Archive for September, 2009

Sep 25 2009

Microeconomics teachers: Have you discovered Econgirl yet?

YouTube – jodiecongirl’s Channel.

Jodi Beggs, aka “econgirl” is a PhD candidate at Harvard where she teaches introductory Microeconomics to Masters students. She has a great blog written for econ students and casual readers called Economists do it with Models. She also produces a series of mini-lectures on topics from Greg Mankiw’s textbook Principles of Economics (a text widely used by AP Econ teachers).

In Jodi’s own words,

I’m offering up these lectures either as a complement to your current economics course or as a substitute for what you didn’t learn the first time you took economics

Another great resource for high school economics teachers! I had my students watch the videos on the Demand Curve and the Determinants of Demand today, while jotting down in their notes the topics they already knew, did not yet know, and the questions they had based on Jodi’s videos.

Thanks, Jodi! I hope more econ teachers like myself find ways to put your great resource to use in our classes!

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Sep 24 2009

Read WW Blog on your iPhone!

Published by under Technology

Now anyone who tells you technology is evil is nuts! Without technology, you wouldn’t be reading this amazing blog! Without even more technology, you would not be able to read this blog while sitting on the train or bus in the morning! That’s right, Welker’s Wikinomics Blog has gone MOBILE!

Students, teachers, and lovers of Economics: Reach for your iPhone, Blackberry, or other web-enabled mobile device right now! Open the browser and load this site. Press the little “+” button on the bottom of your screen, select “Add to Home Screen”. Not only will a cool “WW” icon appear on your home screen, but reading the blog on your mobile device is easier than ever due to a new mobile friendly modification I have added to the blog! In effect, my blog has become an “app” for your iPhone or Blackberry.

You can read, comment, browse past articles by category, do everything you can do on the regular site, but it’s all set up to be done easily and comfortably on your 3.5 inch mobile screen! Check it out, read WW Blog on the go!

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Sep 24 2009

China, the land of opportunity, attracts America’s tired, poor, huddled masses

Young Americans Going To China For Jobs – the Huffington Post

I remember my 9th grade history class, when we learned about how so many thousands of Chinese immigrated to the American west to build the railroads. My textbook had a picture that looked like this:

Well, that was 130 years ago. Today, the world is a very different place. America, once the land of opportunity, has shed hundreds of thousands of jobs a month for 18 months straight. Unemployment, near 10%, has driven the economy into its deepest recession since the 1930s, trade is grossly imbalanced, as are federal budgets, and national debt has inched ever closer to 100% of GDP. All in all, things are pretty gloomy.

Someday, ninth grade history students may look in their textbooks and read a different story about the early 21st Century. In the future, they may see pictures like this in their history books:

That’s right, today the land of opportunity is China, and hundreds of thousands of foreigners, including thousands of Americans, are packing their bags for the “Middle Kingdom” in search of work.

Young foreigners… are coming to China to look for work in its unfamiliar but less bleak economy, driven by the worst job markets in decades in the United States, Europe and some Asian countries.

Many do basic work such as teaching English, a service in demand from Chinese businesspeople and students. But a growing number are arriving with skills and experience in computers, finance and other fields.

“China is really the land of opportunity now, compared to their home countries,” said Chris Watkins, manager for China and Hong Kong of MRI China Group, a headhunting firm. “This includes college graduates as well as maybe more established businesspeople, entrepreneurs and executives from companies around the world.”

Some 217,000 foreigners held work permits at the end of 2008, up from 210,000 a year earlier, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Thousands more use temporary business visas and go abroad regularly to renew them.

Some foreigners see China not just as a refuge but as a source of opportunities they might not get at home.

Konstantin Schamber, a 27-year-old German, passed up possible jobs at home to become business manager for a Beijing law firm, where he is the only foreign employee.

“I believe China is the same place as the United States used to be in the 1930s that attracts a lot of people who’d like to have either money or career opportunities,” Schamber said.

There’s a lot of talk in America today, on the news, on the radio, in the papers, about whether the US economy will ever return to “normal”. Unemployment is nearly 10%, and some economists think it may take years for it to fall below 10% once more.

