Monday, August 17, 2009

AP Economics: Civilization

Civilization and its related games have generated sound discussions of AP Economics issues. For example, here is a thread on Adam Smith's pin factory vs. his invisible hand. Another thread discussed economics in the thread, "A Guide to Civics." And, after having discussed this point in a thread a blogger added to the discussion.

AP Economics: World of Warcraft

YouTube clip is here.

AP Economics: Every Graph You Need To Know

Here are all of the graphs that you need to know for the AP Macroeconomics test.

Featuring the Production Possibilities Curve, Supply & Demand, the Circular Flow Model, Aggregate Expenditures, Aggregate Demand & Aggregate Supply, the Money Market, Investment Demand, the Loanable Funds Market, the Foreign Exchange Market, the Phillips Curve, Laffer Curve, and the Lorenz Curve.

AP Macroeconomics Graphing Review - Part 1

AP Macroeconomics Graphing Review - Part 2

AP Macroeconomics Graphing Review - Part 3

AP Economics: Business Cycle, Unemployment, Inflation, Growth

For the business cycle we will consider "The Road to Emerald City Is Paved with Good Intentions." The "Wizard of Oz," one of America's greatest films, is seen as an allegory about Populism and the issue of "sound money."

"Money" by Pink Floyd

One of the most famous phrases in modern economics is that "inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon." This statement, made by Nobel laureate Milton Friedman, suggests that the principal factor influencing the movement of the price level over time is the growth rate of the money supply.

Cf. Bade and Parkin, Chapters 20, 21, and 22.

AP Economics: Demand, Supply, and Market Equilibrium

Demand and supply may be understood by considering China's current economy.

Use the Amosweb link to define basic terms and phrases such as: purchasing power, factors of production, economic growth, and standard of living.

"China's Rising Economy" is a production of PBS.

The CIA World Factbook on China is a reliable source of information on China, and other nations.

When ready, take an interactive quiz on "China - Where Will They Fit in the World Economy?

Cf. Bade and Parkin, 4.1, 4.2. 4.3.

On LibraryThing there are reference works on China:

Where Does the Money Go?: Your Guided Tour to the Federal Budget Crisis
by Scott Bittle

Why Geography Matters: Three Challenges Facing America: Climate Change,…
by Harm de Blij

Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of "Energy Independence"
by Robert Bryce

Understanding China: A Guide to China's Economy, History, and Political…
by John Bryan Starr

Popular culture references:

Brian Eno, 1974, Taking Tiger Mountain, "China My China."

David Bowie, "China Girl"

David Bowie - China Girl EMI UK (P) 2005 The copyright in this audiovisual recording is owned by Jones/Tintoretto Entertainment Company LLC under exclusive license to EMI Records Ltd.

Iggy Pop, "China Girl"

China Dolls, "Oh Oh Oh," perceptive viewers will note that the pop band is actually Thai-Chinese.

China Dolls, "Kow Mai Ruk," (the Dolls try Hip Hop style)

And, when ready for something completely different, try the New York Dolls, "Personality Crisis." There are more in the Iggy Pop school of rock.

And, of course, these Dolls have an Ian Hunter connection: Ian Hunter, "Standin' In My Light."

"Standin' In My Light," Ian Hunter, Live in Oslo, Sweden.

Well I finally found you out
All through your mess of dreams
You won't make it to the night
and you're standing in my light
You know you've been bad for me
You ain't got the weight to hate
But you ain't no pretty sight
And you're standing in my light

Move over cause you're standing in my light
Move over cause you're standing in my light
Move over cause you're standing in my light (yeah)
Move over cause you're standing in my light

Now when your old man beats the drums
Gotta run run run that's dumb
A little less ego A little more fight
Move over cause you're standing in my light

Things go bad and the risks get high
Sweeping dead bodies 'cross an open sky
You took my pictures from your walls
Ain't gonna trade with the pain of the New York Dolls

Move over cause you're standin in my
(Move over cause you're standin in my)
Move over cause you're standin in my
(Move over cause you're standin in my)
Move over cause you're standin in my
(Move over cause you're standin in my)
Move over cause you're standing in my light
Move over cause you're standing in my light
Move over cause you're standing in my light
Move over cause you're standing in my light
Move over cause you're standing in my light
Move over cause you're standing in my light Yeah.......Alright
Move over cause you're standing in my light

I wish you luck on your very last chance
Cause I knew you blew it at the song and dance
you froze my feelings, but thats alright
and you're standing in my light

Lyrics are posted for educational purposes only; copyright remains with the original owner.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

AP Economics: Specialization

Specialization can be understood by examining, "The Economics of Professional Sports: Comparative Advantage and Specialization."

