Select network Poverty is a common social issue that has troubled nations for thousands of years. While nations like the United States of America have worked diligently to eradicate it domestically, it still widely exists internationally.
Chapter 3 The Purpose or Merit of an Economic System I want to make clear what I think the point or value of an economic system or economic thinking is. Or an economic system may include all the inhabitants of a specific geographical or political area, such as a country or region, even though many inhabitants do not actively participate in the Car stereos booming ethics essay -- e.
Although many famous doctors and surgeons have invented instruments that have helped them make medical breakthroughs, they could not have done nearly as much good for patients if they had to manufacture all their own equipment and perform all aspects of medicine, surgery, and hospital care, construction, and maintenance themselves.
Second, as great a golfer as someone like Jack Nicklaus is, he could not have made nearly as much money as he has and he could not have entertained or thrilled as many people as he has if there had not been golf courses around, ways to travel to them, and televisions and television networks and crews to show the sport to millions of viewers.
Nicklaus could not have played such great golf and also manufactured and manned the necessary television and travel equipment or constructed and maintained by his own hands the courses on which he plays.
He probably could not have even played golf so well and also made his own set of golf clubs, golf balls, and shoes. Finally, if we lived in Paradise or Eden, where all that was desired or necessary was available to each of us, with little effort or need for cooperation and division of labor or specialization, we would not need money or trade.
And oppositely, if we were ship-wrecked on a desert island where there was no food, water, or usable resources of any kind, specialization, division of labor, and trade or money would be of little value or benefit.
If one person were marooned by himself anywhere, the idea of division of labor or trade would have no practical importance. Therefore, assuming that few, if any, individuals can produce or provide themselves with as much as they want or need or, could reasonably have, the essence of an economic system or economic community is that people working at specialties or in combination particularly in those endeavors that knowledge, technology or machinery enhance can fairly reduce their burdens and yet produce or provide more than they could individually.
In cases of division of labor and specialization, individuals or groups of individuals can produce more of a particular service or product than they want or need for themselves, and can thus reasonably and fairly share the excesses of their individual Goods or Services with each other.
Economic improvement occurs when greater "shareable" and shared excesses occur of wanted or needed Goods and Services that are distributed so that a larger number of deserving people can have both fewer burdens and more of the things they want or need. Economics is the study of how people divide labor and resources and the attendant burdens and benefits; and it is the reflective study of how people can do it more beneficially, i.
One of the central tendencies in this book will be to examine economic policies and practices in terms of the benefits and burdens they might cause, instead of just in terms of how quantities and distributions of money are affected, for it is a central tenet of this book that how people are ultimately affected by economic policies and practices is important -- not how money is affected.
Money is only important insofar as it affects quality of life. But economic discussions often lose sight of that, and it is imperative not to allow that to happen when thinking about money or when discussing it.
Ultimately it is not how much or how little money anyone makes but how well or how poorly their needs are met; and the amount of money they have does not necessarily reflect how well their needs are met. If, just for example, one can travel anywhere in a country one wants to on public transportation purchased with tax money, and if one does not mind riding public transportation, or finds it more useful for one's lifestyle -- e.
Or, as "60 Minutes" reported about one small town's experience with Wal-Mart, everyone's initially saving money when a store opened there eventually "killed the town twice".
When the Wal-Mart opened, it drove out of business many of the small store owners. That eventually diminished the base from which Wal-Mart drew customers that the store itself eventually closed. So the initial benefit that Wal-Mart bestowed of saving everyone in the town money on merchandise they bought ended up causing irreparable burdens to the people in the town.
Economic systems are like ecological, or any other complex, interdependent systems, in that changes tend to have multiple and rippling effects. To focus on any one factor, such as cost savings, is usually to ignore other likely important consequences.
And if they do not explain how proposed economic policies actually affect human beings in ways other than just their finances, economic analyses can be narrow to the point of being not only harmful, but to the point of being ridiculous.
On a recent radio program, a financial expert dispensing advice to callers, pointed out that it would be catastrophic if medical researchers discovered how to prevent and reverse physical aging. The context of her comments was in regard to the Social Security system in the United States, and what she should have meant was that if researchers find a way to prevent or reverse the physical aging process, then we would obviously have to reconsider the notion of retirement and pensions because the current systems are all based practically and philosophically on the ability and social need to work and on actuarial sorts of data that would no longer be applicable.
But she may actually have meant exactly what she said -- and may have been more concerned about the "economic" aspects of the matter than the human aspects. And even when economic matters themselves are what is at issue, they tend to disguise what is involved at the level with what those numbers mean in terms of benefits and burdens.
For example, monetary figures about damage to property occurring from natural disasters are usually reported as "losses", even though the rebuilding effort will bring a substantial amount of work and profit to those in the building industry.
Or, recently the "costs" of fixing the Y2K problem are considered most expensive, even though other computer industry sales for products and services are considered "gains" in the economy.
And if computer manufacturers redesign their products so that they aren't susceptible to the Y2K problem, that effort and the ensuing sales once again contribute to the economy, rather than "costing the economy" the amount of money involved. There is more involved in this sort of thing than just the financial numbers involved.
I believe it is absolutely crucial, therefore, for any economic discussion or debate to be, not just about money, but about how people are actually affected, in terms relating to human activities, needs, desires, values, etc. And it is crucial to consider all the effects, not just those one prefers or on which one is inclined to focus.
Now, the reason I say above, in explaining the point or merit of an economic system, sharing the "excess" of what one produces rather than sharing what one produces, is because it is the excesses over and above one's own needs and wants that is, with one exception, the essential feature of economic progress through cooperation.
Suppose you and I each make a sandwich and dessert for lunch that costs us the same amount and takes us each 15 minutes to prepare. If I trade you a peanut butter sandwich I have made for lunch for the bologna sandwich you have made for your lunch, and we both like either one, neither of us has really gained anything.
But if I can make two sandwiches in 8 minutes and you can pack two desserts in 8 minutes and if the cost comes out the same, then I can trade my extra sandwich for your extra dessert and we have both gained seven minutes in the morning -- plus less work at the supermarket and less work in the kitchen.
We gain even more if I am a better sandwich maker than you and you are a better dessert maker than I. The exception mentioned above where progress occurs without the trading of excesses, is the trading of my sandwich for yours simply in order for each of us to get variety.
Trades of this sort my house in New Mexico for your house in New York, or my farm for your farm machinery business, the present I get for Christmas that I don't want for the present of equal cost that you get for Christmas that you don't wantbring about a sort of qualitative progress rather than a quantitative one.
Such trades are important when they occur; they are not as typical as trading of excesses of specialized production. With modern industry, the trading of excesses is carried to the extreme that virtually all one makes is excess to be traded to others.May 26, · South Ozone Park/Ruchmond Hill South has been PLAGUED for years with extremely loud house parties/booming car stereos/speakers on bikes and nothing has stopped them except confiscation.
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