Thursday, April 16, 2015


Classroom Discussion

In class we discussed words we associate with the term currency.  Many of the words were related to monetary forms throughout history with some words being interchangeable between Economics and Psychology/Sociology.  I mentioned an article about money-changing.  Here's the link to it.  

Khan Academy has a series of 9 videos on Currency.  To further your understanding of the concept please watch them.  

Currency exchange introduction: Introduction to how exchange rates can fluctuate


This is a quick but thorough news show about Bitcoin.  It has some issues, but may be a revolutionary technology.

Check out these other two videos to learn more -- one is a Future Spoiler.

Check out these

The Federal Reserve

I briefly mentioned the Federal Reserve and their role in US Economics.  Here are some videos that explain more:



  • Identify the Economic Philosophy of the potential and declared Presidential Candidate
          Here are some links to get you started: 
                       NY Times Who Is Running for President
              2016 Presidential Candidates on the Issues
  • Come up with your own investment philosophy.  
           Here are some links to get you started: 
                       Dave's Investment Philosophy
                       Types of Investments (Investopedia)
                       Wells Fargo Investment Types

  • In your game of life figure out what would be your ideal retirement option.  Create a 5 point outline of specifics.  Ex. investments, savings, home, etc.  

  • As we discussed the GDP, I mentioned well-being, what are four things that are central to your perception of well-being?  This will be personal and unique to you.  How will that impact your choices in the Game of Life?  How do societal changes impact you?  What are ways you can live your values?  Write a short essay exploring these questions.  

We will have a special guest for the last two classes.  Please come in prepared and ready to learn!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Aggregate Demand and All sorts of Math -- maybe

Aggregate Demand

Please watch this and the additional videos:

Aggregate demand: Understanding how aggregate demand is different from demand for a specific good or service. Justifications for the aggregate demand curve being downward sloping

Light Stuff

So we are going to be studying about the black market.  It is serious stuff, but before we get to that I'd like you to take a look at some videos that are entertaining and will give you some ideas of what to do to save money and some jobs to avoid, since they no longer exist!

Math -- maybe

Mathematics (numbers) and Economics go hand in hand.  I liked how the one Economist said that math is the language economists use to communicate specifically.  Understanding formulas and how to interpret data is important in various careers and in your own life.

Here's a link to GeoFRED which is Geographical Economic Data.  As you have worked on your Game of Life and various other assignments you've had to deal with data.  Please take some time to explore GeoFRED.  Parents may be interested in specific lesson plans available through the website.

We'll examine data further in class and through some assignments.


1) Make sure you are familiar with Hayek and Keynes  and figure out WHO they influenced (presidents, etc) and WHO influenced them.  Try out these links to help you:
Those are just some of the links that may help -- the Web is HUGE!  Be careful out there and don't just stick with wikipedia.  It is a good starting point, but make sure you are exploring quality sites.  

2) Sutter's Mill (GOLD Fever)  Check out his life looking at land rights and mineral rights.  
3) Define Piracy within your decade.  How does it differ from historical pirates of the Golden Age of Piracy?  Any similarities?  How does piracy play out (what does it look like; is it respected; is it regulated; etc)

4) Compare and Contrast the economies of North and South Korea.  

5) Keep thinking about Robin Hood and our class discussion on class (HA!)  Are there any other legendary figures that we could examine in a similar way?  Try to come up with a few!

Don't forget we won't have coop next week, so this blog is either really packed or just right!  

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Economic Thought

We're going to have to rewind a little bit and go over some basics.

Please check out Khan Academy's Videos on Micro and Macroeconomics.  Watching those videos will give you the background lecture to help make sense of the economic concepts covered in the avg High School Econ class.  We are touching on these topics by using a global approach.

Class Discussion this week centered on different Economic philosophies and thought.  Here are some timelines that cover the development of Economic Thought.

Timeline of Economic Thought

Indepth Timeline of Economic Thought

Economic Philosophy and Philosophers are essential to understanding today's view of Economics.  These videos can help you understand some of the main philosophies,

When you watch this video listen for:

  • Laws
  • Laissez faire
  • Malthus
  • Wealth and Wealth Gap
  • Class
  • Competition (Family Business)
  • Reforms and Regulations

These next two videos may have some elements of excess that can be offensive, but it is used in a way to explain the danger.  It is not glorified.  Check out the names of the bartenders.  Who do you know with those first names that were in the Fed around the time of the most recent recession?

Check out the names on the robes of those helping the fighters.  Make sure to look for a cameo.

I mentioned a NPR news blurb.  It fits well with what we are learning now.  Here's the link.  It is about the next move of the Fed on Quantitative Easing.

This video is a brief history of Economics.

Book Review of The Grand Pursuit by Sylvia Nasar

And here is an article from Freakonomics on how Malthus' theory is still with us.

I mentioned the books:
The Hamblen County Library has all of them available for check-out.  As I mentioned some of the content in these books may not be palatable to everyone (I did not like all of the concepts, but do like the challenge of thought).  It is an interesting look at the Dismal Science and it does peak my desire to understand Economics.  In the next few weeks we are going to explore black-markets, corruption/cheating, and regulation.  Watch these short videos about some interesting areas of cheating: 

Please read this article about the growth of shadow economies from Forbes.  It introduces regulation.  We'll continue to explore thoughts on what you think about free markets and regulation.