Cf. Bade and Parkin, Chapter 3.5, 34.2.

John Fogerty, "Centerfield" (Live at the Soundstage Studios, Chicago, USA on November 29th, 2007).

Some fish, some gather, some hunt, and some are warriors as societies specialize tasks within society. The Agoras

Agora, Tyre Graphic source: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5 License.

referred to in "River" were the "place of assembly" in ancient Greece.

Ian Hunter, "River Of Tears," from "Man Overboard."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

AP Economics: Absolute Advantage

The student's version of the lesson on absolute advantage examines the question: "NAFTA: Are Jobs Being Sucked Out of the United States?"

A brief introduction to absolute advantage, geared to grades 6-8 but not simplistic, assists in understanding NAFTA and absolute advantage.

Richie Valens, "La Bamba"

Lou Diamond Phillips covering Ritchie Valens' "La Bamba," in the film version based on Valen's life.

1968 U.K. hit "Mexico" by Long John Baldry

AP Economics: Comparative Advantage

The lesson When Disaster Strikes, What Can We Do? focuses on comparative advantage.

Ian Hunter, "How's Your House?"

The song is downloadable at the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund ( to help displaced musicians. Song Courtesy of Yep Roc Records, Video by Grewvia. Posted for educational purposes only, copyright remains with the original owner.

The idea that Americans organized themselves, joined associations, and addressed disasters more than other nations, in particular more than Europeans, was noted in particular by Alexis de Tocqueville in his classic work, Democracy in America.

Cf. Stone, 42, 43f, 645-646, 645f.

Bade and Parkin, Chapter 3.5, 34.2.

Cf. Open Yale Courses produced a video on Tocqueville for the Introduction to Political Philosophy (PLSC 114).

Video source: Yale University 2009, some rights reserved. Unless otherwise indicated in the credits section of certain lecture pages, all content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

AP Economics: Broken Window Fallacy

"I predict future happiness for Americans
if they can prevent the government
from wasting the labors of the people
under the pretense of taking care of them."
Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

AP Economics: Production Possibilities Curve (Circular Flow with Supply and Demand and Absolute and Comparative Advantage)

The production possibilities curve is often described as the issue of `guns vs. butter,' or a model illustrating the relationship between a nation's investment in defense and civilian goods. The model is obviously simplified for the purposes of a graph but it illustrates how much a society should devote to defense and military spending as opposed to how much a society should devote to consumer products and goods.

The origination of the actual phrase is not known but one well-known theory is that it arose from populist and reformer William Jennings Bryan's (March 19, 1860 – July 26, 1925)

A Republican satire on Bryan's "Cross of Gold" speech.

Graphic source: this image is in the public domain due to its age.

resignation as secretary of state in 1915 during the Wilson Administration. At the outbreak of World War I, the leading global exporter of nitrates for gunpowder was Chile. Chile had maintained neutrality during the war and provided nearly all America's nitrate requirements, as it was also the principal ingredient of chemical fertilizer in farming. The export product was sodium nitrate, a salt mined in northern Chile.

With substantial popular opinion running against U.S. entry into the war, the Bryan resignation and peace campaign (joined prominently with Henry Ford's efforts) became a banner for local against national interests. Bryan was no more pro-German than Wilson; his motivation was to expose and publicize what he considered to be an unconscionable public policy.

The National Defense Act of 1916 directed the President to select a site for the artificial production of nitrates. It was not until September 1917, several months after America entered the war, that Wilson selected Muscle Shoals, Alabama,

after more than a year of competition among competing political rivals. A deadlock in Congress was broken when Senator Ellison D. Smith from South Carolina sponsored the National Defense Act of 1916 that directed "the Secretary of Agriculture to manufacture nitrates for fertilizers in peace and munitions in war at water power sites designated by the President." This was presented by the news media as an issue between "guns and butter."


Cf. Guns versus butter model.

Bade and Parkin, Chapter 3.1.

Cf. "Now muscle shoals has got the Swampers" (the studio band) in the song "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd (by the way of mockery, deliberately misspelling the name of their unpopular high school physical education teacher).

Muscle Shoals long has been associated with a rich cross-pollination of musical styles that originated in the area. Black artists from the area (Arthur Alexander

Arthur Alexander, "You Better Move On"

and James Carr

James Carr, "The Dark End of the Street," 1967, later covered by white and black artists alike including Elvis Costello, Ry Cooder, Aretha Franklin, Linda Ronstadt, Percy Sledge, The Allman Brothers, Richard Thompson and Linda Thompson, as well as Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton. The song is a classic example of the "Muscle Shoals Sound."

are ideal examples) who utilized white country music styles in their work and white artists from the Shoals frequently borrowed from the blues/gospel influences of their black contemporaries, creating a generous melting pot of music.

