40 billion dollars a year. If that money went towards anything but housing prisoners, that would benefit everyone greatly.

Money saved is always a plus, but the government could also make a huge profit on the taxation of drugs. In 2013, The Organization of American States, estimated that the drug trade was worth $34 billion in that year alone. If the government were to put a 10% tax rate on the sale of drugs, that leaves them with at least a profit of $3.4 billion. We can see this in states that legalized marijuana, these states are swimming in cash.

The legalization of drugs seems to fair better for the government, but we as a society will be much better off as well. It’s no secret that the more successful businesses a city has, the better off it is. These new businesses will bring money to their owners, the businesses around them and to the many employees that they will employ. This in turn may even decrease the unemployment rate. This move will also bring in customers that the states haven’t been able to capture, through tourism. Amsterdam and Colorado are just a few places to name, where they are a destination because of their legal stance on marijuana. If all drugs are legal, you can expect people to visit for that reason alone.

If all that still does not have you convinced lets take a look at country that has done something similar. In 2001 after having some of the highest addiction and drug related diseases (STDs and HIV) in the European Union, Portugal decided that anyone caught with anything less than a 10 day supply would be treated through rehab and education and not imprisonment. Portugal has been able to take the money that would have gone towards policing and jailing drug users, and use it for the public good, in systems such as education, schooling, and rehabilitation. All the economic and societal benefit that Portugal has been able to see from this move has only come from drugs only being half way legal. The opportunities could be endless if they were to legalizing drugs all together.

The thought of making something legal that can kill you is a scary thought. I’m not advocating that everyone goes out and tries heroine when drugs are legal, I’m only saying that it’s time to start thinking about whether or not legalizing drugs will be a necessary evil. Like anything else in life, you can’t fix something if it’s already broke, time to come up with a new option.

References:

http://www.drugsense.org/cms/wodclock

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/08/drug-war-mass-incarceration_n_3034310.html

http://www.crfb.org/blogs/us-spends-80-billion-year-incarceration

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/08/drug-war-mass-incarceration_n_3034310.html

 

#drugs, #legalization, #portugal

The Finale? (Full Paper Attached)

---Originally published by Denae Mongeon at ECON 260 Comp Econ Systems – Spring 2017 – Denae Mongeon

There is not a single parent in the United States of America that doesn’t have some sort of opinion on Child Support and Child Support Laws.  Non-custodial or paying parents are in general against it.  And not against paying for the child/children but against donating their hard earned money to the custodial/receiving parent.  Most child …

Final Exam Response

 

Question 1 & 2:

The most insightful and thought provoking comment I read throughout this course came about in Topic 7: Agriculture, Food, and the State, from Alice McEwen. It was one quote specifically that caught my eye, “Secondly, when the world hunger and famine problem are discussed it is always synonymous with poverty and solely the issue of that specific nation, rather than making the nations who are exploiting them take responsibility.” It is very ironic that the U.S. spends billions each year in helping other countries, but much less money could be spent if you are to take the time to look at the root problem.

No question about it, the U.S. has exploited nations such as Africa for years now. During our imperialistic days, we ran the slave trade through their country, and although we have come a long way since then, we are still stealing from many 3rd to 2nd world countries in different ways. Sure we can say we are funneling in money through projects, factories, farming and other businesses, but that is clearly not helping Africa’s starving children.

As an American, I will always put our country first, and I will also continue to defend globalization, but after seeing this quote and going through the readings, I’ve definitely softened my stance. Although we are benefiting from our business and agriculture in Africa, that is the home of other people and we as Americans need to recognize that. I don’t know what it will take, but our government needs to take a step back and really look at what is going on. Although Donald Trump won’t be the guy to do it, we as citizens need to keep raising as much awareness as possible, so that we can change public opinion and hopefully policy.

Another reason I really appreciate Alice McEwen’s comment is because it states the issue and gets to the point. Too many times in this class I’ve seen people start their sentence with some sort of derogatory term about Americans. If you want those you disagree with to consider your opinion, starting a sentence with “Dumb greedy Americans” doesn’t help your case. Our country is too divided these days, if you want someone to understand you and possibly change their stance, you need to be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

Well done Alice.

 

Question 3:

 

I believe the biggest issue in our economic system has to do with the fact that corporations are allowed to donate money towards politics. The base of the American Democracy is freely elected officials serving the public good. However, in todays society a large majority of  American politicians don’t serve the public good. Rather, our “freely” elected officials are beholden to outside special interests. These special interests are looking for the betterment of their specific group or socio/economic class, not the greater good for the public. How can you blame them though? Capitalism is based off of improving your current position. Given the opportunity people will try to get ahead in life, and now that Corporations can vote, that is exactly what they will do. Lawmakers today write and pass laws based on outside interests, which does not help the general public. Something must be done with the way our politicians receive funds in order to run for government positions.

If outside interest and money was not a worry of lawmakers, people who want to make a serious change on the political and economic system would be able to make an impact. There are representatives and senators who really do care about the greater good of the people, but unfortunately there are too many who are in the back pocket of special interest groups. To fix this problem, we as people need to keep voting in those who really do care about us, and keep pushing the government to take away human rights from corporations.

