Economics @ ITT

An era of cheap food may be drawing to a close

Posted in economics by ittecon on January 31, 2011

While grain prices remain below the historic highs of 2008, they could remain stronger for longer this year as intense competition among crops for land use and depleted grain bins make it an even greater challenge to restore equilibrium.

via An era of cheap food may be drawing to a close – Business – Retail – Food Inc. – msnbc.com.

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The Story of Stuff

Posted in economics, environment, International Economics, macroeconomics, Policy Issues, Trade by ittecon on January 27, 2011

Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfactions, our ego satisfactions, in consumption. The measure of social status, of social acceptance, of prestige, is now to be found in our consumptive patterns. The very meaning and significance of our lives today expressed in consumptive terms. The greater the pressures upon the individual to conform to safe and accepted social standards, the more does he tend to express his aspirations and his individuality in terms of what he wears, drives, eats- his home, his car, his pattern of food serving, his hobbies.

These commodities and services must be offered to the consumer with a special urgency. We require not only “forced draft” consumption, but “expensive” consumption as well. We need things consumed, burned up, worn out, replaced, and discarded at an ever increasing pace. We need to have people eat, drink, dress, ride, live, with ever more complicated and, therefore, constantly more expensive consumption. The home power tools and the whole “do-it-yourself” movement are excellent examples of “expensive” consumption.

—Victor Lebow

Martin Jacques: Understanding the rise of China

Posted in economics, International Economics by ittecon on January 27, 2011

http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf
Speaking at a TED Salon in London, economist Martin Jacques asks: How do we in the West make sense of China and its phenomenal rise? The author of “When China Rules the World,” he examines why the West often puzzles over the growing power of the Chinese economy, and offers three building blocks for understanding what China is and will become.

Financial Crisis Was Avoidable, Inquiry Concludes

Posted in economics, macroeconomics, Policy Issues, Regulation by ittecon on January 26, 2011

The 2008 financial crisis was an “avoidable” disaster caused by widespread failures in government regulation, corporate mismanagement and heedless risk-taking by Wall Street, according to the conclusions of a federal inquiry.

via Financial Crisis Was Avoidable, Inquiry Concludes – NYTimes.com.

The Story of Bottled Water (2010)

Posted in economics, environment, externalities, Policy Issues by ittecon on January 25, 2011

The Demand-Side Temptation

Posted in economics, Keynesian Economics, macroeconomics by ittecon on January 25, 2011

Nick Rowe makes a good point: most of the time, in market economies, sellers feel constrained while buyers don’t. I’m somewhat surprised that he doesn’t mention why: it’s because perfect competition is actually rare, because oligopoly or monopolistic competition — in which prices exceed marginal cost — is actually the norm.

via The Demand-Side Temptation – NYTimes.com.

Meet the New Media Monopoly – OtherWords

Posted in antitrust, economics, Policy Issues, Regulation by ittecon on January 24, 2011

For more than a century, American law has recognized the destructive power of corporate monopolies. When one company controls an entire resource, means of production, or delivery system for products, it gets an unfair advantage over competitors. It can overcharge them out of existence or drive them into bankruptcy. Since Teddy Roosevelt’s presidency, our government has tried to ensure that monopolistic business practices don’t destroy fair pricing and consumer choice.

Meet the New Media Monopoly – OtherWords.

Not Lovin’ It — McDonald’s to Increase Prices

Posted in economics, microeconomics by ittecon on January 24, 2011

Chief Financial Officer Pete Bensen said McDonald’s would “raise prices where it makes sense” to offset some, but not all, of the cost increases.

via Not lovin’ it — McDonald’s to increase prices – Business – Consumer news – Food Inc. – msnbc.com.

Counting the jobs lost to China

Posted in economics, employment, macroeconomics, Policy Issues by ittecon on January 20, 2011

China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001 was touted as a win-win development that would benefit both the U.S. and Chinese economies. Almost a decade later, it is clear that American workers have suffered significant losses. In a new paper, EPI International Economist Robert Scott calculates that 2.4 million American jobs were lost between 2001 and 2008 as a result of increased trade with China, and that those job losses have occurred in every U.S. state, Congressional district, and most industries.

via Counting the jobs lost to China.

Healthcare Reform: Rhetoric vs. Reality

Posted in economics, Moral Hazard, Policy Issues by ittecon on January 20, 2011

Virtually everyone agrees that our healthcare system is unsustainable in its current form. The impact of escalating healthcare costs combined with mediocre value created for each dollar spent has finally entered the national consciousness.

via Healthcare Reform: Rhetoric vs. Reality – Nicole Perlroth – Everything Ventured – Forbes.