Economics @ ITT

EPA Energy Scam

Posted in economics, environment, Humour, microeconomics, Moral Hazard, Policy Issues, Regulation by ittecon on March 30, 2010

It goes without saying that everybody needs a gas alarm clock, but it is important to find one that is energy efficient. For this, the EPA offers a consumer service to assess product efficiency.

EnergyScam – Business – The Atlantic.

Much may be said about how inefficient the government is and how this is preceisely why it should not be running a health care system. What will not be said is how many times time happens in a corporate setting, whethe rdeliberately or otherwise.

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FDA Pressured to Combat Rising ‘Food Fraud’

Posted in economics, microeconomics by ittecon on March 30, 2010

Ths Washington Post article (free account registration may be required),  discusses food fraud, wherein people pass a less expensive food off as a more expensive one in order to make more money, passing off Mississippi paddlefish eggs for Sturgeon caviar. Some have been asking the US Food and Drug Administration to do more to prevent this, but the FDA has been more concerned with food saftey issues. Like it or not, this is an prime instance of the trade-offs and opportunity cost.

The Corporation – Privatised Water in Bolivia

Posted in economics, microeconomics, Policy Issues by ittecon on March 29, 2010

In the class, Economics and Change, the following question was posed for discussion:

Some people think that the more democratic a country, the greater reliance it will place of free markets. Do you think this is true? Explain.

The standard response conflates Democracy with free markets. This clip from the DVD, The Corporation, shows the reactions in Bolivia to free market treatment of water.

This is the index to the entire DVD.

What Health Care Reform Means for Small Business

Posted in economics, microeconomics, Policy Issues by ittecon on March 29, 2010

Just a summary of how the recent health care package means to small busnienss…

What health care reform means for your small business.

Texas High Court Hears Strip Club “Pole Tax” Case

Posted in economics, microeconomics, Policy Issues, Regulation by ittecon on March 26, 2010

Texas high court hears strip club ‘pole tax’ case.

Is it proper or not for the state to have the position that live nude dancing should be discouraged?

Government uses its power to promote and discourage all sorts of behaviour through taxation and subsidisation. Is this a different application of that power, or is it somehow different? Are the social effects of strip clubs a negative externality that lead to sexual abuse, or is this an abuse of power to promote a moral agenda and restrict freedom of expression?

Have You Caught Gold Fever? The Value of That Shiny Metal Is as Artificial as Paper Money

Posted in economics, microeconomics by ittecon on March 24, 2010

Have You Caught Gold Fever? The Value of That Shiny Metal Is as Artificial as Paper Money.

It’s all supply and demand. Gold is no more valuable that perception allows, so don’t get caught up in the emotions and fall into the trap of believing gold is an inflation hedge. If you fall for this one, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.

Why Are We Afraid to Tax the Super-Rich?

Why Are We Afraid to Tax the Super-Rich? In recent years it seems as though more of our policy is designed to subsidise the haves and punish or villify the have nots. Since about 1980, the mantra in the US has been all about Free Markets and fundamentalism, but is this really how it is? More importantly, is this good policy?

Who Broke America’s Jobs Machine?

Posted in economics, employment, Policy Issues by ittecon on March 17, 2010

If any single number captures the state of the American economy over the last decade, it is zero. That was the net gain in jobs between 1999 and 2009—nada, nil, zip. By painful contrast, from the 1940s through the 1990s, recessions came and went, but no decade ended without at least a 20 percent increase in the number of jobs.

Article

What if our economy was not built on competition?

Posted in economics, microeconomics, Policy Issues by ittecon on March 16, 2010

Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom talks about her work on cooperation in economics. Through almost 50 years of research on the matter, Ms Ostrom sees that human progress is often made through cooperation and not competition. We do not have to experience a “tragedy of the commons.”

Bipartisan Tax Fairness and Simplification Act of 2010

Posted in economics, Income Redistribution, Policy Issues, Regulation by ittecon on March 15, 2010

Senator Wyden’s Announcement, a 2-page summary (PDF), and the entire bill (PDF).

Is this proposal fair and simplified?