Discussion Topic 1 of 2 Topic 1: Think about one choice you made in the past several days and explain how this could be analyzed using economics concepts such as tradeoffs, opportunity costs, and marginal analysis Discussion Checklist: How does the concept of “tradeoff” relate to “opportunity costs?” The difference between monetary and non-monetary opportunity costs Why are opportunity costs based on a person’s tastes and preferences 2 Discussion Topic 2 of 2 Topic 2: Comparative advantage dictates which good or service a particular region specializes in and exports to other regions. List one good or service that your home region specializes in and where it exports this good. Why is your region particularly good at the production of that good or service? uit 2 Discussion Topic 1 of 2 Topic 1: What is a personal brand? Very simply – your brand is what people say about you. Your brand is not your logo, but rather, it is how someone else describes you, your firm, your staff, and your offerings. It is important to understand that your brand exists whether you like it or not. The good news is that you can control your brand by being open and forthcoming, in a professional manner, about awards you’ve won, your involvement in the community, your new opportunities, positions achieved, events you are involved with, or even through your reactions to the current events or market conditions. To develop a personal brand we should use every opportunity to let others see our credibility. One way to do this is to be an active member of the community. This helps to establish name recognition and positive awareness. It is not happenstance that people at the top are generally quite active in their communities. Think about why this might occur? It happens because when you give back you are actually developing a positive brand as a good member of the community and with this come increased business and opportunities. Do you have a presence online? Have you ever done a Google search on yourself or even wondered what might be on the Web about you? In this age of information, most people who are interested in you will search for you online and check out your Web site before considering you for services or employment. When they find you, will your online image help you or harm you? Your Web site is your is a window into you and should be a reflection of who you are as a professional. It will help to establish your personal brand. Everything you do will help mold how people view you as a professional, so ask yourself, “What does my email ID say about me”? Control your personal brand! You can control your brand through communication as people look to you with confidence and trust. Your communication will differentiate you. You can make people feel important and give them something to talk about, which can, in turn, bring you business and opportunities. The reality is that there are hundreds of thousands of people who probably have the same skills and competencies that you do. Ultimately it will be your brand that will determine your success. The stronger your brand, the more credible and visible you are, the easier it is to find you and desire to use your skills which will result in even more value for you as a person. In today’s world we have some exciting opportunities to show our personal brand by using social networking sites such as LinkedIn, twitter, facebook, in addition to belonging to professional organizations, etc. You may already have a presence on one or more of these social networking sites or, if not, you may want to research one or more of these sites to begin to build a presence with your personal brand in mind. For this discussion, consider this topic and converse with your fellow classmates about choice, opportunity cost, and comparative advantage with regards to personal brand in social networking sites and/or associations you might belong to. Include some ideas about what you can do right now to improve and develop your own personal brand. Discussion Topic 2 of 2 Topic 2 Choose one of the following and determine whether there is correct usage of the terms “demand,” “quantity demanded,” “supply” and “quantity supplied.” Why or why not? The price of Burger King’s Whopper hamburger declines causing the demand for Whoppers to shift to the right. Because of a shortage of potatoes, the supply of French fries decreases. Wage labor in the peanut butter industry increases causing the quantity demanded for jelly to decrease. In the six months following Hurricane Katrina, the quantity supplied of oil in the Gulf of Mexico declined by 25 percent. It is a snowy winter and snow shovel prices have increased. Suppliers increase supply to take advantage of these higher prices. unit 3 Discussion Topic 1 of 2 Topic 1 When a government wants to increase tax revenue, they will often increase the sales tax on gasoline. Using price elasticity of demand, explain why the tax would be placed on gasoline rather than, say, yachts. What might be the long run effect of raising the price of gas? In other words, who is harmed by the tax? Who benefits from such a tax? Are low-income households disproportionately harmed as compared to high-income households? Why or why not? Discussion Topic 2 of 2 Topic 2 Many suppliers experience economies of scale as output expands, which implies that long-run average costs are falling. At very high levels of production, however, many firms are likely to experience diseconomies of scale. Why