Economics Week 16 Retirement Speech

Prompt: “My Retrospective Retirement Speech: What I Accomplished, and How I Did It.”

The things we choose to do in life sculpt our experience. The dreams we choose to chase make up the majority of our time. The lifestyles we live bloom from our youth, and evolve as we do. Asking myself what my lifestyle will be before I’ve matured into it sure is an undertaking, but it’s also a chance to dream of what I want to live.

When I’m in my eighties, surrounded by family within the life I’ve created, what do I want to see around me. Do I want to chase stardom, inspiring my peers and bringing light into the areas that have been darkened? Do I want to chase knowledge, soaking up the wisdom of generations past and telling the stories of the old days to my children’s children? Do I simply want to pursue peace within myself and my space, getting to know myself better each day until I can eventually greet myself as an old friend. In my mind the most well rounded choice would be to do a little of each. Inspire people, learn the wisdom of the past and present, and discover myself and my everyday joy.

I can imagine three physical ideas I would like to make real within my world some day. The first is inspiration. I’ve always had an intense fondness of cartoons. I see them as dreams fully realized, the artists inner spirit being brought to life on a paper or screen. I want to make a cartoon one day, one that expresses my emotions, thoughts, and personal inspirations. If this future work of art could inspire someone to be themselves more truthfully or pursue their own individual joy in life I would feel most honored.

The second physical I want to create will take a piece of nature to bring to life. When I am older I want to buy a slice of land, fairly large and able to support my ambition. This ambition is made up by two parts, architecture and agriculture. I’ve always adored tiny house architecture, as well as earthen building. I want to build several earthen tiny houses on my land, either to rent to my friends or to use as multiple Airbnbs. I also want to build an organic farm/ranch for myself. I want to raise goats, cows, chickens, possibly llamas, as well as other animals. I also want to create a fairly large crop production. I’ll raise a cornfield, a pumpkin patch, apple trees, grape vines, sprouts of all sorts, and a decent sized food forest. With the architecture combined with the agriculture I’ll feel confident in my ability to build, maintain, and help things grow.

Once I’m at that point in my life I’ll be ready to have children, who I’m sure will become the light of my life. I’ll want to help them find themselves, bring them joy and humor every day, and encourage anyway they choose to grow and explore themselves. Their happiness will make me extremely content and proud.

At the end of the day, or the end of the life, the physical accomplishments you’ve made matter only as much as how happy and proud you felt while making them. You could earn a high raking job, be making millions, and be miserable. I would call this a life that is not being lived to the fullest, for a life that is not making you happy to live does not create much value for the individual living it. On the contrary you could be dirt poor, but if you’re finding joy and peace within that lack of material wealth I would classify you as among kings. A monk could spend his life meditating in a cave, living off scraps of fruit dropped from the trees. A lawyer could spend his life defending things he doesn’t believe in, living in luxury but feeling empty. I would rather be the monk, truly enjoying every moment of being without ever selling myself.

If I inspire people with my animation, build beauty with my architecture, and grow life with my agriculture I will be very happy and contented. If I can raise my children to love and be true to themselves I will be very proud. If my grandchildren raise their children to love being alive, learn from their mistakes, and laugh as often as they can I will be truly at peace.

Economics Week 14 Labor Unions

Prompt: “Do Labor Unions Cause Price Inflation?”

Labor unions create benefits for their members. These can include reduced hours and higher pay. The labor union enforces that its members are protected from being fired, and that their demands are met. But this stops the free market from deciding how many workers it needs, and how much they’ll be paid. In a free market if a business is close to bankruptcy it can let go of some of its employees, but if they are in a labor union it’s not able to. So the business has to continue paying employees it can’t afford, and therefor has to raise its products prices. This creates inflation, as the business has to continue raising prices in order to pay the employees protected by the labor union.

Economics Week 13 Tariffs

Prompt:  “Does a tariff on imports also reduce exports?”

