A recent report has shown that the national unemployment rate has risen to nearly 4.5%. This comes as a slight shock since the report also states the job growth has grown by about 100,000 jobs. While the combination of these two items may not seem too great, the hourly wage rate has increased by .2%. What do you think could be the driving force behind the slowed economic growth during the past month?
Friday, May 04, 2007
The number of doctors available to see patients is decreasing here in the United States. This is causing numerous problems for those people who need to get specific medical attention but cannot because there is no qualified specialist close to them. According to state medical societies, there may be a shortage of as many as 200,000 medical doctors in the United States by 2020. This expected shortage is partly due to the fact that roughly one third of the 750,000 doctors practicing now are over 55 years old and will be retiring soon. Making the shortage even worse is the fact that the baby boomers are getting old and need more medical attention. What do you think can be done about this shortage?
Posted by Kelly Heskett at 5/04/2007 07:50:00 AM
Whats your mom worth to you? In light of Mother' Day I thought I would look for something that had to do with the subject. It tuns out that a study has been completed and if a stay at home mom were paid for her may services to her family such as, "housekeeper, day care center teacher, cook, computer operator, laundry machine operator, janitor, facilities manager, van driver, CEO and psychologist," she would be paid $138,095 a year. So in light of this new information you might reconsider that 97 cent card you broke the bank on and get something with a little more value behind it.
Posted by DL at 5/04/2007 07:46:00 AM
Wal-Mart the major retailer we all know and love has a strangle hold on the market for companies trying to sell their product. Wal-Mart is such a major power house in the retail business it is easy to see how they could be considered a monopoly. Business who have a product that Wal-Mart could sell have a difficult time selling it with out using the Wal-Mart channel to do so. For example in the industry of soft drinks you have the two "titans" Pepsi and Coca-Cola. These companies are not greatly affected by not selling their product through Wal-Mart however smaller companies such as COTT does not have the market strength that Coke or Pepsi do. The lack of this market strength forces COTT which produces company brand carbonated soft drinks has to turn to Wal-Mart for 38% of its sales. It is this high percentage of sales from one small company that causes people to raise an eye brow at Wal-Mart. Soft drinks are one the only area in which this type of thing is happening at Wal-Mart they have such a huge power of the market of producers that companies have to turn to them to create a profit, selling through another retailer is not an option. This causes me to wonder just how much power Wal-Mart really hold and if it should be allowed.
Posted by DL at 5/04/2007 07:23:00 AM
Spider-Man 3 will come to this summer. From the economic way, we can see the film is artificially scarce goods, because it is an excludable and nontrivial in consumption. This kind of goods is nature monopoly goods, because the marginal cost is zero and the marginal benefit always more than marginal cost. “The first two adventures of Peter Parker grossed $403.7 million and $373.6 million in the U.S. respectively, according to figures from tracking firm Box Office Mojo.” so if people like to watch the film, it will get great benefit.
Posted by Jiang at 5/04/2007 04:17:00 AM
This article talks about the waste disposal system in Denmark. Gathering the whole population, building the domestic district-heating system to reduce energy consumption, Denmark has pitched in the solid waste reduction for more than thirty years, regardless of economic growth. Nowadays, Danish people have already set up a rooted concept of environmental protection. Danish companies are more active in the world due to an advantage of energy economization.
Shrinking costs leads to higher profits. In general, lower prices will arise from lower costs to attract more consumers, while companies are able to gain more benefits by the extra sales at the same time. In general, people believe that secondary industries can take the advantage of lower costs. However, there are some side effects created by the process of waste reduction.
The world does not always run straightforward. While a free market is usually controlled by economic factors, non-economic factors can potentially affect the market. Due to a negative connotation of the word “waste”, consumers often have a prejudice that the quality of virgin goods is much better than the quality of recycled substitutes despite that goods have the same functions. Furthermore, the vertical integration also supports virgin industries since a familiar work area avoids the process of “acclimation”. The manufacture is less willing to give up the advantage in their area (Franklin 20). Manufacturers would like to keep the control of raw materials rather than to get into recycled industries which might offer a higher profit.
By this notion, it is a paradox to the pollution problem. How can governments efficiently overcome the non-economic factors? Are governments able to find out the balance between environmental protection and development?