do firms experience diseconomies of scale as they increase production volume? How might firms “avoid” experiencing diseconomies of scale and what does the long-run average cost curve look like when diseconomies of scale exist? nit 4 Discussion Topic 1 of 2 Topic 1: Describe an industry that would meet the conditions of a perfectly competitive industry: There are many buyers and sellers so neither side of the market has market power. The product provided to the market is identical across suppliers. There are no barriers to entry. How do individual firms in a perfectly competitive industry respond to an increase in the market demand for the product? Would advertising by individual firms in this type of market provide any benefits? Discussion Topic 2 of 2 Topic 2 In order to maximize profits, monopolies produce where: MARGINAL REVENUE = MARGINAL COST < MARKET PRICE. Contrast this to the profit maximization condition for perfectly competitive markets and explain how these differences contribute to deadweight loss in a monopoly market. Can you think of reasons why a monopoly might decide on their own to increase production and lower prices to earn an acceptable profit rather than maximize profits? unit 5 Discussion Topic 1 of 2 Topic 1 There are many dairy farmers in the world and also many Starbucks coffeehouses. Why does a Starbucks coffeehouse face a downward-sloping demand curve while a dairy farmer has a horizontal demand curve? What other suppliers might face a downward-sloping demand curve and what implications does this have for their advertising budget as compared to suppliers with horizontal demand curves? Discussion Topic 2 of 2 Topic 2 How do barriers to entry impact the level of competition in a market? What might happen to market price as greater barriers to entry come into existence? Not all barriers to entry are created through market conditions. Barriers to entry, such as patents, licenses, or international trade restrictions, may be government imposed. How do government-imposed barriers such as patents impact consumers and suppliers in these markets? unit 6 Discussion Topic 1 of 2 Topic 1 Contrast the market demand/supply curves and the individual firm’s labor supply/demand curve in a perfectly competitive labor market. How does the law of diminishing marginal returns affect a firm’s demand for labor? Discussion Topic 2 of 2 Topic 2 Your decision to pursue a higher-level degree is based on investment in human capital. What are the marginal costs and benefits of pursuing additional education and the inherent risks associated with this decision? unit 7 Discussion Topic 1 of 2 Topic 1 The national income accounts measure productivity, spending, and income; but these accounts were not designed to measure economic welfare. Discuss aspects of economic welfare ignored in GDP. HINT: Do a “Google” search on the Genuine Progress Indicator and compare this with GDP in terms of measuring economic welfare. Discusson Topic 2 of 2 Topic 2 What factors might contribute to a low growth rates in a country? Why do some poor countries, such as Botswana, experience higher growth rates than others when all face the same challenges such as the HIV epidemic? Compare growth rates across countries by visiting The World Bank website (http://data.worldbank.org/indicator). How does GDP growth (GDP growth (annual %)) compare across developed countries such as the U.S. and poorer countries such as Nigeria. Why might growth rates of developed nations be lower than those of poorer countries? unit 8 Discussion Topic 1 of 2 Topic 1 Discuss the differences between unemployment and underemployment and give examples of each. Which do you think is a more serious “problem” for the economy? How might underemployment be addressed through government policy? Discussion Checklist: What are the key tools of fiscal policy and monetary policy Why might each of these policies not be effective in reducing high levels of unemployment Why might changes in unemployment be a lagging indicator in an economic recovery Discuss the possibility that monetary and fiscal policy actions might actually destabilize the economy and reductions in unemployment Discussion Topic 2 of 2 Topic 2 What factors might cause the marginal propensity to consume to change? If the MPC increases from 0.50 to 0.75, what happens to consumption and ultimately GDP when household income rises? What do you think happened to MPC after the last recession? Explain. unit 9 Discussion Topic 1 of 2 Topic 1 There is always debate regarding the structure of the current income tax system in the U.S. Many opponents of the current system argue that under its current structure, many wealthy households are able to avoid taxes and for most households, the tax system is simply too complicated and confusing. One solution that has been proposed is the “flat tax.” What are the benefits and detriments of replacing the current income tax system with a flat tax system? Who benefits and who might be harmed? What implications does the flat tax system have for tax preparation companies such as H&R Block? Discussion Topic 2 of 2 Topic 2: In 2008, Federal Reserve Bank Chairman, Ben Bernanke, and U.S. Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, responded to the financial crisis by intervening in financial markets in unprecedented ways. Do you think this intervention was necessary? What are the consequences of this intervention? What might have happened if they had not intervened?