Economics Week 5 Budgeting

Prompt: “How does making a budget reduce impulse shopping?”

Making a budget allows you to add up all of your funds and prioritize where you spend them. It allows you to allocate resources in a responsible disciplined manner, and allows you to take into account whats most important to you. We all have things we want or need to spend money on. Shopping for groceries, paying bills, going out, buying luxury or leisure items, etc. The purpose of budgeting is to clarify to yourself which of these is most important, and to add up how much money you’ll need to spend on it. From there you’ll know how many leftover funds you have for less vital items.

Say you have one hundred dollars. You have to pay for car insurance which costs thirty dollars, schedule a dentists appointment which costs twenty dollars, buy groceries for thirty dollars, and you’d also like to take your partner on a date this weekend. The first three items are things you need. The final item is something you want. Budgeting allows you to analyze all four items, address which of them is most important to you, and plan to allocate your funds based on that importance. In a scenario like this an individual would be best off paying for the insurance, groceries, and medical expenses first. After those are paid off they can spend their remaining funds taking their partner out on the town. If they didn’t think to budget, took their partner out first and spent forty dollars on them, they wouldn’t be able to afford the things on their list that they really needed.

Lets do another example. Say you are going shopping, and you have forty dollars to spend. You need to buy eggs for five dollars, milk for five dollars, bread for five dollars, and salad for five dollars. You would also like to buy some new clothes. While walking by a store you see a beautiful coat in the display window, but it costs thirty dollars. Now, if you hadn’t budgeted the impulse to buy the coat could be overwhelming. But you have budgeted, and you know that if you buy the coat you wont have enough leftover funds to buy your necessities. So you go shopping for the things you need, and while you do you research the coat you saw. Online you find the same coat for ten bucks. Budgeting just saved you twenty dollars, and you walk out of the store with all the food on your list.

In conclusion budgeting not only helps you avoid impulsive shopping, but it also helps you to determine what is most important. Once you’ve figured out what is vital and how much it costs you’re able to spend your funds in a much more beneficial and responsible way. When you make a budget you’re better able to see the big picture of what your money can go towards, and from there you can prioritize whats most important to you.

American Literature Week 6 Cotton, Winthrop, and Rowlandson

Prompt: “Discuss the views of Cotton, Winthrop, and Rowlandson regarding the Puritans’ errand in the wilderness.”

John Cotton felt at the time that he was not needed in the American colonies, but he did play a major role in convincing Europeans to face this unknown wilderness. He gave public sermons telling the people how righteous this endeavor was; it was Gods plan and the Europeans were the chosen people. He wished them Godspeed, describing them as seeds that would be planted in the garden of the new world. He told them that if they held strong to the words of God and the old testament their faith would deliver them to salvation.

John Winthrop was much less idealistic in his views on the blossoming colonies. He was a realist, theorizing on how a society of Puritans could be built and maintained in this unforgiving new terrain. He knew the system of hierarchy would be very different in these new colonies compared to the systems in Europe, and he knew that if there was no clear sovereign many problems would arise. He was also very practical when it came to an economic standpoint; he knew men wouldn’t want to work for nothing. The only way to get around this issue would be to label it as Christian charity. He preached that this new colony would be a demonstration to the world of what a society based on Christian values could look like. If each man gave charity to his neighbor, without expecting anything for his labor only then would God smile upon his society. This is where the term “city on the hill” originated.

Mary Rowlandson was a colonial woman who had been captured by natives and held for 11 months before being ransomed back. She wrote the book Captivity and Restoration, in which she tells about her experiences in the hands of the natives. This memoir became one of the first best sellers, and the first book written by a woman to become worldly adored. It tells her point of view about the differences in native culture compared to christian culture, and it tells her point of view on the wilderness she found herself in. She described the wilderness as harsh, desolate, and full of brutal barbarians. She lost her child to the wilderness. She was abused, starved, ridiculed, and tortured at the hands of the natives. She described several to be kind, but they were certainly the minority.

The main point of her memoir was comparing the cruelness she saw in the natives to the kindness she saw in the christians. It was also a major testimony to her faith. She said that her spirits had been extremely low throughout most of her travels, and that she often felt like she would meet her demise or that God would turn his back on her. But throughout all of this she held strong to her faith, and in the end she was delivered safely back to her colony. She gave credit solely to God, and became a motivation for other people of faith to brave the new world.

American Literature week 5 Cotton and Winthrop

Prompt: “How did Cotton and Winthrop view the emigrating people’s connection with the Old Testament?”