Posted by Tian Yang at 5/04/2007 02:39:00 AM
In this article they are talking about an airline, Skybus, that is turning air travel upside down. Its unique economical approach to travel is allowing the company to cut prices as low as $10 a ticket for ten seats. The highes prices are always going to be 50% lower then other airplanes. This sounds absolutely great, but is it a good move for society? By cutting prices it seems that Skybus is trying to quickly eliminate its competition. By doing this, it will have a monopolistic hold on the flight industry. So I guess my question is, will this company be successful, and if so, will it last considering anti-trust laws?
Posted by Mark Briggs at 5/04/2007 12:04:00 AM
Thursday, May 03, 2007
This article explains Senator Edwards’ call for new emissions limits that he delivered in Nevada at the end of March. He, like many, is concerned with global warming and pollution. In his plan, Edwards makes many suggestions about how to minimize these harmful emissions. One idea he has is to eliminate $3 billion in subsidies to oil companies. This doesn’t seem like a good idea. Subsidies are generally issued to companies so the companies comply with some terms. In this case, the oil companies are probably producing fewer emissions because of the subsidies they receive. If these are eliminated, the oil companies will have incentive to create more pollution. Another idea Edwards suggests is to create a fund to develop new energy sources with money accumulated from selling greenhouse pollution permits. Again, this step to help eliminate pollution seems to be in the wrong direction. His plan to help decrease emissions is to sell more permits allowing it? Our text book admits that the biggest problem with tradable permits is that the government usually ends up issuing too many. Had Senator Edwards used the Pigouvian approach, he might have suggested an emissions tax on the major polluters.
During the last decades, Wal-Mart has become quite the enterprise within the United States. With its high volume of goods at competitive low prices, it has made life easy for the low to middle class individual. Above all that, it has also became the largest employer in the United States. They are said to have people waiting in line for there jobs. For great benefits, salaries, 401k plans, etc. But is this really true, is Wal-Mart a great employer? I think not. In a recent study,"Wal-Mart said it gave $667 million to 815,629 hourly employees who participated in the company’s profit sharing and 401(k) retirement program — or, on average, $818 for each worker,it spent $51.4 million on 706,389 hourly employees who participated in its stock purchase plan — an average of $72.76 per worker and it offered $397 million in savings on merchandise to employees through a 10 percent discount — an average of $294 per worker." How much were the executives given? "Top executives stock options were valued between $1 million and $5 million, and an average 401(k) contribution of $8,400 per year." So my question is, is Wal-Mart there for the little man like it pitches, or there for the big whigs?
Posted by Mark Briggs at 5/03/2007 11:46:00 PM
According to the Rocky Mountain News, the State of Colorado's Governor has recently signed onto more than 20 bills that have been approved in both the State House and Senate. The most important of the bills are: House Bill 1281, which doubled the state's renewable energy standard that had been approved under Amendment 37. Under the law, utilities in Colorado must now get 20 percent of their energy from renewable source, such as wind and solar, by 2020. House Bill 1341, which altered the makeup of the state's Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Under the bill, the oil and gas industry is no longer guaranteed a majority of seats on the commission. House Bill 1298, which makes protecting wildlife part of the mission of the oil and gas commission and gives Colorado's Division of Wildlife more say in how to insulate wildlife from the impacts of the fast-growing industry. Senate Bill 100, which clears the way for utilities to build more transmission lines to carry electricity generated from renewable energy sources, such as wind farms on the eastern plains.
This is one giant leap forward for the Green Movement and general environmentalist alike, in Colorado. But by issuing such non-industrial--namely oil--friendly policy, there is a real fear that industries will not want to remain operational nor be enticed to establish themselves within the State of Colorado. From an economics stand-point, this is true; there are little, if any, reasons for an oil company to move into Colorado. But the focus of this legislation is to bring renewable energy corporations into the state, and it gives them incentives to expand research on finding sustainable renewable energy sources. Under SB 100, utilities are providing basic infrastructure for transmittance of electricity from their sources; which may cause the wind farms on the eastern plains to expand their production and build more wind generators, and possibly allow for the development of more productive and efficient wind generators.
As the oil industry is obviously under attack by the Colorado Legislature, should more states pass legislation requiring increased renewable energy sources? How will this affect the economy of the nation?
Posted by Matt Kundmueller at 5/03/2007 09:54:00 PM
It has been a fact that in the American labor market there have been far fewer women who have sought work and have found employment than men. According to research, only 59 percent of women who could be in the labor force actually are in the United States, versus 73 percent of men. On the surface, there are a number of reasons why there is such a noticeable gap in the numbers of women actually working or looking for work at all. The well known gender wage gap that exists in the overall labor market tends to keep women on the sidelines, as they know they're not going to get paid as well as their male counterparts. This feedback effect for women in the labor market is a negative to both the women and the labor market itself, as this leads to women often not gaining a lot of human capital to arm themselves to be competitive.