Tariffs discourage foreign producers from shipping their products to the US. If they have to pay extra to ship their products to the US they’ll have an incentive to sell elsewhere. The individual producers will then have a friendly rapport with the alternative country they are selling to, and are more likely to buy from that country over the country with the tariffs. This reduces exports, and slows down both production and consumption within the US.

Economics Week 12 Voting With Your Dollar

Prompt: “Would you pay 20% more to shop at a store that sells only American-made goods?”

There are several factors at work in this decision: how well the product is made, how the product got made, who made it, and who is selling it. An ideal product in my mind is a well made, long lasting product made from sustainable materials. The ethics and values of the producers are also very important. Purchasing a product is the economic equivalent to voting. Consumers can use this power to support specific business’s, push for more eco-friendly production methods, and send their capital into the community of their choice. As a consumer I would opt to buy from a store in my community who has environment oriented production.

Choosing a producer who lives and works in my country guarantees that my money is going to be recycled back into my economy and make it stronger. It also means we can better regulate the ecological damage caused by production and create a more sustainable cycle of consumerism. If I choose to buy something from another country (even if its cheaper for me), I’m sending my assets into another countries economy. I also have less information about the environmental factors going into making the product, and could be unknowingly putting a bigger strain on the earth.

In conclusion I would opt to buy products made in my community, even if they are more expensive. I’ll have the information about how the product was made, and I know I’m using my dollar to support my community instead of another. Stronger economy, healthier environment.

Economics Week 11 First Come, First Served VS High Bid Wins

Prompt: “In what area of your life would you prefer ‘first come, first served’ to ‘high bid wins’? Why?”

I’m trying to find a reasonably priced piece of raw land to build a house for myself from scratch. This search is all about being the first and having the highest bid. If I were alive during the early days of American colonialism this would be easy; all I’d have to do is plant an apple orchard and that land would be legally mine. But I live in an age where land has been resold time and time again, and price has only continued to rise.

If “first come, first served” worked in real estate over “high bid wins” owning land as a young adult would be much easier. But if I were ever trying to sell land I would prefer the high bid to win. It all depends at what point in life an individual is at. The system is set up for the buyers to be competitive and the sellers to reap the largest benefit. Even though I would love to play god over the economy I recognize that it would eventually lead to my own downfall.

In conclusion this question is idealistic, and if it were experimented with in reality a lot of people would be ripped off. Even though it’s much more challenging for me to live in a high bid wins world it’s ultimately better for the society I live in.

American Literature Week 12 Paine’s Common Sense

Prompt: “The most illogical argument in Common Sense

It’s fairly easy to find illogical arguments sewn within the quilt of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, mainly because the document is based on rhetoric. It’s made to appeal to colonial Americans emotions, to highlight and intensify their outrage against Britain. He explains the situation in dramatized detail, declaring that the colonies shall never be truly free if they are under the thumb of the English. He pushed for revolution, war, and violent outbreak against Great Britain’s monarchy.

He did this through rhetoric as opposed to logic. One of his arguments was that the people demand separation, that most if not every citizen was chomping at the bit for independence. The issue was he hadn’t interviewed the hundreds of thousands he spoke for. Instead he had talked with several, perhaps a few hundred, and decided the public opinion based on their perspectives.

Another of his arguments was that the national dept is a good thing, and assists in bringing the American people together. Having a national problem, a mutual enemy, will cement the people together as steadfast Americans. But I argue that instead of cementing the people together through national dept, war, and hate of the British we could have built our country upon thriving economy, national brotherhood, peace between nations, and growing up from the foundation of the parent country instead of tearing it down. Though this idea may be idealistic, it could have saved many lives. This was the view of the Quakers, who preached to earn independence through peaceful methods rather than bloodshed. Paine’s response to them was to sit out, shut up, and let the men aiming for full scale revolutionary war call the shots.