John Cotton was an English clergyman who gave an immense amount of encouragement and religious advice to the people who would become the Massachusetts Bay Colony. His 1630’s sermon God’s Promise to His Plantation assured the colonists that their journey to the Americas was holy, divinely intended, and monitored throughout by God. He was extremely optimistic for the colonists, stating that as long as they had faith in the Old Testament they would be protected by Gods mercy. He described the colonists as seeds, saying that God had provided them with a virgin land in which they could be planted. This is where the original definition of plantation comes from. The colonists had suffered through many religious, existential, and physical battles for freedom in Europe, but now God had sent them a new land and a chance at new life. Cotton wished them Godspeed, promising them that if they held strong to their faith they would prevail.

John Winthrop had his mind on hierarchy, economics, and how to realistically build a faith based society from the ground up. There would be no court in this new land, no ecclesiastical system of regulation. There would be no sovereign authority in which to report ones legal and personal challenges to, other than God of course. So Winthrop’s solution to this issue was Christian charity. An individual would be expected to give to his neighbor, and to help his community with any problems that may arise. If an early colonist wanted to avoid everlasting damnation they would have to treat their neighbors with the same graces they treated their families with. The Puritans wanted to be an ethical model for the world. They thrived to create a society where each person works their hardest for the sole reason of helping their brethren.

Economy Week 4 Part Time Jobs

Prompt: “Is it worth my time to get a part-time job at the minimum wage?”

The answer to this question is different for everyone, there are factors in each persons life that determine whether a job like this is worth someones time. For a high school or college student a part time job is perfect. It allows the student to get the experience of a first job while still having time for their studies. It will go on their resume, and if they do a good job their boss will encourage future jobs to hire them. They can start saving up cash, but depending on how the job pays the cash may simply go towards novelties or positive experiences for the student. In a scenario like this a part time job is much more about the first job experience than the money.

For an independent adult its very different. The adult has to pay their own bills, buy their own food, and consistently make all these payments on time. For an adult the money from a job is much more important than the experience of a job. The adult also has much more time on their hands. They are done with school and don’t have to spend time studying, so their priority will be filling that spare time with a job that makes them a solid income. Its more likely an adult will look for a full time job, and preferably a full time job that pays more than the minimum wage. Its possible an adult would take on multiple part time jobs where available, but its most likely they’d prefer having a steady and reliable job which pays enough to live on.

American Literature Week 4 Bradford’s Account on the Settling of the Plymouth Plantation

Prompt: “Was Bradford’s account a morality tale for future generations?”

 

Bradford wrote his account on the emigration and settling of the Plymouth Plantation. The Puritans emigrated to America looking for religious freedom. The Anglican church was quite hostile towards them, and they had trouble finding a home in Europe. Bradford states the simplicity of the new testament should be highly valued, and that the public worship of the catholic church was not what God really wanted. On their way to the plantation the settlers faced many hardships, but Bradford was adamant that it was all part of Gods will. He described it as destiny in a way, which is one of the only parts of this account that can be taken as motivational.

The account is a Jeremiad, which is a Puritan preaching method made up of four main points. The first is that God judges our sins harshly, stepping out of religious line will absolutely lead to your soul sizzling on a lake of lava for all eternity. Secondly, God delivers us from our sins through the threat of punishment. Again, step out of line and mild torture is gonna be your only relief from the endless suffering you’ll experience in the afterlife. Thirdly, now that the settlers have landed and have access to extremely basic sustenance they will undoubtedly be seduced by greed and gluttony. They may indulge in several more raspberries than their share for instance, an unforgivable crime by any account. Fourthly, because of our sinful nature God will soon intervene and create a tragedy so horrendous everyone will realize how helpless they are. Humility will be attained through trauma. One will only make it to heaven if one has lived an entirely sin free life; repentance, shame, and and admission of guilt seem to be the only way to divine salvation

This is a morality tale, though the strictness of the morality these early Puritans were preaching is rather unhealthy for an individuals mental health. The basis of their beliefs is God created you flawed, hates you for being flawed, will continuously create tragedy and violence against you because he hates you for being flawed, and then will torture you obscenely for all eternity because you had the audacity to be flawed in the first place. Life is pain, death is pain, and its all your fault.

Its interesting to take a look back at peoples beliefs hundreds of years ago, if only to establish how far we’ve come as a culture. Settlers of the Americas were in a really difficult situation, and it seems this was their way to cling to determination. If God wasn’t malicious in their eyes they’d have much less motivation to work backbreaking labor every day. If death wasn’t seen as absolute fear and torment they’d have less reason to make it through the strife of their everyday lives. Its a very sad scene, but one our country had to go through to mature.

