Feb 28, 2010

Feb 26, 2010

Weekend Reading- The Swindle Edition

Matt Taibbi comes up huge again.
One of those "Boy, if this doesn't make you mad, nothing ever will" articles.


So there I was two days ago, just minding my own business, strolling across the campus of GSU, when I was approached by an odd looking man with a crazy look in his eyes. He said to me, "Quick, name your top five websites for teaching high school econ." Without hesitating I gave the following:

2. BLS.gov
3. Gapminder
4. Commanding Heights
5. Econblog

It's always good to know what works in the classroom.

Feb 24, 2010

R.I.P. Big Foolish Vehicle

It seemed like a good idea at the time.
I always thought of the GM Hummer as the big giant slob of the auto industry. Sucking up more than its fair share of resources, taking up extra parking spaces at the local Food O Rama.

Adios glutton.

Feb 23, 2010

What Can Brown Trade For You?

Looking for a good example to use when discussing SSEIN2 e (Evaluate arguments for and against free trade)? Of course you are. This article can definitely go a long way in explaining why/how international trade can benefit the good citizens of Georgia. UPS CEO, and great friend of the Georgia Council, Scott Davis nails it when talking about the importance of global trade.

Whether you are working for UPS, Micromeritics Instrument Corp, KIA, Coca-Cola, or if you are just looking to purchase a t-shirt that's not going to set you back a ton of money, international trade can benefit you (and your students) in a number of ways. More trade= more markets= new customers= more choice= lower prices= additional growth opportunities= and on and on and on.

International trade is a huge part of Georgia's economy. Tens of thousands of jobs in this state are the direct result of trade. Need a little proof? Visit the Georgia Ports Authority to see lists of some of the goods that are being traded to and from Georgia.

Feb 22, 2010

SMG Spring Leaders (week 3)

The Westminster Schools still have it going on at the end of the third week of competition with a team at #1 ($146,334) and another at #2 ($138,756). Rounding out the top five are a team from Madras Middle School ($134,982), and two teams from South Central Middle School ($133,230 and $130,085). Good work everyone!

Feb 15, 2010

My City Was Gone

And then they came for the churches.
This is what happens to a city after decades of structural unemployment takes its toll.

SMG Spring Leaders (week 2)

Westminster! Westminster! Westminster!.....is the cheer you are hearing all across this great state of ours this morning. Same school, top three spots. $141,300, $138,872 and $121,589 are the totals.

Rounding out the top five are a team from Mount de Sales Academy and another from the Paideia School of Atlanta (Brett Hardin in the house!)

Feb 14, 2010

Weekend Reading (Olympic Version)

I do love the winter games. A chance to see some really crazy sports that only show up on tv every four years. I mean, you can watch about 139,000 baseball games a year, 99 football games on any Saturday in October, or 312 basketball games during an average day in January, and each one will be no more exciting than the next.

Let me see LeBron James do this. What are the odds of ANY football playing hot-shot athlete at Big State U having the guts to pull this off? How about you A-Rod? You can hit a little white ball pretty far but can you do this? I will take bobsledding, curling (oh how I dream of doing this one day) and skeleton over anything the NBA or MLB can offer up during the big game of the week. Heck, I would pay just to see the Dutch speed skating fans! They could be an event all by themselves.

Speaking of events, the games themselves almost always bring up the great debate on whether or not a city can afford to pay to host one of these extravaganzas. Vancouver, and host province British Columbia, are looking at some serious cost overruns and deficits as a result of playing host to the 2010 Winter Games. This should not come as any surprise to anyone. Seems turning a profit by hosting the Olympics is kind of hard to pull off.

Feb 11, 2010

Are Blizzards Good? It Depends!

As a guy who spent 30 years of his life living in Buffalo, NY, I think I know a thing or two about blizzards. Ask any Buffalonian of a certain age where they were during the Blizzard of '77 and they will probably tell you more than you want to know about their harrowing experience. (I was stranded at my grandmother's house for five days in case you were wondering, thanks for asking.)

Here is what I have learned about blizzards over the years:

#1. They stink unless you are at the age where playing outside in snow still seems attractive.

#2. They are incredibly frustrating as you generally get stuck somewhere for a long period of time.

