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)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Linear Regression

Some Topics Covered in Class

"We're all going to be obese by the year 2048" --  Is a Wall-E world on the horizon?

Check out this New Scientist Article -- Logical Armour: A Primer in Mathematical Self-Defense for an additional info on Ellenberg's idea about the obesity epidemic.

For a more mathematical take on linear regression try Using Linear Regression (For Dummies)

  • Correlation Vs. Causation

Correlation and causality: Understanding why correlation does not imply causality (even though many in the press and some researchers often imply otherwise)

Funny Graphs -- Correlation does NOT equal Causation
10 Correlations that are Not Causations -- How Stuff Works

  • Thoughts from Freakonomics Chapter 5, What Makes A Perfect Parent

Freakonomics Study Guide PDF *Please make sure, as a parent, you feel comfortable discussing these topics with your student.  Freakonomics is thought provoking and may be offensive at times.

  • Dangers of Guns and Pools
Marketing and Fear Mongering

     OpEd Piece
   The Guardian Article, "SUVs, handwash and FOMO: how the advertising industry embraced fear"

  • Babette's Feast

Incentives -- Babette's were unique and not based on the traditional Economic thought

If you choose, write an essay describing the Economic themes in Babette's Feast.  Think about concepts of incentive, returns, investment, and loss.  How is this a view of grace?

  • Game of Life
Choices and Consequences


"'Economy is making the most out of life.'  Economics is the study of how we do that........  Economics starts with one very important assumption: Individuals act to make themselves as well off as possible.  To use the jargon of the profession, individuals seek to maximize their own utility, which is a similar concept to happiness, only broader."  Wheelan in Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science


We'll keep working this definition next week. 

PLEASE make sure to have your decade essay ready.  Tomorrow I will post another entry about how to apply your "chance" life events in the Game.  Remember the object of the game is not to WIN or BEAT someone else, but to develop your personal Economic Philosophy and understanding.  

Also, look for real-life examples of fear mongering and economic fallout.  This could be in public policy or in advertising/marketing -- it could even be in the comics.  

Read One of the following:
The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway
The Facts in the Case of the Great Beef Contract by Twain