Setting Up Your Course Blog

A key part of this course will be reflecting on your learning as it is occurring.  To that end, each student should set up a blog on UMWblogs.org  .  (If you already have a blog, you may use that one instead.)  Go to http://umwblogs.org/wp-signup.php and fill out the form to create a blog.  When it is up and running, please email me the url so I can put it on the course website.  You can also use UMW.Domains .  Let me know if you have any questions.

8 Responses to Setting Up Your Course Blog

  1. laxer4life says:

    http://www.wnd.com/2014/04/dismal-gdp-triggers-double-dip-recession-fear/

    This website might be a little out there…and by a little I mean I think that Alex Jones would find it too crazy. (if you don’t know who Alex Jones is watch this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWQPZ-taYBs…doesn’t matter your stance on the issue…dude is OUT THERE)

    This artilce basically says that there is a second and worse recession right around the corner. He cites CNN, Bloomberg, and the New York Times as well as Economist John Williams, author of the ShadowStats.com blog, as his proof. The logic is there, as are some of the crazy numbers. This is the second paragraph from the CNN article “A family, as defined by the BLS, is a group of two or more people who live together and who are related by birth, adoption or marriage. In 2013, there were 80,445,000 families in the United States and in 16,127,000—or 20 percent–no one had a job.” If that is true then I am honestly without words…which is an extremely rare thing…that is until I scrolled down a little bit and saw the graph. It shows percent of families that do not have a working member, and although 20% sounds incredibly high…it is only a couple points above the near 20 year low of about 17, which make me and my soon to be needing a job self feel slightly better.

  2. laxer4life says:

    So I decided that this post should be about a book that came out some time ago. It is called Fortune tellers, astrologers and economists and it’s by Walter Friedman. It is an interesting concept, to compare economists to fortune tellers, but it does not seem too far fetched. I think the only difference is that one acknowledges they cannot truly predict the future and the other is economics. This book focuses on a woman named Evangeline Adams was an astrologer who offered stock market tips and predicted business trends for affluent New Yorkers in the early 20th century.  She gains more notoriety by successfully predicting the stock market crash of 1929. This is very interesting that Friedman would choose her as the first person to talk about in his novel, and then switch to several different economists including Irving Fisher. There is no difference claimed between the fortune teller and the economists, they all are able to predict some of the future.

  3. laxer4life says:

    Well this is slightly upsetting. Here I’ve been touting
    Merica and saying that there isn’t a thing any country in the world could do but envy us….and then China goes ahead and tries to become the world’s largest economy. Accoridng to the article, “annual GDP growth rates of 9-10% for 30 years, China has quickly become the second largest economy in the world, overtaking all but the United States.Even with China slowing, its economy is still expanding at double the pace of America’s.” I can’t really imagine this is good for the United States, but in the immortal words of Phil Rizzuto, HOLY COW!!! 9-10% for YEARS. That is simply incredible. I do wonder in the upcoming future about what the Chinese will do now that their workers are actually trying to demand wages and be ya know, real people and all. The government may crack down and remind them that the only those who are the most free in a free society get to enjoy the real benefits and go full Animal Farm style. Or they will start to slow down by increasing margins because as China gets more wealthy and its citizens want more freedoms and wages, businesses will be less inclined to invest in it. They will most likely, and have already been moving to countries like India where the people are still beyond impoverished and will probably continue to be for the foreseeable future.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/business-27216705

  4. laxer4life says:

    So this isn’t exactly macroeconomics in the straightforward sense, but thought I’d write a post about the possible future by comparing it to the past, specifically the summer of 1939, since I have been told that is kind of the job and all of economists. So I thought after seeing this http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-27259614 that I would just go ahead and draw some similarities. And if you’re wondering why this is on a macro page, it’s a mix of I get bored very easily with too many “mainstream facts” and if war does happen that will affect every economy in the world in massive ways….hence this post. So here goes.
    Well…for starters this is the first time that one European nation has seized territory from another since the end of World War II…ergo the last “peaceful” time this happened was the summer of 1939. Only a few month prior to that (March 15, 1939) Germany had “illegally” seized the Sudetenland (territory that was legally owned by, constituted a good portion of Czechoslovakia) in the prior year. Although a treaty was signed, it was done so only out of want to appease Hitler (and many were not please by it..mostly because the Czechoslovakians had not say in the matter. March 15, 1939 is when the Nazis invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia (that was completely illegal). The reasons were a mix of a need for “Lebensraum” (German for living space) and to “free” the people of German heritage living there. Putin said in his speech that Russia has no plans to take other regions of Ukraine after Crimea and Sevastopol “Don’t believe those who say Russia will take other regions after Crimea. We don’t need that.”….Hitler made those same statements after Austria and Czechoslovakia (I am sure they can be found in English i just simply am too lazy too look atm). Both reasons are what the Russians are using now.