  • Figure out your budget for a wedding.  Check out Cost of a for a breakdown of wedding costs.  Specifics for Hamblen County are also available.  How could overspending impact a marriage years from the wedding?  
  • Explore the cost of a child's first year of life. has a Baby Cost Calculator.  Are there things not listed on the calculator you think should be included?  List some cultural expectations Americans have about babies and their needs.  
  • How much do you cost?  I know you are all PRICELESS (I am not being sarcastic here -- you are all extremely valuable!)  Try to figure out your spending and the spending your parents do for you.  If you have a job or help around the house, list ways you off-set some of the cost? Check out this link to the USDA Expenditures on Children.  How do you hope to choose to spend on your children?  We discussed some choices parents make and the importance of being compatible with your spouse on these choices.  
  • Make sure to review your decade report and explore how Economic Philosophers and Theories impacted that decade?
  • Also, please figure out a black-market (shadow economy) product(s) from your decade (list is fine here).
  • Explore your own thoughts -- who do you side with (Keynes or Hayek)?  Why?

Friday, March 6, 2015

Investments and Wealth

Wealth --

What Causes Wealth? FEE Article

Defining Wealth:

Net Worth (Calculator)
Accumulation of Resources
The Rich List and Wealth Distribution
Assets vs. Debt (Household)

Austrian Economics: 


Decade Report

We will be doing these in class this Wednesday.

Game of Life

  1. Figure out what events impacted your life from what we did on Wednesday.  It is up to you to figure out how you want to interpret the results.  It will take some understanding of what the categories are, but I have faith that you can do it!
  2. Marriage -- Ladies -- you need to decide what job you would like your imaginary husband to have (President is not an option unless you TRULY have visions of that); Men -- you need to decide if your wife will be staying home with your children or working (working from home is an option, but you may need to factor in childcare).
  3. Children -- Group 1 has two children; Group 2 has four children; Use these numbers to figure out childcare costs, food, etc.  Make sure to think about schooling, activities and other costs that may get overlooked.  
  4. Investments -- Please figure out three investments.  Make sure to investigate different types (Retirement, Real Estate, Stocks, etc).  Please choose one stock to study over the next three weeks.  
We will go over the Game of Life, so if you have questions please bring them in next week.  I will bring a chart in to record your card/die results, your choices and your interpretations.  We will be looking at how the deck of cards and die rolls have impacted your choices.  

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Creative Destruction

'I, Pencil' Movie

If you have not had a chance to read 'I, Pencil' please make sure to read it before next week (it was one of the pamphlets I handed out at registration).  To reinforce the article here's the movie: 

Creative Destruction:

We will be discussing some major topics throughout class.  The term creative destruction gives us a platform to discuss these topics like innovation (check out this article about these innovators to watch in 2015), markets, change (economic change, etc), trade, and how these are different within different economic ideologies.

Power of the Market Milton Friedman

Economic Philosophy and Ideology Resources: 

Historical Perspectives of Economic Ideology in US History: 

My great uncle served in the CCC.  This is a way history touches today.  Economic policies of Government have immediate and long-term impacts.  Make sure you have your decade report ready!

Thoughts from Clay Christensen for THE GAME OF LIFE

For Fun


  • Decade Report
  • Watch the videos on here
  • Figure out one or two item(s) that has been the victim of creative destruction
  • Investigate some political policy or governmental program and create a chart that examines the economic philosophy (or philosophies) that support the program.  This can be a historical program or policy or current one.  (Chart just has to be a short outline, but you need to have some primary documents to support your outline -- not just Wikipedia).  

Hope to see you next week!  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Economic Impact

Snow, Snow, Snow

We've had interesting weather over the past few days.   With this weather I've begun to wonder about the economic impact of snow and blizzards.  On Monday, I even asked the cashier at Wal-Mart about the economic boom for them with the mention of snow by the local news stations.  

There is usually a run on the stores in East TN with the mention of snow with families preparing for the bad weather.  But does this short term boom impact the economy very much?  It does impact individuals and families -- being out of work for hourly employees can be difficult and sometimes if they do attempt to make it to work the risks of a wreck from driving on icy roads may outweigh the benefits.  Sometimes there is the risk of losing a job,  So how do employers figure out when to require employees to report?  

The North East has been under several FEET of snow for weeks now.  This does have an economic impact, but will that have a significant long term impact?  What about the impact on the people living through the event?  The Homeless.  The Safety Workers.  The Linemen.  The Drivers.  The Healthcare Workers,  And all the others you can think of that are on the frontline in any natural event or disaster.  The economy of the US is interconnected and this winter storm, named Octavia, has caused havoc all over the South.  

Tennessee and several surrounding states have issued a State of Emergency.  Does that declaration have an economic impact?  What do you think may be hidden costs of winter weather events?  How could a winter weather event impact your "Game of Life?"

Risk and reward introduction: Basic introduction to risk and reward

The recent WinterJam event in Knoxville also made my head spin on economic topics.  I wasn't able to find any specifics on the costs associated with the event, but I did check out the FAQ on JamNation.  

At any large event there are producers and consumers.  I was interested in the cost of putting on a concert and how those cost were broken down.  Even a free concert has a cost.

So that is just some of the ramblings of my mind over the past few days.  I can't even watch Netflix without thinking about how the shows would be great ways to teach you guys some Economic concepts.  Big Rig Bounty Hunters and Undercover Boss are two of the shows that make me think of Economics.  Trucking is HUGE to the American Economy and I was awakened to how I take the commerce of our roads for granted.

Enjoy your snow day off from Coop, but please try to keep thinking in a economic way.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Game of Life Instructions

 Here are instructions for the different types of cards in our GAME of LIFE.  

This is a work in progress and we'll be making sense of the cards, die rolls, and coin flips in class.

Market Value Info: Congressional Research Council, "The Size and Role of Government: Economic Issues

Natural Disaster Info: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, "The Economics of Natural Disasters"

This scale is one that has a specific numerical value.  We will be talking about percentages as we study different Economic concepts and hopefully these simple calculations will help give you a deeper understanding. State of the American Dream (may have bias)