I haven’t yet decided whether to permanently name the Wednesday blog entry ‘Wildcard Wednesday’, ‘Wacky Wednesday’, ‘Worldwide Wednesday’ or ‘www.ednesday’. This week, however, I couldn’t resist opting for Wildcard Wednesday, having seen the latest caption competition for the Economist. If you’re keen to get published in the Economist, even if it’s just for a one-liner (Geoff should be good at this!), then this regular competition is just the ticket. This week’s competition details can be found here. You need to make sure that you make your entry by midnight on Wednesday, in order for it to be registered. The winning entry will be published alongside the image in this coming Friday’s print edition of the Economist. I think this is a really fun opportunity for both teachers and students; no prize money, just oodles of kudos!
Here is a thought-provoking piece from the BBC web site on ethical dimensions to policies such as carbon trading and carbon taxation. Aristotle on modern ethical dilemmas
BBC Radio 4 Analysis has a programme on the Austrian school to economic thought. And there is a follow up programme next week as Newsnight’s Economics Editor Paul Mason meets the economists of “financialisation” and asks whether the growth of credit has given birth to a new kind of capitalism More details here
Fans of Brad Pitt may be interested to know that the Hollywood star is pretty much lined up to take a lead role in the film of The Big Short - the epic new book from Michael Lewis. The author let this slip in discussion at a packed LSE last week as he explored the charaacters of many of the lead figures in a story of epic financial returns from staggering regulatory failure.read more...»
This week’s stretch-and-challenge mathematical activity looks at some of the algebra behind the concept of price elasticity of demand. As with last week’s activity, nothing more advanced than higher level GCSE maths is needed to complete the exercise, although it’s still something you probably will want to use as extension material. I’ve also included some hints, tips and possible ways of reaching the answers.
If, like my school, you haven’t entered students for Unit 3 in January but are teaching both A2 units side-by-side for June examination, you might be looking for examples of competition policy and regulation to offer your students in the coming weeks. The report of the Independent Commission on Banking and the focus on regulation at last week’s Davos meeting are very well timed; this report filed today by Tim Weber of the BBC gives a neat summary of the time leading up to Lehman’s collapse, and offers a rather chilling conclusion from informal dinner-table discussions with the world’s top bankers that it is unlikely that regulators can, in practice, untangle the systemic risks in the financial system that make it imperative for government’s to step in and support failing banks.
If you would like to follow this up as an example with students, you might try some of the following links. There are numerous articles assessing the report of the ICB - just a couple are given here.read more...»
The first 2011 edition of econoMAX, the digital magazine for A Level Economics students, is now available to subscribing schools. Details of the new articles are summarised below. An annual institutional subscription to econoMAX is just £50 (+VAT) which provides each department with over 50 new articles each academic year and unrestricted access to an archive of over 400 other articles. You can download a sample article from a recent edition of econoMAX here. Subscriptions to econoMAX can be ordered here.read more...»
As my attention turns towards A2 macroeconomics now that the unit 3 exam is over, I was delighted with the helpfulness of The Economist in providing me with exactly what I needed for my lesson on income inequality. Read on to find out more…read more...»
Tim’s new book is now available for pre-order from Amazon!
A hat tip to Ian Martin from Beauchamp College for spotting this resource. The FT is doing a series on the growing influence of China and its impact on economies and markets around the globe. This is a link to a lovely interactive graphic showing how China’s trade with 43 nations has increased since 1992.
This week’s theory challenge takes a look at indifference curves. Indifference curves map out consumer preferences between different sets of goods, and allow us to determine what happens when the consumer faces a change in their income or in the price of the good. For those teachers who are short on time in terms of explaining the basics of indifference curve analysis to students, then this YouTube video provides an adequate introduction. Below are some sets of questions that students can tackle after getting their head around the basic concepts.read more...»
Commodity markets are rarely far from the front pages of the economics and business news coverage. The surge in world food prices in 2008 was followed by a steep fall in many prices during the recession. But rampant food price inflation is back on the economic and political agenda. I have made available below my own commodity price chartroom PowerPoint - in it I follow the world price of between eight to ten soft commodities ranging from sugar to wheat, from cocoa to frozen orange juice.read more...»
In my previous post on Playdoh Economics, I shared how I use playdoh to get the students engaged in the basic concepts of Economics, many of which they have already done before. I also use the Playdoh for graph revision, and a couple of the students efforts are shown below.read more...»
China and India have been in the news again for all sorts of reasons… do you know why? And which American bank has reported more losses, this time amounting to USD1.2bn (£769m)? Take this week’s current affairs quiz to find out…read more...»
Here are two BBC Radio broadcasts that can be set as homework research task: one on the workings of the IMF and the other on Should the government measure our national happiness? . Both remain available until 12:00AM Thu, 1 Jan 2099 by which time I will probably have been allowed to retire.read more...»
These are exciting times to be teaching AS macroeconomics what with debates about rising inflation and slowing growth and intense discussion about future directions for UK fiscal policy, volatile currencies and commodity prices and signs of a return to even higher unemployment.
Today we learned of (provisional) evidence of a contraction in real GDP for the UK and renewed fears of a double dip. For teachers keen to display an up to date chart of what is happening to GDP, inflation, unemployment and consumer confidence I have made available for download (see the link below) an updated PowerPoint chart set for the UK. Nothing fancy just six selected charts! They might be good for annotated handouts.