Paine stated that too much commerce weakens a nation. He said that if we keep trading with Britain we’ll get rich, then we’ll have less motive and less ability to fight against England. We would have had less motive perhaps, but that would be because we are gaining capital. The argument that we would be less able to fight while being rich is a type of paradox. If it were true how was Britain the most powerful country at the time? They excelled in commerce, their trade routes were growing by the year and they invested their gains into their economy and military.

Paine also argued that freedom can never rule without rebellion, war, and a declaration of independence. But to disprove this notion we look to the north, towards our neighbor Canada. Canada had intense freedom without having to bloodily cut all ties to their parent countries. If we followed their techniques we may be closer tied to monarchy, but we could earn freedom without having to trade lives for our cause.

Paine’s Common Sense may have been the most impactful piece of literature at the time, and it definitely played a key role is sculpting our nation and our history. But it stubbornly sought out war, and dominated any group who preferred more peaceful methods of freedom fighting. It was based on emotion fueled rhetoric instead of logic.

Economics Week 10 Public Education

Prompt: “Does he who pays the piper call the tune in education?”

We would hope that parents are sovereign when it comes to the education of their children. We would hope that parents have the power to choose what their children are learning, how they are learning it, and how their child’s growth is measured. We would hope that parents and teachers are on the same page, and that the teachers are teaching according to parents specifications.

Despite these hopes most schools aren’t able to change the way a child is being taught, regardless of the parents requests. Most public school students are taught in similar ways, through a method named Common Core. Common Core is based on nationwide tests, standardization of what is being taught, and graded scores which aim to measure how well a student is absorbing whats being taught. There are independent school districts which have varied teaching methods, but Common Core is the standard. This method was first experimented with in New York, implementing it nearly overnight. Students who had previously been doing fine now began falling behind, and pressure to excel within this system began rising.

I always wondered who was in charge of the way students got taught, and in my younger years I believed it varied from school to school. But the Common Core system has more influence than the people working at individual schools, and the staff of those schools have little power to change what they teach. This is because the Common Core was thought up by and implemented by university level bureaucrats, these were the people that convinced political leaders to enforce this teaching method nationwide. Their reason for doing this differs depending on who you ask, but in most fields nationwide implementation comes down to revenue. In education it also comes down to sculpting the next generation. Whoever wants to shape the next generation, regardless of how they want to shape them, need to pay a pretty penny to convince local politicians. Whoever pays the piper calls the tune.

American Literature Week 11 Freedom Rap

Prompt: Write a five-stanza song — four lines per stanza — for either the Rebels or the Loyalists.

 

Old England, they’re denying us liberty

So we sailed across the sea so we could be free

But their taxes kept on rolling in

They’re avaricious, and that’s a Puritan sin

 

Old George don’t believe that we’re downright blessed

Guess we gotta up and leave him with an empty nest

They think their tea is so great, but I’ll take a cup of joe

I hear when Boston throws a party they make tea outflow

 

Washington shot a guy, and that started a war

But I know deep in my bones just what I’m fighting for

It ain’t as simple as pride, no it ain’t to impress

It’s for my right to life and liberty and happiness

 

We are not just a colony for you to exploit

We’ll win win our liberty from Lexington up to Detroit

We got the men, we got the brains, we got philosophy too

We shall fight and show the strength of our red white and blue

 

So take arms everyone, and lets fight for our nation

Cause who wants to be taxed without some representation?

England thinks its so grand, Americans don’t need em

As Hamilton says lets raise a glass to freedom

 

American Literature Week 10 Ben Franklin

Prompt: “Is there anyone you think is more of the archetypal American than Franklin?”

Ben Franklin was an inventor, a philosopher, a scientist, a politician, and an entrepreneur in colonial America. He moved to Philadelphia in 1723, where he opened a printing shop. He was determined to maintain a good reputation within his business, and through his initiative slowly but surely began replacing the other printers around the city. He printed a newspaper and a yearly almanac, and within these he remained stubbornly unbiased. In his autobiography he advises that this unbiased printing method is the best way to stay virtuous while also becoming successful.

