Friday, September 26, 2008

Freakonomics Day Care (timed writing, blogpost #4)

The Guilt Factor

            The opening chapter of Freakonomics presents a very interesting argument; given the chance parents at a daycare would rather be penalized economically for being late picking up their children than face the social and/or moral of being late to pick-up. This situation arises from many possible factors, but all factors have to do with the power of incentives. The incentives and factors are moral, social, and economic. Though each incentive is in itself different a combination of these things is possible which rouses the effect that is discussed early in Freakonomics.

            At the Israeli day care the first incentive to pick up your child is the moral type. Written in the school rules are that all children must be picked up by a certain time. The morality comes from how one feels about disobeying the parameters. Key to judging the effectiveness of a certain incentive one must predict the way each individual or group weighs the tug factor of it. More guilt was applied by the day care through just the moral actions than others, which is why after the ramifications were changed an unfortunate increase in tardy parents occurred.

            Judging social changes and effects are harder to calculate because they are how other peoples views change our actions. So not only is ones moral guidance persuading a parent to be timely in the pick-up of their child but also what others might think about the few parent who would make the teachers wait with their children. This factor is important because many people care more about what other people think than what they themselves think. Social incentives also play a role in the easy acceptance of economic penalization because people wont think of you as badly because it is seen as a service by the school is you are paying for it and therefore acceptable.

            Economic reasons for the situation at the day care failed miserably for multiple reasons. One, it is a private school so parents were already paying larger amounts of money to keep children in that school. Two, the parents could buy off the social and moral incentives that were erected in the beginning leading to a degrading of the system and a large problem of many late parents.

            The problems of the first chapter of Freakonomics come largely for a poorly balanced system of incentives. Moral, social, and economic penalties and rewards were not balanced to their optimal levels because they tried to change the system. The right balance was more moral and social incentives or a much much higher economic stipend because the tardy fee was much to low to be effective; making the buying off of guilt much easier, accessible, and frequent.

Walmart Good or Evil (blogpost #3)

Wal-mart looks like a wonderful practice on paper, giving low prices, above minimum wage jobs, etc. Like many things though the carrying out of whats on the paper fall short of the expectations. Wal-mart destroys town, nistreats their workers, and does not contribute to the places it destroys by investing overseas.

Small towns around the U.S, are all experiencing the same things. Wal-mart wants to build in their city and is greeted with open arms. When Wal-mart finally opens things start to change. Ma and Pa shops start closing down, downtown is redirected to wherever Wal-mart is and the town will never be the same again. With such low prices through shady side stepping of the law Wal-mart provides prices so low that free enterprise is almost completely wiped out unless local shops provide specialized services.

How are they able to maintain "Always low prices"? It is through the abuse and exploitation of employees. Many think "Oh they pay better than minimum wage thats better than most places, right?" wrong! They may pay over nine dollars an hour but a Wal-mart employee has no benefits and are encouraged to apply for government aid to get simple health care and such. Wal-mart also make employees come in early, stay late, and add even whole days to someones schedule and Wal-mart does not pay overtime. Wal-mart also purposely understaffs all of its stores so as not to pay too much in employee wages. It is through this abuse that helps them keep things priced below the competition.

The main reason prices are so low at Wal-mart is that they participate in overseas manufacturing and shipping. everything made in the Wal-mart store comes from Southeast Asia which economically gives nothing back to our nation in terms of extra jobs and economic stimulus. They stay in Asia for the cheapest labor in the world so they dont provide jobs for U.S. citizens and keep people in the cities they build from getting jobs near them.

Wal-mart is a very shady organization that covers its poor practices by mesmerizing the puvlic with low prices and good deals. It destroys economys and towns, abuses workers, and invests overseas. How could a company that does all these things be allowed by our government to stay in business, the answer, politics and money. Wal-mart has too much money and too much power to be stopped. We have nothing left but to hope for the best.

Freakonomics Chapter (blogpost #2)

For 10 Million Dollars (blogpost #1)

Money, it is what rules our nation. With an economy based on free enterprise and capitalism the thirst for money is insatiable. If you were made a proposition for 10 million dollars would you take it, the catch being you would have to leave the U.S. forever? The answer for me would be yes, in a heartbeat, for many reasons. Though the United States is the country I grew up in and love there are many countries out there that are just as good if not better in areas such as health care, balancing of the middle class, and not to mention a few countries that have a particularly friendly exchange rate toward the dollar.

There are many countries in Europe that have excellent health care systems based on universal populous support making them much less expensive and in some cases if not all free. France is the world leader in socialist type health care plans, and not needing to worry about spending needless income on my well being would be a nice relief. Many nations in the European Union have adopted Universal health care plans and it makes many things about doctors and hospitals very nice. Though lines for basic check-ups may be worse than in the states anything more serious can be instantly seen to and treated making for a more efficient health care setting.

The balancing of the middle class is an issue we are having in this country which is causing some problems. In Europe the situation is much better and I like that because I’m not going to spend my 10 million dollars on some humongous house that looks gaudy I just want to continue living in the style I am accustomed to living. A strong middle class makes the general scenery of a city not so harsh because of the lack of slum housing and would be a comfortable and relaxing environment.

Another place I would look for is a country that is particularly friendly with our dollar. If I get an exchange rate of like 10:1 I now have 100 million whatever so that would make things much easier and make my money last longer. More money to spend means that I could invest it in something and hope for a big pay off. I could become an entrepreneur and try and start some businesses or something net like that.

No matter what I would still leave this country in a heart beat just for the opportunity to see the world. To experience free health care, strong middle classes, and more money in my pocket magically (till I leave) is what I would leave this country for. I would do it for free but the 10 million dollars is definitely a bonus.