UK economic cycle update:
There are just under two weeks to go until our first Global Economy Student Enrichment Day at the Vue Cinema, Fulham Broadway. The main aim of the day is to offer a set of presentations to students who want to deepen their awareness and understanding of some important global economic issues. Many teachers are attending the day as well (with or without their students!) and there are still places left. Here is the programme
* Geoff Riley (Tutor2u): An Ever Bigger Union? Has EU Enlargement been a success?
* Ruth Tarrant (Tutor2u): Trade Imbalances and Development - A Global Perspective
* James Bevan (Chief Economist of CCLA Investment Management, Radio 5 Wake up to Money): The Economics of Global Cities - Challenges facing London
* David Smith (Economics Editor of the Sunday Times), The Global Financial Crisis and the Changing World Economy
* Mo Tanweer (Head of Economics, Oundle School): The Economics of Currency Wars
Each presentation will have an accompanying student/teacher handout and we will make the presentations available via an online download for those attending.
Monday 7 February 2011
Venue: Vue Cinema, Fulham Broadway
Timing: 10:45 am to 3.15 pm
Many thanks to Adam Beales for letting us know about a great teaching vacancy for Sept 2011 at Bryanston…read more...»
Leading sports entrepreneur Barry Hearn is speaking at the Entrepreneurship Society on Wednesday 2nd February starting at 8-45pm. Colleagues who are interested in coming along and perhaps bringing some students are extended a warm welcome.
The economic, environmental and social issues arising from farm support in developed and developing countries often figure in final year teaching for A2 economics. We are looking at this at the moment as part of our teaching of the economics of the EU. Here are five fresh links on the vexed question of how best to reform the Common Agricultural Policy of the EU - including two recent videos from BBC news.read more...»
The Centre for Cities published statistical data which shows variations in economics activity across the UK.
The BBC report highlighted some of the findings. “Economic recovery will be “unevenly spread” across the country with some cities needing extra government help to create jobs, a study has suggested.
Research group Centre for Cities said places such as Hull, Doncaster and Northampton were now “bouncing back”. But Sunderland, Liverpool, Birkenhead, Swansea and Newport might not feel the full benefits for some time. Centre for Cities said areas more reliant on public sector jobs would have the most difficulties.read more...»
Hugh Pym on the latest rise in youth unemployment
Last week, my extension class and I watched a thought-provoking short TED talk by Rachel Botsman on the increasingly prevalent phenomenon of collaborative consumption - the talk is shown further below. According to Botsman, collaborative consumption is the use of bartering, swapping or sharing of consumer goods (usually durables) using technology to help the manage these collaborative relationships between strangers. The idea provides a great contrast to the ‘standard’ approach to thinking about consumer expenditure in an economy.read more...»
Many students and teachers will be looking at the issue of rising unemployment in the UK at the moment - focusing on the causes of effects of a high number out of work and also the effectiveness of different strategies for getting people back in a job. Youth unemployment is an especially important structural problem in the labour market and new figures find that nearly one young person in five is unemployed. Indeed 260,000 under-16s live in homes where nobody has ever worked. Here are five links to supporting resources including news articles, background comment pieces and videos.read more...»
This is a graphic I use each year when looking at changes over time in indices of consumer prices for different goods and services. Using data drawn from the published Retail Price Index since 1988 (the base year) I print this chart out and explore in classroom discussion some of the economic factors behind the divergence in prices for rail fares, cigarettes, household repair services, clothing and electrical items. We discuss the impact of changes in indirect taxes, unit labour costs, economies of scale, trade and globalization effects and the intensity of competition among other factors. Eagle-eyed students spot the upturn in clothing prices and link it to the rising world price of cotton. Others notice the strong seasonality in clothing prices and the annual hike in rail fares!
I have copied the latest chart into a PowerPoint file for colleagues who might want to use it
A brilliantly conceived way of showing the impact of the floods that have afflicted many areas of Brisbane can be found here. Some stunning images here perhaps when thinking about the damage that floods create and flood defences as a public good.
Click on the image below to take you to the graphic.read more...»
A hat tip to Mark Seccombe for suggesting these resources on the externalities of plastic waste - very timely as many teachers get stuck into aspects of market failure and sustainability with their AS students.
I came across this video which would be a good little clip to introduce negative externalities on both the production and consumption side. It would also reinforce the difficulties of putting monetary values on externalities. The first half is better for Economics, the second half drifts into sociological comment.
It could be supported by this cracking site on plastic bag usage. This article considers plant based plastics as a way forward, it could be good example of weighing up costs and benefits – the second-to-last paragraph has some good stuff from a business point of view.read more...»
Here is something I got which was doing the rounds on email – very amusing.
I was asked to explain the Economic crisis in Ireland here is an example
as I understand it….( passed on of course !!)
Mary is the proprietor of a bar in Dublin . She realises that virtually all of her customers are unemployed alcoholics and, as such, can no longer afford to patronise her bar. To solve this problem, she comes up with new marketing plan that allows her customers to drink now, but pay later. She keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting the customers loans). Word gets around about Mary’s “drink now, pay later” marketing strategy and, as a result, increasing numbers of customers flood into Mary’s bar. Soon she has the largest sales volume for any bar in Dublin. By providing her customers’ freedom from immediate payment demands, Mary gets no resistance when, at regular intervals, she substantially increases her prices for wine and beer, the most consumed beverages. Consequently, Mary’s gross sales volume increases massively.read more...»