    Although it might be a little bit of a stretch (and was earlier then the summer of 1939, but I basically just meant that as I fear that a global war may be in the not too distant future), I do see many similarities between the troops that were sent into Ukraine and those the Nazi’s sent in to quell the riots (riots that the Nazis were the cause of) 

    However, one of the biggest reasons for this bold action is that Putin is claiming that Ukraine might have attempted to join NATO. NATO and the EU (which Ukraine’s wanting to join sparked off the who controversy) both might, and should probably act (at least if they are staying true to several promises they’ve made).
    But what scares me the most is how important the port of Sevastopol. It’s the only Russian port on the Black Sea and enables them to move their military quickly. It would be the same as if a government that was anti USA took over in Panama and we were afraid of loosing our ability to use the canal. For a nation as powerful and prideful as Russia, as well as Putin spending 20 of the 50 minutes of his speech regaling everyone of how bad the West has been to them…I do not think they will be backing down under any circumstance if it means loosing their control over the port
    If you were thinking of some counter arguments, allow me to address them.
    Just because a country has been fighting for a while doesn’t change anything. The Germans and the French had been fighting over the Alsace Lorranie region for nearly a century by the time WWII started. Although I do not pretend to be an expert in the history of Russia, I would be hesitant after reading about the many people including many Muslims who would not be so quick to call themselves Russian. Plus those who are pro Russian are the ones not getting their lives threatened. (my roommate has two Ukrainian friends who made this point). Plus, last I checked…the de facto “rights” that Russia is claiming is by no means legal, therefore Russia may feel very entitled to the region, but that does not change the sovereignty of the nation of Ukraine. Furthermore, just because a country used to be occupied at one point, does not mean that they want, nor should be forced at gun point to give up their independence, de facto or otherwise. That is what the riots are about. The people want to join the EU, but the puppet government that is controlled from Moscow didn’t want to so that the Russians would not lose power in the region. I do believe that both are territorial in nature. Hitler proved to be more ambitious, but as the original point indicates, in the summer of 1939 that military ambition had not been brought to full light. (Again, I do not think Putin and Hitler are one in the same, but they are dictators who both elected to use military force on their neighbors. It happens all the time in the world, but when it happens in Europe, it is different for a litany of reasons). If you’re still of the thought “well the Soviets use to own Ukraine, so it makes sense why they’re back….you’re just wrong. By that logic of Russia just wanting what it has controlled for 150 years then why should England not have a major claim in India or Australia or even Canada? The only major ports in the pacific that the English owned were in those countries, but if they felt the need to send in troops would that be ok? No, it wouldn’t, not because the nations are not neighbors, but because they are separate nations with independent sovereignty to rule themselves and decide what goes on within their own borders (with obvious exceptions to genocide or other human tragedies.)
    And if you think there is nothing in Ukraine worth going to war over then you have forgotten one major factor in the equation. Oil. Ukraine has loads of it. That, above all else, is enough to garner the interest of other nations, especially those who depend on the pipelines that come out of Russia…i.e. most of Europe. With all that is going on in Kiev and with Putin blatantly stating that Russia would move to protect it’s people in the eastern part of Ukraine, it is by no means inconceivable that the Ukrainians may look to fight back. And since the entire nation is a well-trained army (having all have served in the Ukrainian military), fighting back is not out of the question. All they would have to do to pressure the west into giving support would be to attack the pipelines heading west.