In the early rock 'n' roll era, Sam Phillips, founder of nearby Memphis-basedSun Records, lived in the area and, and stated in his autobiography that Muscle Shoals (primarily radio station WLAY (AM), which had both "white" and "black" music on its playlist) influenced his merging of these sounds at Sun Records with Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash. Also based in Memphis is the creative and related black and white concoction originating from Stax Records.

Thereafter, during the rock era, the Beatles were influenced by Arthur Alexander,

recording his "Anna (Go to Him)," a song written and originally performed by Alexander. His version was released as a single by Dot Records on 17 September 1962.

Not to be outdone, the Rolling Stones also recorded and performed live Alexander's,

"You Better Move On."

Another British invasion band, the Hollies, also recorded "You Better Move On" in 1964.

AP Economics: Opportunity Costs

Opportunity Cost: The Soviet Choice for Growth

The lesson plan references a well-know Soviet plan about "Five Year Plans," a scheme by which the government planned to improve the lot of the people.

The phrase about "five year plans" was popularized in American culture by the rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival. "Who'll Stop the Rain"

Graphic source: qualifies as fair use under United States copyright law.

is a song written by John Fogerty and originally recorded by Creedence Clearwater Revival for their 1970 album Cosmo's Factory. It was one of three double sided singles from that album to reach the top five on the U.S. Pop Singles Chart and the first of two to reach the #2 spot on the American charts. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked it #188 on its "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list.

During 1970, right after the Great Society programs of LBJ and of course the resigned but somewhat angry feeling of the song, many see "Who'll Stop the Rain" as a thinly-veiled protest against the Establishment, with the final verse referring to music, large crowds, rain, and crowds trying to keep warm, indicative of the band's experience at the Woodstock Festival in August of 1969.

There is also a line during the song's second verse about "five-year plans and new deals wrapped in golden chains" that may indicate a general cynicism altogether about all politicians. I believe Fogerty was much more specific in his target, and based on his working-class Catholic roots, and general aversion to all politicians, both on the left and the right, he had a more focused target.

He opposes government intervention of any sort. Note that "five year plans" is an obvious reference to the First Five Year Plan (1928-33) of the Soviet example, an obvious target, but Fogerty continues against "new deals," a more pointed critique of a generally popular American plan of FDR. Yet Fogerty equates the two schemes in one line of the lyrics. He is opposed to any government intervention or plan, whether the leftist Soviet variety or the New Deal American president type. Note that both are described as: "wrapped in golden chains." The issue is scarcity and both the Americans with FDR, and the Soviets with Lenin and Stalin, controlled their respective societies, limited freedom, and re-distributed social production.

In any case, the half-minute long fadeout of the song, which reprises the repeating guitar pattern from the intro, seems to reinforce the song's main theme of the 'rain' continuing to go on, interminably, as one politician after proposes one idealist plan after utopian scheme right up until the present.

Cf. Wikipedia.

"Who'll Stop the Rain," John Fogerty

Long as I remember the rain been comin' down.
Clouds of mystery pourin' confusion on the ground.
Good men through the ages, tryin' to find the sun;
And I wonder, still I wonder, who'll stop the rain.

I went down Virginia, seekin' shelter from the storm.
Caught up in the fable, I watched the tower grow.
Five year plans and new deals, wrapped in golden chains.
And I wonder, still I wonder who'll stop the rain.

Heard the singers playin,' how we cheered for more.
The crowd had rushed together, tryin' to keep warm.
Still the rain kept pourin, fallin' on my ears.
And I wonder, still I wonder who'll stop the rain.

Lyrics are quoted for educational purposes only; the copyright remains in the hands of the lawful owner.


Cf. Stone, pp. 10: comparative advantage and, 42, increasing, 35-36, 35f, production possibilities frontier and, 34-36, 35f.

Bade and Parkin, Chapter 1.1, 1.2

The Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, more exactly known as The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, 1939.

Cf. Perestroika

AP Economics: Choice

The Economic Perspective

* Scarcity and choice
o Resources can only be used for one purpose at a time.
o Scarcity requires that choices be made.
o The cost of any good, service, or activity is the value of what must be given up to obtain it.(opportunity cost).

Cf. Bade and Parkin, Chapter 1.1, 1.2.

Obama Tracking Citizens

The White House Office of Management and Budget plan to end a ban on federal Internet sites using comprehensive tracking and surveillance technologies.

American Civil Liberties Union spokesman Michael Macleod-Ball said the move could "allow the mass collection of personal information of every user of a federal government website."

