Ninos P. Malek is a Professor of Economics at De Anza College (Cupertino, California) and an Economics Lecturer at San Jose State University. He also taught Economics and Advanced Placement Economics at Valley Christian High School in San Jose, California for fourteen years.
He earned his B.A. and M.A. in Economics from San Jose State University and a Ph.D. in Economics from George Mason University. Dr. Malek has been recognized for his teaching excellence at both the high school and college level and he placed second in the Economics Communicators Contest in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2008 sponsored by the Association of Private Enterprise Education. Dr. Malek has led several economics teacher workshops and student seminars for The Fraser Institute, and he was a featured speaker for the Gus A. Stavros Center for Economic Education at Florida State University.
Dr. Malek also has also written several opinion pieces for the Ludwig von Mises Institute and the Foundation for Economic Education.
Social justice advocates argue that it is “society’s” duty to eliminate pain and inequality wherever and whenever it exists. What is interesting is that I have never met Mr. Society. Society is composed of individuals. What the social justice advocates really mean is that the government should redistribute wealth from rich individuals to lower-income and middle-income individuals. In my classes, I use the example of my orthopedic surgeon friend and my neurosurgeon friend who earn very high incomes from their private practices — and from other business opportunities presented to
Anybody who refers to the United States as a free enterprise, free market, or capitalist economy is wrong. Real liberty and freedom mean that individuals, including business owners, may choose to associate with whomever they wish based on whatever criteria they wish. This is not the case in the United States. The Oregon-based Sweet Cakes bakery has been ordered to pay $135,000 in damages for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple for their ceremony. The couple had filed a complaint with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries in 2013 after the bakery refused them, and then
Good intentions do not always lead to good outcomes. In fact, many times, they lead to dire consequences. One of the first principles students learn in a good economics class is that individuals respond predictably to incentives and that individuals subjectively determine their own benefits and costs. In other words, nobody knows the individual better than him or herself. Moreover, everyone looks at the world through his or her own glasses. I use three main examples to illustrate this. 1. I’m being exploited. On the first day of my economics classes, I tell my students that if they saw my paychecks
From the television news to Facebook, it seems like everyone has an opinion on the NFL and national anthem controversy. On one side of the spectrum, there is the position that standing up during the anthem means ignoring the injustices that are occurring to certain segments of society. Therefore, kneeling or not putting your hand on your heart is a peaceful and appropriate form of recognizing these problems.On the other side of the spectrum, the argument is that these players should be respectful and thankful to live in a country where they have had the opportunity to get out of poverty and make
The people of Houston and much of Texas are suffering today, with homes and businesses being hit by ongoing rain and flooding from Tropical Storm Harvey. One political attempt to help natural-disaster victims like these is laws against “price gouging,” like Texas’s Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act. The intention of such laws is to prevent companies that sell bottled water or other urgently needed items from taking advantage of customers in a crisis. Texas gets many things right in my opinion, but this is not one of them. The invisible hand of the market reaches out to help
When was the last time you were exploited?Was it at a baseball game, when you were forced to pay $20 for parking and $10 for nachos? At work, when you were forced to accept less pay than you know you’re really worth? When you wrote a check to your landlord for $200 more than you think the price of your monthly rent should be?You might not like me after I tell you this, but you weren’t being exploited in any of those situations.You voluntarily paid for that parking space and those nachos, showed up for work every day to earn that paycheck, and signed a lease for your apartment. I’m assuming,
Dating doesn’t come easily to most of us. We put our egos at stake each time we ask someone out. We put our free time at stake each time we accept a date. And it can be hard to tell what someone really means when they say “I’d love to, but…,” or to know when to keep dating and when to break things off.But economics can help! Since economics is the study of individuals making choices, the economic way of thinking can be used to understand many of the dating and relationship situations you may find yourself in. When a date is less appealing than studying Revealed preference is the
I teach many concepts and principles in my economics classes. But if I only had one brief class session with my students, I would want them to understand three key concepts. Here’s what I’d like them — and you — to know in the hope of viewing different situations and voluntary exchanges in a new and more useful light. 1. Sunk Costs — All the Single Ladies I tell my students that after my class, their Facebook status will change from “in a relationship” to “single” or at least, “it’s complicated.” This is because they will learn the concept of sunk costs. A common example
Economics offers insights into human action that other subjects simply don't."] Most students view economics as a boring, mathematical subject. This is unfortunate because economics is probably the most important subject students can study. Not only does it help explain how markets allocate resources, but it also offers insights into human action — how individuals make choices. Why is the study of economics so often more dull than it ought to be? Because many economists who view themselves as scientists only apply the analysis of the natural sciences and mathematics to economics. They exclude
My 85-pound pit bull lives better than most people on this planet do. He gets water every day, and not just any old tap water. He gets reverse-osmosis filtered water. He doesn’t eat just plain, run-of-the-mill dog food. He gets high-end dog food and, sometimes, he even gets to eat the same organic beef and chicken that my family and I eat for dinner. This dog gets better medical care than most humans."] Not only does he drink high-quality water every day and eat good meals — he also gets supplements. He takes fish oil for his skin and coat, joint supplements, and canine multivitamins. This
What comes to mind when you hear the term “pro-choice”? If it’s the number of deodorant options at your local convenience store, you must not follow the news very closely. “Choice” has become a euphemism for abortion rights specifically (along with “life” and prenatal rights), but the concept of choice is actually a fundamental precept of living in a free society. So I want to take back the term “pro-choice.” Truly supporting choice means supporting the right of individuals to choose what they want to do with their bodies and property and with whom they want to do it as long as