But, an approach to pull some of these women out of the labor force back into the pool of employable workers seems to be an economically sound approach: reducing the tax rates for women as an incentive to gain employment. The theories that are at work behind this proposal tend to support the idea from an economic perspective. Consider the aforementioned wage gap - The proposed idea suggests that taxes for women should be no more than 80% of those for men, which correlates with the current wage gap in the American labor market of women generally making 80 cents per dollar earned by their male counterparts. This would create some sort of net earnings equality effect - women, though grossing less than their male counterparts, would be able to retain a larger percentage of their paychecks to be used for consumption. The working thought is that a larger tax base through more females entering into the labor force would more than compensate for the reduction in the amount charged to each individual female taxpayer.
There are some drawbacks to this proposal, including the possibility that it could backfire if the amount of labor force non-particpation due to pay differences is overestimated. In addition, some economists suggest that women who want to be part of the labor force already are, and the drop in taxes would shrink the tax base while not affecting the labor pool at all. Some others believe that a lower tax burden on working women could be counterproductive to real wages for women, as some employers may cut wages for females to compensate for the lower taxation, hoping to minimize labor costs at the expense of the working woman, further discouraging women in the labor force and those waiting in the wings to start looking for employment.
Posted by Joshua Busser at 5/03/2007 09:40:00 PM
This article concerns wind farms and how they will offer more power but with possible problems. The issues associated are the local impacts on ecology due to the large turbine-like blades that capture wind power to transfer into electricity.
For economic purposes I want to focus on the statistical information out of the article pertaining to wind farms and the increased building of them.
In 2006, U.S. wind powered turbines generated over 11,000 megawatts of electricity. While just shy of 1 percent of the national power supply, the article estimates that wind farms could generate up to 7 percent of the nation's electricity within 15 years and offset as much as 4.5 percent of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from electricity production.
With this data, the question comes down to basic economic cost. Will the increase in supply of cleaner and renewable sources of electricity cause electricity bills to decline? Will the change be too minimal to make a marginal impact on customer costs?
Posted by Eric Dowler at 5/03/2007 07:37:00 PM
Could it be that Ohio will not always be characterized by its state tree: the buckeye, the tree that gives Ohio its nickname as the “buckeye state.” Could it also be that within the next few summers poisonous plants such as poison ivy will move more northward, along with plants like kudzu and ragweed. If temperatures continue to rise, then yes it’s true. It is also true that poisonous plants such as poison ivy become more intense, more concentrated with their toxic poison as the weather warms. Sounds like warmer weather won’t be all good for farmers and gardeners… isn’t that who it is supposed to at least be good for?
What I’m realizing is this situation is starting to look a lot like what would happen if it was discovered that smoking really didn’t help to diminish the chances of getting Alzheimer’s: the smoker would be completely raped of their “why I smoke” defense… So what about global warming… isn’t the warmer weather that it will bring supposed to be a plus side (for those that don’t live too near the coasts)… well now organizations such as The National Wildlife Federation are releasing information that alludes to the opposite idea: it’s bad for farming and gardening. Even Martha Stewart is advocating earth friendly tactics such as, not to use gas powered lawn mowers, use organic fertilizers, etc.
In the New York Times it was reported that the demand for organic fertilizer had doubled in the past couple years. This is the buyer’s way of saying that it is important and they are willing to pay that higher price. If this trend lasts for long enough a strong market will open up and another will start to fade out. The buyer has to show the seller what they want, and then once the market has been developed perhaps the prices will go down a bit. The New York Times also reported that ¾ of the US population gardens, and from this $34 billion a year is spent. That is a pretty big market and it sounds like they have the ability to invoke change!
Posted by Anna at 5/03/2007 06:41:00 PM
Will Ethanol actually create more pollution than gasoline? According to research by one scientist yes, it will. So my question to the readers is why sink more money into ethanol if it is just as bad for the atmosphere as gasoline? I say if ethanol is just as bad as gasoline why sink more money into ethanol research. I say consider what we have already sunk into ethanol a sunk cost and invest more money into improving gas mileage and emissions in cars. I beleive our health is more important than saving a dollar or two at the pump every time you fill up. At least to me implicit costs such as my health are more important than an explicit cost of one or two dollars. Although at the end of this article it states that ethanol does reduce green house gases, I think if money that is used for ethanol research is shifted to cleaner gasoline research green house gases from gasoline could also be reduced to numbers that resemble that of ethanol.
