Dr. Joy Buchanan is a professor of quantitative analysis and economics at Samford University.
Mr. Rogers told his television audience that when we see scary things in the news, it’s encouraging to “look for the helpers.” It is heartwarming to see first responders rescuing people from the wreckage left by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. Anonymous and generous men and women can become front-page heroes. The selfless efforts of these “helpers” in Houston and Florida no doubt saved lives. Their sacrifice cannot be overappreciated.The efforts of people in the marketplace, however, can be underappreciated, if not vilified.The media rarely celebrate ordinary people doing jobs for
When a local school takes a field trip to city hall on an episode of the show Parks & Recreation, Ron Swanson, a freedom-loving curmudgeon who works for the local government, meets a 9-year-old girl named Lauren. He is uninterested in engaging with her — until he learns that she’s writing an essay on why government matters.Wanting to help her, Ron begins with a lesson in property.“This is your lunch,” Ron says to Lauren as he empties her lunchbox onto the table.“Now, you should be able to do whatever you want to with this, right?”Lauren nods.“... But here I come, the government,”
Yesterday and today are Bring Your Own Cup Days for Slurpees. On these special days, gleeful children and adults flock to their local 7-Elevens with cups of all shapes and sizes to fill up with ice-cold, sweet, slushy goodness. This year, the limit on cup size is 10 inches in diameter. But in previous years, there were no restrictions on the size of your “cup,” so people brought huge glasses, mailboxes, plastic sleds — Wait, mailboxes and sleds? Yes. People have brought mailboxes and sleds to fill up on Slurpee day. https://twitter.com/ErikZ/status/711336729450512384 https://twitter.com/thetuckeradams1/status/710919969501007872 Of
Are famines just things of the past? In the ancient world, a bad harvest threatened lives. The agricultural output of the world has dramatically increased in the last couple hundred years, and today, the Earth supports billions of healthy people thanks to advances in farm technology and global trade. Where individuals are relatively free from violence and have access to global markets, widespread starvation is not a problem today. Healthy food staples are cheap. And, in an emergency, there is a lot of goodwill out there, such that a community with a free press and open markets will receive aid. Fortunately,
By all means, get your date a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day. In my opinion, dark chocolate is far superior to other traditional Valentine’s Day trinkets. What good is a stuffed bear (unless it’s holding a box of truffles)? To really leave an impression, however, you want to give them something new and exciting, such as current insights into the rollercoaster chocolate market. “Did you know that a series of cocoa bean export contract defaults could seriously disrupt the economy in Ivory Coast?” “No, but I could talk to you all night!” See how easy that is? Keep reading to learn
At what price would you hand over your homemade Christmas cookies? My happiest memory of the holidays is making Christmas cookies at home with my family. Several hours and bags of flour, not to mention cinnamon and cloves, were the inputs to the production of the baked goods. At the end, we got to eat fresh-baked cookies! But as much as I love my family-recipe cookies, I would hand them all over to you for the right price, say, $50 per cookie. What would I have to pay you to sell me your homemade holiday dessert? Many of you are producers of cookies, especially at this time of year. What economists
When you pay for something, you get what you want. When you vote for something, you get what other people want. Are you one of those people who like raisins in cookies? When given the choice, I pick chocolate chip. Indeed, everyone I know prefers chocolate chips. However, judging by the fact that I see raisin cookies in stores, there must be people out there who like them. (Pollsters cannot accurately count raisin people because no one admits to it.) If you are one of those raisin people, you may be in the minority, but you can still get your first-choice cookie any time you go to a grocery store.
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