#3. Sooner or later you are going to be asked to shovel a driveway or a sidewalk or maybe even a house.

#4. Driving in them is a huge drag and extremely dangerous.

OK, what I have recently learned about blizzards is this- they are really, really expensive. D.C. has spent what, like $500 zillion dollars in the last week trying to recover from the load(s) of snow that was dumped on there?

Blizzard costs have me thinking about my favorite econ answer, the one that you can use whenever someone asks you anything about economics..."It depends."

Question: Are blizzards good for the economy?
Answer: It depends.

Bad if you can't work because you are snowed in for a week. Bad if you own a restaurant and nobody can make it out to eat. Bad if you are a teacher and you learn that you have to make up snow days well into June.

Good if you sell shovels or snow blowers. Good if you own a snow plowing business. Really good if you sell Snuggies and goose down jackets. Fantastic if you are the power company!

Feb 10, 2010

EconEdLink Goodness

Our good friends at EconEdLink have come through once again. Pretty soon you are going to find yourself preparing your unit on the Fed and Monetary Policy. What lesson(s) will you use? How on earth are you going to teach a bunch of 17 and 18 year olds about the FOMC? No problem. This sweet new lesson is the answer to your dreams. Great resources, great integration of concepts you just taught AND incredibly timely. How could you not use this lesson?

Feb 9, 2010

Good Luck Making Sense of That

Looking for a little something for your kids to read in class? You could start right here with this interesting and timely article on economic theory. There is a little something in there for everyone.

Many many many economists simply got their economic forecasting wrong. Why? Read the article to find out more about this question and others.

If I was in your shoes I would assign this to my students and then require them to critique what author Rana Foroohar has to say. Or maybe I would have them pick a side.... Are the "liberal" economists right? Are the "conservative" economists right? Explain. Kids just love the "explain" part.

SMG Spring Leaders (week 1)

And there off! Looks like a team from Parkview High School got a great jump on things as they ended week one with a portfolio of $145,960.34. Not bad for the first week! Sitting in second place is a team from Westminster. You may remember Westminster from such things as.... winning the fall 2009 Stock Market Game! Rounding out the top three is a team from South Central Middle School in Bartow County. Keep it up everyone, nine weeks to go.

Feb 4, 2010

Super Sized Line

Has it really been 20 years since McDonald's made its way to Moscow? I remember hearing stories of the joy and happiness many Muscovites experienced on that day in 1990. I just listened to an interview given by a women who was there for the grand opening. She said she remembers the smiles of the workers more than anything else. As thousands of patrons poured into the restaurant to order the delicious fat-laden goodness, the workers kept right on welcoming everyone with a smile. This woman mentioned that she thought the workers were laughing at her and could not get over how they kept cleaning everything.

Turns out the good people of McDonald's, who certainly know a thing or two about customer service, had spent a tremendous amount of time training their workers to be great hosts. Any prior experience in the Soviet service industry would automatically exclude you from the hiring process. That pretty much sums up the Soviet experiment doesn't it?

McDonald's, which had an amazing 2009, (can you say inferior goods?), recently announced that it will be opening 45 restaurants in Russia this year, adding to the stable of 245 restaurants already operating in that country. McDonald's Russia today is quite a bit different from McDonald's Russia circa 1990 as more and more businesses are contributing to the making of those gut-busting grease bombs.

How do you say "Super Size" in Russian?

Feb 2, 2010

Budget Cutting Loveliness

I always loved having the kids "cut" the national budget. Tell them they are working for the President and he wants them to slash X number of dollars from the overall yearly budget. REAL easy right? Well, before they get to slashing this and eliminating that, be sure to tell them that they can't touch net interest on the debt and monkeying around with Social Security and National Defense is probably not going to win many votes back in Iowa.

This incredibly amazing interactive graph will make this budget cutting exercise better, easier, cooler and maybe even the best thing your students do all week. Where was this when I was in the classroom?

Feb 1, 2010

We're #1, We're #1, We're #1...........

Next time that college pal of yours from Alabama or Mississippi starts getting all up in your grill about how their state has higher SAT scores you can come back with this nugget...Georgia is a national leader in something after all! Take that South Carolina!