Posted by msowko at 5/03/2007 06:14:00 PM
This author says no. I beleive the GDP has more to do with interest rates and deficit. Interest rates havent been lowered since the end of summer last year. This makes it harder for people to borrow money. That in turn leads to less homes being bought, because no one has 100,000 dollars laying around to go buy a house and that leads to the housing slump. Also with high interest rates people are not investing into real estate, because that takes alot of money which is hard to borrow right now with the high interest rates. Also our increasing deficit has an effect on our GDP. According to this article the deficit shaved half a percent on our GDP. It may not sound like much, but with a war in Iraq and the world not in a state of stability our deficit could jus continue to go up like it has, and then it will contiue to shave percents off of our GDP.
Posted by msowko at 5/03/2007 06:04:00 PM
In Australia there has been some debate over WorkChoices legislation. It is this legislation that has been one of the biggest changes to industrial relations for almost a century. While it has much support from the Business Council of Australia as well as the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, it has met opposition from labor groups and unions. One of the changes that have gone into effect since the legislation has been passed involves employees losing their protection of unfair dismissal laws. This is just one of the many changes that have been made to the Federal System. The result of this legislation is lower worker morale because the employees feel that their basic work conditions are under attack and they should be protected by the law. There has even been speculation that many jobs will relocate to offshore locations. Will this new legislation hurt Australia’s economy, or will this just be a temporary set back?
Posted by Bethany Blackhurst at 5/03/2007 06:02:00 PM
What this article explains that if mothers could make money for being a mother than they would be worth 138,000. She would get this much money because of the fact that she is a housekeeper, psychologist, and cook. The also mention that she would make another 83,000 if she worked outside of the house. After reading this article my question is, can you really put a price on motherhood? and if you could do you agree?
Posted by Elizabeth at 5/03/2007 02:17:00 PM
Diesel cars and SUVs are looking to come back after a brief appearance many years ago due to the rise in gas prices. In the 1980's, 80 percent of the cars sold in the U.S. were diesel powered. The reason the precentage was so high was to adjust to inflation of gasoline prices which was about $3.15 a gallon and people were looking for a more cheaper and fuel efficient way to drive. In Europe half the cars sold are diesels; the U.S. cars sold was only about 3.5 percent. Dieseal development is continuing in Europe to make diesel cars more quiet and not put out such stinky pollution. Diesel fuel has more energy than regular gasoline, therefore can last longer. With current gas prices rising to $2.99 a gallon do you think that there will be an increase in the demand for diesel fuel due to the purchase of diesel cars and SUVs?
Posted by Melissa at 5/03/2007 01:45:00 PM
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
A rail strike is currently taking place in Canada. The strike has started to affect productions in industries such as mining, lumber, auto industries, and could affect the U.S. economy if it continues. The strike includes 2,800 conductors and yard workers for Canadian National Railway Co., one of the two major railways in Canada.
“A much broader economic toll will be felt if the strike continues, says Robert Hogue, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, the investment- and corporate-banking arm of the Bank of Montreal.” According to Mr. Hogue “producers facing shortages of supplies may also be facing cost increases as well as a higher risk of losing sales opportunities.”
The strike hasn’t crossed the border into the U.S. where Canadian National rail lines operate , but freight shipments that the railroad hauls between the U.S. and Canada have begun to be affected. In the U.S. we have the Railway Labor Act of 1926 which mandates collective bargaining in railroads and airlines. The Canadian Labor Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn said “legislation to end the strike would be offered if no agreement was reached.”
The workers are seeking better pay and better working conditions. The last contract the employees were under expired towards the end of December. According to Machalaba, “The strike in Canada represents what some analysts believe is an almost inevitable conflict between an increasingly aggressive rail union and a tough, efficiency-minded railroad.”
Union workers are trying to improve two of the most sought after benefits in a new contract, higher wages and better working conditions. Right now the strike is in its beginning stages where employer concessions are low and union resistance is high. Eventually, after a specific amount of time, concessions will rise and resistance will fall causing the new wage to be offered somewhere in the middle. If there was perfect information between unions and firms and union leadership and membership, would there be strikes? Would the union and firm come to an agreement almost immediately?