Is it illegal to date or marry someone only because they are famous, wealthy, or both? No. Are there unattractive people who have good looking dates or spouses only because they are famous or wealthy? Yes. Is it legal to go to a nightclub for the sole purpose of meeting someone to “hook up” with? Yes. Most Friday and Saturday nights — and on most Spring Break evenings — people are having sex with other people whose names they haven’t even bothered to learn. Consensual sex is legal. But as soon as one party offers cash to another in exchange for sex and that money is voluntarily
Michael Lugo, owner of Michael’s Tasting Room in St. Augustine, Florida, recently received a note from a customer stating that the Christmas music playing in his restaurant was “offensive” and too “religious.” Meanwhile, across the pond, Hilary Penning, owner of Organic Kitchen in London, England, was heavily criticized by some of her customers and by the popular website for mothers, Mumsnet. They faulted Penning for her new policy of prohibiting children under 5 in her restaurant. Both of these are examples of a certain kind of popular arrogance when it comes to other people’s private
Airbnb is now facing greater opposition in New York thanks to a recent bill signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo which bans advertising of short-term rentals. Under the current Multiple-Dwelling Law, it is illegal to rent out entire apartments for fewer than 30 days if the tenant is not residing in the complex. According to the Airbnb site: The New York State Multiple Dwelling Law restricts renting out a Class A multiple dwelling for periods of fewer than 30 days. The definitions of "Class A" and "multiple dwelling" can be found in Sections 4-7 and 4-8 of Article 1 of the Multiple Dwelling Law. The
If Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were my economics students, I’d give both a big, fat "F". But some economic fallacies are worse than others, and Trump’s philosophy on international trade is frighteningly bad. It is not only harmful to American citizens’ wallets, but it is premised on the flimsiest of foundations. During the first presidential debate, Trump argued that a CEO of an American company is wrong to move his or her operations to Mexico and then sell the company’s products back to
During a recent discussion, a good friend of mine said that he wished businesses were more altruistic instead of profit-oriented. I told him that if all businesses depended on human love and kindness, we’d be in trouble. As much as he loves doing what he does for a career (he is a teacher), if he did not get a paycheck, I am positive he would find a different job. In fact, teachers unions usually protest that teachers are underpaid! His response to me was that there is a difference between management (especially CEOs)
A few weeks ago, park staff asked Bina Ramesh, a 22-year-old woman celebrating her birthday at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, to change her attire because they deemed it inappropriate—something that Ramesh interpreted as an obvious ploy to discriminate against women. The story does make the park look pretty unsympathetic. It seems that the male park security guard who confronted Ramesh believed that her V-neck shirt was too provocative for a female to wear. Rather than buying a new t-shirt from the theme park, Ramesh switched shirts with her male friend and re-entered the park
Senator Elizabeth Warren recently delivered a speech in Washington entitled “America’s Monopoly Problem,” and it could completely change the way we live our lives. That’s because if she is chosen by Hillary Clinton to be the Vice President and if Clinton defeats Trump, this could be a signal of what is to come with respect to antitrust activity by the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. I want to dig a little deeper into why, exactly, this matters. In her talk, she accuses Apple, Google, and Amazon of using anticompetitive practices and “monopoly power”
Many voters, especially younger voters, are “feeling the Bern.” But what exactly are they feeling? Generally, these individuals believe that some people (financially successful individuals) owe other people (low-income individuals)—and that some people, like those of the working class or youth demographic, are entitled to receive benefits at the expense of others. Is This an Economic Issue? Or Does It Go Deeper? Words and promises like “free” or “I will give you” are music to the ears of people who are feeling rather than thinking. A few basic economics lessons could really benefit
As I was walking around the waterfront in Vancouver, I noticed some beautiful yachts. I took a picture with the largest, dreaming about how nice it would be to have one of my own. After my walk, I returned to my hotel room, scrolled through the television channels, and stumbled across the show Secret Lives of the Super Rich. It consisted of segments about multimillion dollar mansions, a $100 million dollar Colorado cabin on several acres of land, a $3.4 million car and, yes, a 237-foot yacht with a price tag of around $60 million. Many people would be angry or disgusted with this show. Unfortunately,
The presidential campaign has brought up several economic issues, and international trade has been front and center of the debate. So, as I look at my Donald Trump tie that was made in China and my Donald Trump shirts that were made in Bangladesh and Indonesia, I want to clarify some basic economic concepts dealing with trade. I want to dispel the myth that Trump and many others perpetuate: That if something is produced in the United States, this is good for Americans and, if something is made in another country, this is bad for Americans. When I teach international trade to my “Principles of
Capitalism is frequently misrepresented on the news, on social media, and in numerous other places. These sources portray the big, evil company as the “dark side”, which is personified by a CEO. In contrast, the “mom and pop” small business owner is heroic – that is, until they become a “big player” and start “exploiting” their customers. Liberals and socialists cry foul when a corporation gets government subsidies and they argue that this is proof of how capitalism takes from those at the bottom and transfers money to those at the top. And therein lies the problem with liberals
What do UFC fighters and prostitutes have in common? Both deal with individual adults who choose to use their bodies how they see fit, in various ways. The former was almost banned thanks to Senator John McCain who compared mixed martial arts (MMA) to human cockfighting, while the latter remains illegal, except in certain counties in Nevada. Some argue that mixed martial arts is barbaric and inhumane. However, the main difference between MMA fights and animal fights is that the men and women who participate in MMA voluntarily choose to step into the Octagon, while helpless animals are forced to
In order to label a country “capitalist” there must be complete freedom of association and private property. There is a limited government in place, but the government would be a referee, not a player. It would be outrageous to watch ESPN and hear, “The ref had a great game! He sacked the quarterback twice and intercepted the ball twice.” The referee is not supposed to hit players or catch the football! He calls the game fair and square and enforces the rules of the NFL, even if one team is beating the other by a large margin. That’s it! True “capitalism” (or “free markets” or
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