I guess the good news is, if Americans start heading to China in ever larger numbers to find work, the number of people looking for work in the US will fall, leading to lower unemployment. Of course, that’s not how the US wants to bring down unemployment, nor is it good for the nation’s long-run growth potential if high skilled workers go abroad to find jobs. But it does raise a very important question: Will America be the land of opportunity in the future? Or will its tired, huddled masses become the “boat people” of the 21st Century, seeking employment on distant shores.

Full disclosure here: I myself have only worked as a teacher abroad, including in China! And to be honest, it is because the demand for my skills is clearly greater overseas than it is at home! My income is far higher abroad than I could earn in an American public school, and my services and skills are valued much greater in the international setting, particularly in Asia!

One response so far

Sep 23 2009

AP and IB Economics study guides v3.0 ready for download!

Once again I have updated the series of 20 study guides covering every unit from the AP and IB Economics syllabus. The latest free versions of my study guides for students include for the first time hyperlinks to blog posts relating to every topic in the course, placed throughout the study guides, providing students with easy to follow links to articles connecting the concepts they study to events going on in the real world. Through the blog, which isconstantly updated with current topics, students can participate in a global discussion among Econ students through comments, as well as see how the graphs and concepts they study can be applied to a real world context.

Student have been downloading my free study guides for over two years, and even college students have benefited from the resources here. Just last week I received the following email from a former AP Econ student now studying business at Boston University:

Hey Mr. Welker, just wanted to let you know that I’m retaking economics for my business requirements… The pace is SO FAST! But I’m using your wikinomics as a study tool. It’s really helpful. In fact, all your former students here at BU admit that they use your study guides all the time because they’re often times better than the resources that BU gives us. I guess that’s something you can share to your current econ students!

For teachers, lecture notes in either SMART Notebook or PowerPoint format are available for purchase. Several teachers have already purchased my presentations and begun using them in their own classes. When you purchase a unit, it is yours to edit, re-format, enhance, and re-arrange anyway you wish.

Check out the latest versions of the free study guides and browse the catalog of unit lecture notes available for purchase in PowerPoint or Notebook format. If you like what you see, direct your students to my site, and please leave a comment at the bottom of the page! Enjoy!

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Sep 23 2009

Tit, tat, tariff… China and America’s latest shoving match is underway

America, a champion of free trade between the world’s nations… right?

Actually, the United States places tariffs (taxes on import) on virtully every item it trades for with the rest of the world. Below is just one tiny section of the 75 page table of contents (!!) of the “Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States”.

JOGGING SUITS knitted or crocheted . . . . . . . . .. . . . . 6112.11-19
JOINERY of wood, for builders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4418
JOINTS artificial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . 9021.11
JOJOBA OIL . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1515.90, 1516-1518
JOKE ARTICLES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9505.90
JONGKONG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . Ch. 44
JOURNALS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . 49-3, 4902
JUDO UNIFORMS of cotton . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . 6203.22, 6204.22
JUICES fruit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20-US1-3
fruit and vegetable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20-5, 2009.11-90
meat, fish, or aquatic invertebrates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1603.00
JUMPSUITS men’s or boys’ . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6211.32-33
women’s or girls’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6211.42-43
JUNIPER seeds of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . …0909.50

Yes, folks. Even “Joke Articles” made overseas are taxed before ending up in the hands of American consumers (by 70% as it turns out!). But tariffs are no joke. The podcast below offers an excellent evaluation of the effects of America’s tariffs on various stakeholders, including American consumers, producers, and workers and on foreign producers, consumers and workers.

[podcast]http://welkerswikinomics.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/Tariffs.mp3[/podcast]

After listening to the whole podcast, respond the the following questions in a comment.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does a tariff on Chinese tires affect American tire manufacturers? Why are American firms that make tires actually opposed to the tariff on Chinese imports?
  2. Which group is the main proponent of higher tariffs on Chinese tires? Why does this group favor higher tariffs?
  3. How have the Chinese responded to the American tire tariff? Why are American chicken farmers upset about the tax on Chinese tires?
  4. Why do “97% of economists say tariffs are a bad idea?” The commentator says economists hate them because “they are so inefficient”. Discuss the economic reasoning behind this statement.
  5. Do you think it is likely that the 35% tariff on Chinese tires will save or create jobs for Americans? Why or why not? What are your conclusions regarding the economic wisdom of tariffs?

10 responses so far

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