Posted by David Bright at 5/02/2007 11:27:00 PM
The labor unions for DaimlerChrysler met to discuss the possible sale of the company to a possible investor. According to Chon, “United Auto Workers union President Ron Gettelfinger, IG Metall leader Erich Klemm and Jerry Dias, assistant to Canadian Auto Workers union President Buzz Hargrove, are among the labor representatives who will attend.” These representatives are meeting with the Chief Executive Mr. Zetsche. Mr. Zetsche claims that “DaimlerChrysler is talking to potential partners about a possible sale of Chrysler and all options are on the table.”
Labor will play a huge process in the role of the sale of the company. Mr. Gettelfinger and nine other representatives hold half the seats on the 20-member supervisory board. The supervisory board is the American equivalent of the board of directors. The goal of Mr. Gettelfinger is to “lobby to keep Chrysler within the German company and he would argue his case at the next supervisory board meeting.” Germany is a strongly unionized country.
Labor plays a big role in this decision on the future of Chrysler. Mainly this is because the company is dealing with how to address enormous health-care costs and more than $15 billion in unfunded/unpaid pension and health care liabilities. Bidders have been trying to reach out and woo the unions for support. They know that they play such a big role in this decision that they are trying to persuade their hand. Potential buyers such as Cerberus Capital Management LP, Centerbridge Capital Partners LP, and Canadian auto-parts supplier Magna International Inc. have been reaching out to the labor union.
According to Chon, “Mr. Gettelfinger, along with other labor representatives, have expressed opposition to a private-equity takeover of Chrysler.”
As is evident in this case labor unions can play a big role in a companies future decision making processes. They often cause problems and can hinder the process. Do you think labor unions are a good thing? Do they help or hurt a company?
Posted by David Bright at 5/02/2007 10:08:00 PM
The NFL Draft was just this past weekend, and where did all of the interested football fans tune in to watch? ESPN. This sports channel had around-the-clock coverage for the two days that the draft took place. Millions watched the trades with anticipation. These people who spent hours upon hours watching the coverage have ESPN to thank. Or do they? Should sports fans really be thankful for ESPN? According to this author the answer is no. The author argues that ESPN teaches its viewers nothing about sports, it merely shows them highlights. He also argues that ESPN is a monopoly, and that anyone who follows sports can clearly see that. To quote the author, “I call upon the congress to repeal the antitrust exemption... Sports have become a multi-billion dollar industry in the last decade. Nike has Reebok and Adidas, ESPN has no competition whatsoever. Competition is what makes capitalism a great system. Monopolies eventually disintegrate over time. The sport broadcasting industry needs more diversity, more vision, and more class. We can do better”. Do you agree with this man’s claim that ESPN is a monopoly?
Posted by LAURA J. STENNAGER at 5/02/2007 03:02:00 PM
"Green" construction is the way of the future, for everyone. "A lot of people, I think, think green construction's gonna be an old VW bus with a peace symbol on the side of it — and for tree-huggers," says Don Ferrier, a builder in Fort Worth, Texas. That is just not the case anymore. The idea of building homes and companies with environmentally friendly attitudes will, now and more so in the future, be saving a lot more than the environment. Recycled products can sometimes last longer than their less efficient counterparts ensuring that users wont necessarily need to replace then as often. Substituting medal for traditional roofs will keep out the heat so there will be less cooling bills. There are many different building materials that are becoming more and more popular and are more efficient than traditional ones. Unfortunately, these materials may cost more up front since they are just being produced and haven't caught on at a large scale yet. Even though the initial cost may be greater than the current approaches, some argue that the money saved in the future through heating and electric bills will be well worth the investment. Also, with widespread use of the environmentally friendly alternatives they will be able to be produced on a larger scale which could bring the initial costs down. By demonstrating the economic advantages to some of the "green" construction ideas it will kill two birds with one stone; the environment will be protected and the user will save money (which is usually a top priority).
Posted by Sotiria Anagnostou at 5/02/2007 11:26:00 AM
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
I personaly think it would be a great idea for sign for the exploration of more indepth bio-fuel production. In this particular artical sugar can ethanol fuel has been produced and in use in this Brazilian city since the 70's. Now that Bush wants the fuel to become more available and exported world wide people are raising flags about environmental issues to the Amazon rain forest. My question is, if this fuel has been produced since the 70's why is the Amazon just now becoming an issue? It would seem to me that if any country was to expand and begin production of any type of ethanol or bio-fuel on a large scale production that there would automaticaly be certain steps taken to ensure the safty to the public, and the environment around them.
Posted by Wainwright at 5/01/2007 09:27:00 PM