As someone who considers themselves as fiscally conservative,  I do agree that corporations should be taxed less than they are now. I’m not against all big business, I just know that people are greedy, and given the opportunity they will take what they can get.  The problem is though, is that the wants and needs of corporations and that of people very rarely align. What does a coal mining company and the people living in the state of Michigan have in common? The answer is nothing, nothing at all, so if our government is out to serve its people, lets cut the corporations out of the picture.

#big-business, #corporations, #government

Final Exam Responses

---Originally published by Daoud Esa at ECON 260 Comp Econ Systems – Spring 2017 – Daoud Esa

Question 1. Probably the most insightful comment I’ve seen during the semester was one by Alexander Westerlund back in Topic 8. This topic was on college tuition and whether or not free tuition is a good idea in exchange for higher taxes. I’ve always agreed with free tuition in the sense that we need to […]

BLOG POST 3 – TOPIC…

BLOG POST 3 – TOPIC 8, WEEK ENDING MARCH 16

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Blog post 1

---Originally published by Alexander Westerlund at ECON 260 Comp Econ Systems – Spring 2017 – Alexander Westerlund

Do we need federal income tax? Income Tax by definition is tax levied by a government directly on income, especially an annual tax on personal income. According to the Congressional Budget Office, individual income taxes are the federal government’s top source of revenue. In 2008, for example, individuals paid about $1.15 trillion in income taxes, amounting … Continue reading "Blog post 1"

Blog Posts 2 – Topic…

Blog Posts 2 – Topic 12 (last) April 24, 2017 – Capitalism & Politics; Critical Perspectives

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Final Exam Responses

---Originally published by Alexander Westerlund at ECON 260 Comp Econ Systems – Spring 2017 – Alexander Westerlund

Question 1: What is the most (or one of the most) significant, insightful, or helpful comments that a fellow student made. Why? How did it help, change, or open your thinking. One of the most significant comments I read this semester came from Topic 10. Below is An excerpt from Britteny Baley’s comment. Any sort … Continue reading "Final Exam Responses"

Blog Post 1 – In…

Blog Post 1 – In regards to Topic 12 Intergenerational & Healthcare Thursday, April 13, 2017

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Final Questions

---Originally published by Denae Mongeon at ECON 260 Comp Econ Systems – Spring 2017 – Denae Mongeon

Question 1: Even all the way through to the end, I still find that Kody Hetfield 11:35 pm on February 6, 2017  comment on “Unit 3 – Death of the American Dream Readings” that “It is hard to argue with factual, quantitative statistics however I also believe that the “dream” is not completely dead, although …

Blog Post #3- Greed

---Originally published by Julia at ECON 260 Comp Econ Systems – Spring 2017 – Julia Voshell

The corporations and greed have destroyed the care and kindness of the world. Let’s talk real life. We pay outrageous amounts of money to corporations for services we can live without. A cell phone, internet, cable television, we can live without these things. The corporations are getting greedier and greedier and for what? So that …

Blog Post #2

---Originally published by Julia at ECON 260 Comp Econ Systems – Spring 2017 – Julia Voshell

The author describes how ” everything he was doing in Indonesia was more like a game than reality. It was as though we were playing a game of poker. We kept out cards hidden. We could not trust each other or count on the reliability of the information we shared.”  This quote from the book, …

Final Exam Responses

---Originally published by Brittney at ECON 260 Comp Econ Systems – Spring 2017 – Brittney Baley

Question 1: What is the most (or one of the most) significant, insightful, or helpful comments that a fellow student made. Why? How did it help, change, or open your thinking. Find a comment, post, or book project post created by one of your fellow students and explain to us why you liked it and […]

FINAL EXAM

---Originally published by Chibuzor at ECON 260 Comp Econ Systems – Spring 2017 – Chibuzor Ogbonna

Question 1: What is the most (or one of the most) significant, insightful, or helpful comments that a fellow student made. Why? How did it help, change, or open your thinking. The comment below is an excerpt from Julia. she posted it on topic 7 reading. The problem is not food or supply of resources …

Hey classmates, I can’t get…

Hey classmates, I can’t get my blog posts to post here and yes, I did click the ECON 260 check box. Can anyone help me? Thanks.

Blog post 5

---Originally published by Chibuzor at ECON 260 Comp Econ Systems – Spring 2017 – Chibuzor Ogbonna

What I have learned from taking this class is that there a lot of social issues that have the tendency affect the economy negatively or positively. The people of society are influential to the outcomes and results that we see. It is dangerous for us to keep going at the rate we are moving without …

BOOK REVIEW-CREATING A WORLD WITHOUT POVERTY-SOCIAL BUSINESS AND THE FUTURE OF CAPITALISM.

---Originally published by Chibuzor at ECON 260 Comp Econ Systems – Spring 2017 – Chibuzor Ogbonna

This book was written by the author of the New York’s best seller “Banker to the Poor”, Yunus Muhammad and published by PublicAffairs™ in the United States. This book lays out and implements a plan to alleviate poverty in Bangladesh and also around the world through a process of creating micro credit banks and non-profit …