  5. laxer4life says:

    So I am an environmental sustainability minor and so I’ve seen a couple projects recently that I thought were interesting form an economic perspective. The most significant of these being the wide spread introduction of “fracking” throughout the United States. This article http://www.marketwatch.com/story/can-fracking-save-the-us-economy-2013-10-04 basically lays out every reason that fracking is good. We as a nation are fast taking the energy market by storm and it even claims that we will soon be out competing countries like Russia. There will be jobs to be had, the article states that “Between 2007 and 2011, per capita income rose by 19% in Pennsylvania counties with more than 200 wells, by 14% in counties with between 20 and 200 wells, and by 12% in counties with fewer than 20 wells” which just sounds lovely. So why is this not a good thing? Well the biggest reason is that fracking is the act of taking highly chemically altered water and pumping it deep under ground to literaly fracture the bed rock and thereby realizing the natural gas and oil that is buried within. The problem comes from those millions of gallons of water that are pumped into the ground not staying deep underground. There have been several videos of people being able to light their sink water on fire…and that’s not a good thing. People have been getting sick, and the overall effects to the environment have had a grand total of zero good and 498641651 bad. Okay, maybe not THAT many, but it’s still close. The biggest question going forward is deciding the trade offs between building a stronger economy and a more independent energy status for the United States and how much of the safety of the American people can impact that decision.

  6. laxer4life says:

    Another environmental issue that has come up is in regards to the ocean. There are so many beaches that people visit yearly, I am actually going to be heading to one as soon as I finish these blogs. However one big issue that has been coming up a lot is the interaction with sharks. The reason I think this becomes a macroeconomic issue is what happens when there is an attack. Imagine you are the mayor of a town heavily reliant on the money made in the summer from tourists. Now those tourists are in panic mode because to the young girl who just got killed by a shark in the place that they all paid good money to come to. You want to close the beaches, but you also do now want to scare away the tourists. What do you do? How do you protect people’s safety is on the line both physically and economically. Both on either side of the table. You could hire a bunch of people to go kill this “rogue shark” but that may not actually work and you’d have just paid people to do nothing. As bad as it sounds, I think you just put up signs, inform the people the risk, and then let them take it. Shark attacks are extremely rare and the risk to people’s livelihood that they become exposed to by scaring away the tourists is more real and more dangerous then any shark in the water.

  7. laxer4life says:

    There has been a conversation that has been lighting up discussion boards across the country. Everywhere from D.C. To the evergreen state. The highest state in the Union is soon not going to be alone in it’s singularity of legalized marijuana. That does not mean though that the nation as a whole would not benefit. Colorado saw profit margins in the tens of millions in the first few months of sales. This wave of green has been sweeping across the United States. It has been known by many names throughout the years: weed, pot, chronic Mary Jane, wacky Tabacky, bud, cannabis, but probably most commonly it is known as marijuana. It is generally consumed for either personal please by As of April 2014 there are 21 states that allow medical marijuana to be consumed, a very similar list of 21 states have decriminalized possession of the drug, and three have legalized possession. This numbers are very different than merely a decade ago only five states had decriminalized and full legalization was barely more than pothead’s dream. Due to this very recent increase in popularity solid scientific studies are still in their infancy but thus far there is no significant evidence of any negative side effects of the use of cannabis. The recent changes in legislation concerning consumption of marijuana have also made it difficult to study what effects legalization is having The United States is only just recently starting to come out of the worst economic recession in nearly three generations and the recovery has certainly not been as fast as many people would have hoped. By decriminalizing cannabis states will see a higher GDP which will have positive effects throughout the economy and help to aid in the continued recovery process. A decrease in spending on prisons and a more educated population should yield a stronger economy. Well that’s what every pothead in the country is arguing, but when looked at from an economic perspective, that are not really that far off.

    This article gives the top 10 reasons for legalization.
    http://www.hightimes.com/read/10-reasons-marijuana-should-be-legal

  8. laxer4life says:

    Honestly, This blog is going to be just me saying what was fun in this class because I am currently running out of things to talk about and decided that I would stall by just talking about this class. It was truly a blast. I really think it was the perfect room for a class like this. It was small enough so that everyone talked, but big enough to allow for a diverse class. And what a class of people it was. People that vary in every aspect of political and economic thinking, but we all got along…well except for a couple paper related arguments that might have been spurred. I think Tova even smiled on a rare occasion. I loved how the class was taught by the students. Dr. Greenlaw gave enough advice and help to guide us, but enough freedom to be able to do whatever it is we want. I feel like the skill learned, to have a basic concept and then teach it to yourself enough so that you can teach it to other people is so valuable. It seems like this is a very similar process to what will be going on once we enter the workforce. We will be given an assignment on something we know to learn and understand and comprehend the next step, then teach it to other people. I am very sad to see this class end and to say goodbye to all those who are graduating. I hope you all the best in the next stage of your life. For those that are staying, I hope to see you next year.

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