Archive for May, 2010

Problem Based Learning Reflection

PBL stances for problem based learning and it encourages students to learn any subject interactively by simulated experience. I personally thought that it was a great idea, however, there were some drawbacks to this type of learning. First is that somehow the purpose of learning became vague and the process inclined too much toward acting and presentation. In my opinion, I thought that it would be a great way of practicing some real presentation skills, however, it was not suitable for learning economics.

Unfortunately, I woke up late this morning and showed up late for the PBL presentation. However, I did get a chance to answer last question. I tried to understand what the speaker was saying and tried to answer that question. Yet, I was not prepared because I did not know what my teammates said before I came. So I thought that if I said something wrong it would be inconsistent with what our teammates have said. If I have the opportunity next time, I would surely show up on time and be ready.

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How can demand/supply side policies help variety of people?

How should the government implement demand/supply side policy to help corporate leaders, unemployed workers and retired people? The government should utilize the policy that both stabilizes the inflation rate and lowers the unemployment rate to help all of these people. There aren’t any absolute solutions to these problems all simultaneously, yet there are always ‘best’ solutions.

The government could nullify the labor union’s power and make the wages flexible. By lowering to wages to an apt level, there will be surplus of money that can be used to employ a number of people. Also, the money that’s left could be used to increase the pension of the retired people. People who were employed will be angry, however, it’ll give them a strong sense of job security by looking at numbers of people coming in.

In order to protect the working population from the inflation, the government should implement the monetary policy in order to cut down money supply. By cutting down money supply, it’ll significantly decrease the inflation rate  to stable state. Also, the government could increase the interest rate in order to curb inflation.

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How can Monetary Policy help people represented by Silver Cougars?

Angela Soracco of Silver Cougars of America has sent a letter quite concerned about the current inflation of 9%. Silver Cougars of America is an organization of senior citizens and they are being heavily relaint on Social Security day by day. How can the government implement monetary policies to help old seniors to lay off the inflation burden?

There are two ways to control the inflation. First is to increase the interest rate and second is to cut down the money supply on the market. First of all, by increasing the interest rate, many people will tend to save their money and not spend. This will lower the demand-pulled inflation to some degree. Also, by cutting down the money supply flowing through the market, the value of the currency will go up and therefore it will lower the inflation rate.

Nonetheless, there is one serious drawback to this policy. It will aggravate the negative economic growth and skyrocket unemployment rate in return. So, there is a trade off. Governments would look at the opportunity costs of implementing this policy and consider whether it will be worth of a try or a bad choice.

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How can Fiscal Policies be used for the workers like Joe Brezinski?

Joe Brezinski is one of those workers who are fired and are worried about losing their house. They’ve formed worker’s political action committee called Campaign for Job Security. How can fiscal policies can help the workers like Joe? There are several actions that the government can implement to solve this problem.

The unemployment rate is 12.5% and the inflation rate is 9%. Joe Brezinski is part of that unemployment rate and is suffering from high inflation rate. To satisfy the workers of Campain for Job Security, the government can implement strict fiscal policy by taxation.

The government can impose 30% increase in taxation for all businesses. However, they can cut the taxation to 0% for those firms that are willing to employ a large number of people. This way the government can get the unemployment rate down to 1~0%.

The government should also decrease the amount of government spending to reduce the debt and deficit. Also, they should pressure the foriegn firms to invest on factories and technology to boost up the domestic aggragate demand.

So adjusting taxation for businesses according to how many people they employ will be a great help to the unemployed workers like Joe!

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What Greece must do to Survive the Debt Crisis

A frustrated Greek expressing his angry through violent protest

CNN News: Click Here

In action to fight off the increasingly unbearable debt crisis, Greece chose to get financial support from both EU (mainly Germany) and IMF. This might help Greece out of the problem in a short-run, yet they still have to pay back the money they have borrowed from EU and IMF. Now all Greeks must tighten their belt in order to fight off the crisis. There is a list of what Greece must to do recover their economy.

  1. Salary Cuts
  2. Retirement
  3. Increase in Taxation
  4. Reform in Pension System

First of all, all Greeks (at least public workers) will increase a cut in their salaries. Salaries are one of the big factors that take up large percentage of the cost in business and government spending. Though this will arouse some violent protests from the people, there is no other way to fight off the debt crisis without a cut in wages.

With some cuts in wages, many business and governments will want to minimize the number of employees as possible to decrease the money spent. This will result in early retirement of many workers with ages over 60. This will also contribute to the high unemployment rate, however, significantly cut the unnecessary budgets.

Interestingly, the Greek government decided not to have an early retirement for its workers but to increase the retirement. The retirement age was shifted from 61 to 65. It may be that Greece government didn’t want more unemployment and more protests regarding it. I think that the Greece government is tightening the payment of wages so much that they don’t need to cut down its workforce.

Greek people will most definetly exprience the rise in taxation. Greek government said that it was going to raise all VAT’s by 10%. Increasing taxation is one of the key ways that Greece can endure the crisis.

Greeks will also exprience a cut in pension. Unplanned pension system was the main culprits for the cause of Greece’s debt crisis. The government borrowed money, unplanned, in order to fulfil its populistic policy of pension system. The system supported too many people and gave out excess amount of money. So many aged Greeks will exprience this frustrating cut in their pension.

In sum, these were the actions that Greece must implement in order to survive the debt crisis. I think that the government’s determination to get out of the deb crisis is firm, but I think that this determination is not supported by lots of Greeks. Greek people must bear in mind that if they don’t start tighenting their belts, the government’s effort in order to get out of the crisis.

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Analysis of Greek Economy in Debt Crisis

Probability of  Countries Being Unable to Pay Back Debt

BBC News: Article 1

BBC News: Article 2

European Commission has announced that Greek economy would shrink by 3% this year due to its high risk of defaulting.

As illustrated in the graph, Greek’s probability of defaulting has passed 50% and is heading for 60%. At this rate, Greece will most definitely default if there are no strict cut-offs on government spending and European countries to aid Greece.

Other countries in Eurozone fear for Greek’s economic crisis might affect Eurozone severely. As a result of Greece’s high CDS, it is badly affecting Euro.

“The euro hit its lowest level against the dollar in more than a year, at $1.2887, and was also down against the pound, with one pound worth 1.1706 euros.”

EU economic and monetary affairs commissioner Olli Rehn describes Greek economic crisis as a “bush fire” and that “it must be contained” in order to prevent it to become a “forest fire” putting Eurozone at risk also.

Accordingly, EU and IMF has promised immediate aid and bail-out package for Greece’s debt crisis. However, there are many doubts about how the bailout package could help the Greek crisis.

“The problem is no one has a clear idea of how we’re going to get out of this situation,” said Julian Callow, chief Europe economist at Barclays Capital.

What will happen if Greece defaults? Last post, I have explained about the consequences of defaulting. First, the Greek currency and possibly Euro will experience hyperinflation and it will be a no better than a piece of toilet paper. Second, as the currency Euro is affected, this will affect the taxpayers in the Eurozone, forcing them to carry the some parts of Greek burden. If this is sever enough, it could mean the dissembling of the Eurozone.

So, what are the actions Greece is taking to fight this problem? Well, first is that they have asked help from EU and IMF, which helped them pay their short-run bills. Secondly, they have announced to cut their governmental spending from more than 10% to 3% by 2012.

It was a wise choice to ask for a bailout package, however, if Greece fails to recover from this debt crisis, it means that they’ve just added another debt to their already unbearable- debt list.

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