So, was this account a morality tale for future generations? Although I admire some of the tactics these early settlers used to promote their take on moral conduct, many of their views were quite extreme. Its a definite contrast to the modern view of ecclesiastical morality. We don’t have to feel like a God of hatred and punishment is constantly judging us, our minds don’t have to be religious prisons. We’re free to believe in a God who actually values our existence, a God of love, mercy, and justice.

In today’s society we learn from our mistakes and do our best to not repeat them. In yesterday’s society there was much less forgiveness, much less tolerance. One had to learn morality the hard way, from getting it forced into you. After reading Bradford’s account I feel extremely lucky to live in a world where love and acceptance are valued higher than fear based moral.

Economy Week 3 Garage Sales

Prompt: “If the state regulated garage sales, would poor people be better off?”

Garage/yard sales are ways for people to sell products they no longer need at a discounted rate. They are wonderful for buyers looking for a bargain, and wonderful for sellers looking to get rid of clutter.

If the state attempted to regulate garage sales I imagine one of two scenarios would unfold. One option is the state raising prices of products through taxation, regulation, or unnecessarily thorough inspection. This would lead to buyers looking for a bargain to lose interest, and it would lead to buyers only able to afford a bargain to be unable to participate.

The other option would be the state trying to lower prices even lower than the regular used item discount. In theory it would be a way to attract discount hungry patrons. But it would also be a deterrent to sellers. Garage sales take work and time to set up, and the sellers put in this work and time because they’d rather get a decent amount of money for their used products than throw them away. But if that amount of income the sellers made from the garage sale was suddenly cut in half there would be much less interest in investing the time setting things up.

Garage sales are ways for people who own used products to sell them directly to the buyers. The sellers get to choose the price they think is right for the item, and the buyer has the option to haggle where they see fit. The state stepping in and attempting to regulate garage sales would be detrimental to both parties participating, and could lower the popularity and relevancy of garage sales entirely.

American History Week 2 Evidence of Pre Columbus Exploration of the Americas

Prompt: “Why do you think the information that I have covered in the first ten lessons is not covered in American history textbooks in high school or college?”

In the first ten lessons we talked in depth about theories stating that Christopher Columbus was not the first to link the eastern hemisphere with the western. There have been numerous inscriptions found on ancient stones referencing Celtic, Hebrew, and Christian theologies that date back far before Columbus. These pieces of evidence seem to hint that not only were their pre Columbus explorers, but that they communicated with and left a lasting impact on the native Americans.

Prior to these discoveries historians insisted on the theory that Columbus was first. Then they revised this thesis, saying that vikings had landed on American soil but had left shortly after without making any real impact. But these stone inscriptions should force historians to take another look at the issue. The gravitas of this discovery could completely rewrite the way we think about ancient exploration, the intertwining of eastern and western cultures, and Europe’s previously assumed dominance over uncharted terrain.

So the question is: why aren’t historians making a big deal out of this? Its potential is unmatched by any other pre Columbus discoveries, and it could be extremely eyeopening towards what actually unfolded in our countries history. But historians do not seem especially interested, and I would think there to be several reasons why.

The first is a basic human flaw: pride. Many historians have spent their lives work dedicated to detailing Columbus’s achievements. They’ve risen the ranks in the historical world, climbing the ladder high enough that their work is now displayed within every basic history textbook. They’re satisfied with their findings; their reputation, name, and lives work will now be held on a pedestal of unquestionable historical knowledge. That is, until a discovery like this comes along and threatens to rewrite the textbooks they spent so long refining. Not only that, it could also discredit a hefty chunk of their research. This leads to many historians preferring to sweep it under the rug and keep their personal studies as the “accurate” historical account.

Another reason these new discoveries have not gone entirely mainstream is that there is no organized written thesis displaying all the details and theories about these stone inscriptions. There are short essays about them scattered around the internet, but one would have to do a decent amount of research to link them all together. Its almost as if these discoveries were unearthed just to be buried again, but instead of under dirt they were buried within the “hypothetical” descriptions of the internet.

The last reason behind this historical cover-up is what fuels most historical cover-ups: money. It would take a lot of time and money to bring these new discoveries to light. Add on the fact that this could discredit many major historians, and that no one has taken the time to properly stitch all the facts of this case together and you’ve got a historical thesis ripe to be swept under the rug.

Its a shame really, but there is an upside. That is if a brilliant historian came along who cared more about the truth than about the textbook writers pride this could be the case of a lifetime. This could really make a name for someone, a name built on the foundation of truth, justice, and righteous integrity. For the sake of our children’s education, and the accurate story behind our country and our world I hope that brilliant historian raises their head from the sand and takes a bite of this case. Because if you ask me, this case is pretty damn juicy.