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Center for Democracy and Technology have also objected to provisions of the change in policy. Google technology, the most sophisticated tracking available, has already been accomodated and exempted from Federal policy. EPIC Executive Director Marc Rotenberg stated: "Our primary concern is that the GSA (General Services Administration)has failed to protect the privacy rights of U.S. citizens."

The Fourth Amendment

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Monday, August 10, 2009

AP Economics: Scarcity

The Basic Economic Problem

Vocab Review

* Scarcity
o Land
o Labor
o Capital
o Entrepreneurship

Cf. Stone, p. 8.

Bade and Parkin, Chapter 1.1, 1.2

Related material:

* Accounting Cost
* Opportunity Cost
* Production Possibilities Curve
* Marginal Cost
* Marginal Benefit
* Capitalism
* Command Economy
* Traditional Economy
* Comparative Advantage

who have a bit on scarcity

Scarcity and choice

* Resources can only be used for one purpose at a time.
* Scarcity requires that choices be made.
* The cost of any good, service, or activity is the value of what must be given up to obtain it.(opportunity cost).

but also topics connected to scarcity.

Cf. Scarcity and Choice by Liudmila Guinkel who has suggested a one or two class periods lesson and class activity on the topic.

Sunday, August 09, 2009


Ian Hunter, Soul of America

2 December 1964, Mario Savio, The Free Speech Movement, Sproul Hall, University of California, Berkeley, "we are human beings."

4 May 1970, Kent State

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Possible National Guard Deployment in Alabama

For any one old enough to remember Kent State, these stories are alarming when troops are being deployed under normal conditions.

According to the video post (unedited, including typos, etc.):

8/5/2009 Expected deployment of National Guard troops in Jefferson County, Alabama, to perform law enforcement duties in violation of Posse Comitatus due to budget cuts. Plans to slash $4.1 million from the budget of Sheriff Mike Hale by Jefferson County commissioners in order to head off a municipal bankruptcy filing were approved by Circuit Judge Joseph L. Boohaker, Watson wrote.

Guard Deployment in Alabama Result of Bankster Scam Hippocrates

As it turns out, Jefferson Countys financial woes are a direct result of a bankster derivative scam.

A few years ago Jefferson County, Alabama bought 17 interest rate swaps from JP Morgan, Lehman Brothers and Bank of America with the intention of hedging interest rate risk, writes Moe Tkacki for the Business Insiders Clusterstock. In a sequence of events that played out in state capitals, city halls, and school and public utility boardrooms throughout the country , Jefferson County officials bought into complex interest rate swap contracts they didnt understand, at much higher prices than the going rate, only to face hundreds of millions of dollars in sudden collateral calls when the subprime mortgage crisis began.

Credit default swaps are a mega-scam perpetuated by the major banks. Last year, there was more than 70 trillion dollars in the so-called credit default swap market, a sum larger than the GDP of the world. If only 1 to 2 percent service fee were charged in these transactions (which are based on illusory assets), were talking nearly three-quarters to one-and-a-half trillion dollars in real term fees being siphoned off (i.e. hijacked from) the global economy for no productive, but merely parasitic, purpose, writes Zeus Yiamouyiannis. One thing of which I am convinced, we have just been ripped off trillions of dollars and 700 billion of even real money wont fix the problem.

In late 2008, then Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson attempted to cover-up this scam and protect his bankster masters. Now the damage is coming home to roost in places like Jefferson County, Alabama. Expect the rot to spread and troops to be called out in other parts of the country.

It really is a genius plan on the part of our globalist rulers. First, they hijacked the economy with their scam. Second, they created an economic crisis of fantastic proportion (and are now demanding world government as the cure). Third, in response to the social and political disintegration caused by their scam cash-strapped government tells us they have to lay-off the police and send out the troops because anarchy will rule if they dont.

It is problem-reaction-solution on steroids.

For now, reports the Associated Press, sewer system is still operating normally — sewers are one of the hallmarks of an advanced civilization — but the county has closed four satellite courthouses and residents are standing in line for hours at the main courthouse to do routine business like renewing car tags.

It doesnt take much imagination to speculate what will happen when the sewers stop working and normal government operations — fire and ambulance service, county hospitals, trash collection, the maintenance of the public water system, etc. — come crashing to a halt.

Jefferson County will need the National Guard to stop the plebs from revolting.

OPERATION OVERWATCH: The US Marines, The British Royal Marines, and Canadian Military

FEMA is coordinating activities with foreign troops. The US and Royal Marines troops are conducting a joint exercise. They are landing in the Southern California mountains to refuel and move on to operation N.L.E. 09

Helicopters identified: Cobra US Military force two, Canadian Griffon Force One, Merlin helicopters British Force Two.

Total force is Five choppers

Date 27 July 09, at 4:30 pm PST: Big Bear Airport airport in the southern California Mountains.