Archive for September, 2007

Sep 28 2007

So, how are those Zimbabweans doing under Mugabe’s price controls?

Hungry Zimbabweans Try to Eat Giraffe
A while back we blogged about Robert Mugabe’s order to freeze all prices in Zimbabwe in order to halt the country’s hyperinflation. At the time we were studying equilibrium price and how it results in allocative and productive efficiency, meaning that neither too much or too little of a particular product is produced given the availability of resources and manufacturing technology.

A few months after the price controls took affect, the question remains, how are the people of Zimbabwe fairing? I think the headline above answers this question rather clearly. From the article:

Police stopped villagers from slaughtering and eating a giraffe that strayed into the outskirts of the capital amid chronic food shortages caused by an economic crisis, the official media reported Saturday.

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Sep 27 2007

Adventure? Excitement? The teacher craves not these things…

Published by under AP Economics

Habitat for Humanity Philippines

This will probably be my last post for a while. My wife and I are leading a group of 16 SAS juniors and seniors to Lucena City on the Luzon Island in the Philippines next week to build a house with Habitat for Humanity. The following week, we take another group of 24 sophomores to Chengdu in China’s Sichuan Province. I doubt I’ll be blogging much from these two places, however I am sure I’ll have a lot to blog about when I get back. Check back around October 15 and we’ll be back in full swing here at Shanghai American School.

In the mean time, if you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to check out the new SAS Economists student blog where our AP and IB students have begun their careers as bloggers with much enthusiasm and several great posts have already appeared! These kids are amazing writers and some of their blog posts include analysis that goes way beyond what I would expect of them only 5 weeks into their Principles of Economics course! Way to go guys, keep it up and I hope some of you choose to post while I’m away on these trips.

Lucena City

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Sep 24 2007

Cut taxes on the rich! How else are they ever gonna catch up with the super rich?

Wow, what can I say? America’s rich are becoming “disenfranchised” as the super rich leave them behind. While the rich can barely afford one family boat and vacations to Martha’s Vineyard, the super rich keep yachts in multiple harbors and jet off to Italy at their whim. This is an outrage, and more should be done to narrow the gap between these disparate groups!

Cutting through the satire, this story does get at some interesting core economic principles, namely the impact of taxes on productivity and output growth. What arguments could seriously be made for cutting taxes for the rich? What role to taxes really play in redistributing wealth from one bracket of income earners to another?

In The Know: Are America’s Rich Falling Behind The Super-Rich?

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Sep 24 2007

IB Review – Neo-classical vs. Keynesian views of inflation

Theory 1 – Demand-pull inflation – is inflation demanding?

The Keynesian view of Demand Pull inflation: Notice the large horizontal section of the AS curve. This represents the wage inflexibility and the elasticity of supply at high levels of unemployment. In a recession, large number of workers are unemployed, so any increase in price will result in a large increase in output, since firms can easily attract new workers without increasing wages. So what about the upward sloping and vertical sections? These of course represent the full-employment level (upsloping) and beyond full employment to full-capacity production, when any increase in aggregate demand is “absorbed” by price level increases with no further increase in output, since all resources are being used to their full-capacity, and even further increases in wages will not increase national output.


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Sep 23 2007

Introducing the SAS Economists Blog

SAS Economists – A blog written by AP and IB Econ students at Shanghai American School

It dawned on me this weekend that my students have a LOT to say about economics and how it relates to our world. The Wiki has been a great platform for extending their study of the principles of economics onto a collaborative online learning platform, as over 75 AP students have collaborated on a course study guide.

Part of the wiki experience has included regular posts by students to unit pages called “AP Econ in the News”, where they post a link to an article relating to the current unit’s topics and include a short summary. I have decided to take this concept to one more level and create for the students a blog where they can post their articles, summaries and a short discussion and/or questions to get their class mates to think more about how our subject relates to our everyday lives and the world around us.

So I created a blog just for SAS Economics students, both AP and IB, where they can register as authors and post articles whenever they feel inspired to do so. The blog is called “SAS Economists” and it is found at

Any SAS Economics student, AP or IB, can register at this blog and is automatically made an author. Writing for the blog is easy, and a keen student should be able to figure it out in less than five minutes. I would ask that once in a while, if you find an article (perhaps for the AP Econ in the News page), you consider posting it to the blog as well as the wiki. You don’t need to write much to go with the link to the article, just a few words of how it relates to our class and maybe some questions or observations for readers to think about and comment on.

Anyway, I thought I might as well make a student blog, since we already have the student wiki and the teacher blog! So, follow the link above, bookmark it, and check back regularly to see what your classmates are writing about! And become an author yourself! Anyone can do it! Welcome to the blogosphere folks, have fun!

-Mr. W.

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