Franklin was an American, but he had a fervent love of European culture. Franklin spent much of his time in Europe during the American revolution, particularly in France. Walter Isaacson, the president of the Aspen institute, argues that the Americans would not have won the revolution if not for Franklin’s diplomacy within France. Franklin was also quite the flirt, charming many of Europe’s most elite women. One theory states that this was apart of Franklin’s strategy, if he won over elite European women they may speak approvingly of him to their politically powerful husbands.

His religious views were anything but average for the time. He was a Deist, believing in an all knowing, all loving God who ruled with justice. Virtue shall be rewarded, while evil shall be punished. Though this isn’t to say that Franklin didn’t indulge in darker theologies throughout points of his life. Franklin was associates with Sir Francis Dashwood, a wealthy English politician with a fondness for debauchery. Dashwood created The Friars of St Francis of Wycombe, a ceremonial establishment meant to attract Europe’s most debaucherous intellectuals. In this club Europe’s elite engaged in many distasteful, usually sexual rituals. There’s plenty of evidence pointing towards Franklin attending these sorts of parties, where he certainly mingled with European nobility and policy makers.

Seeing as how Franklin’s religious taste was quite unusual for the time it’s no mystery as to why he was so tolerant of other peoples spirituality. He rejected Christianity, but he didn’t condemn it. He became friends with many devote Christians, such as the preacher George Whitefield. He also built buildings of worship within the colonies, and insisted these spaces be used by everyone no matter their faith. Preachers would no longer have to give sermons in fields, for because of Franklin now Christians, Puritans, and even Muslims had a place in which they were free to worship however they like.

Franklin was very fond of assisting his fellow colonials in whatever ways he could. For example many American roads were nothing more than streets of mud, and Franklin went through the effort of installing clean brick roads for all to travel on. He also invented the Franklin stove, a fireplace that required much less wood than a usual one and would burn hotter and longer. He found satisfaction in aiding his fellow Americans, and used his wealth, engineering knowledge, and personal discipline to make it happen.

Franklin represents the American archetype in many ways. He was a respected and unbiased entrepreneur, printing the facts and not letting anyone buy his point of view. He was hardworking and kind, putting much of his energy into aiding colonial Americans. He was also determined to maintain proper virtues, and created programs and schedules for himself in the pursuit of personal improvement. He was also very sociable, especially in his escapades throughout Europe. He proved to European elite how intelligent and charming American politicians could be, and ultimately had an enormous impact on the Americans winning their freedom.

Economics Week 9 Schools Vs Churches

Prompt: “Is a tax-supported school different in principle from a tax-supported church?”

Tax funded education is a battlefield. The battle being fought is between people who have different ideals they want taught to their children. The outcome of what ideals are taught effect the sociology, economic efficiency, and political ideology of the next generation. Whoever wins this battle of education decides what children are intellectually spoon fed day after day. The losers are not only legally pressured to send their children to learn ideals they disagree with, but also have to pay tax to teach children ideals they disagree with.

Tax funded churches are places of worship and religious education. There is a variety of ideology and practices which relate to different churches. Going to church is not enforced by law, but many people attend voluntarily for emotional and spiritual motivation. Maintaining a church is not cheap, and the amount of funding that goes into a church determines the quality of services provided by it. If one churches funding is higher than another’s their service is going to become superior, and thus the ideology preached by the church is most likely going to become more mainstream.

Tax funded schools and tax funded churches and fundamentally identical. They both teach their own ideals, and they both attempt to convince people to trust in their ideals. There are three main differences between churches and schools. The first of these is that tax funded education is enforced by law. People attend church by choice, people attend school because they’re legally obligated to. The second difference is churches teach religious and spiritual ideology. Schools teach everyday ideology such as economic stimulation, organizational skill, intellectual competition, and hierarchy. The third difference between churches and schools is that while churches are intended for all ages schools are generally pushed on children and young adults. Schools are intended to sculpt the minds of the youth. Whoever is victorious in the battle for education decides how those minds should be sculpted.