Will Technology Lead to Successful Communism?

Adam Smith created the concept of the “invisible hand” intending it to refer to the market forces at work which determine resource allocation in an economy but now, there is a very real possibility that technology could create a new, much different invisible hand. While communism is in the news less frequently now than it was in the recent past, there are still nations committed to living out Marx’s thought experiment. For the sake of simplicity, I am going to ignore the social aspects of communism in favor of the much more exciting economic factors relating to a centrally planned Continue reading Will Technology Lead to Successful Communism?

The Sporadic Economics of the “Spring Break Effect”

“Spring Break”- an alcohol-fueled, money-guzzling phenomenon that has distracted and attracted people since ancient Greece. With all the travelling and partying that spring break implies for much of the college population, it’s worth considering how all this impacts the local economies of popular travel destinations. While college students on break provide a boost of revenue (though the extent of impact this varies by destination), they also cost these locations money in criminal activity. Via quantitative methods on a variety of case study “host locations,” one 2008 study examines the question, “Is spring break worth the cost of the student impacts?” This Continue reading The Sporadic Economics of the “Spring Break Effect”

College: At What Cost?

On March 5th, 50 people were prosecuted for paying extravagant bribes so their children can get into well know, elite colleges. The most famous of these 50 include Mossimo Giannulli, his wife Lori Loughlin who is Aunt Becky in “Full House,” and Felicity Huffman. There were two ways that these bribes worked. The first would be to improve their child’s SAT or ACT scores and the other would be to manipulate the requirements the children had to meet to get into specific schools. William Singer organized this fraud as the CEO of a college prep business called The Edge College Continue reading College: At What Cost?

Monk’s Loss

Recently I was watching a show called “Monk.”  It’s one of those 2000’s USA detective shows.  The rough premise of the show is about an amazing detective (Monk) with obsessive compulsive disorder and a number of phobias.  Most of the show is him coping with his crippling disorders and the world not accommodating him.  Of course, each episode is capped off with him solving some absurd/extreme murder mystery.  The way he solves mysteries is also congruent with his disorders.  This one episode where his therapist offers him amazing medication.  This was music to Monk’s ears, because he hates his OCD Continue reading Monk’s Loss

Modern Monetary Theory: Let’s Play Some Calvin Ball

Modern Monetary Theory or MMT as it is also known, is a new branch of heterodox economics that is quickly gaining popularity among the political far-left in American politics. While the theory is quite confusing in its exact specifications and rules ( Economist Paul Krugman likened it to “Calvin ball”) the basic tenets are that the assumptions of “fiat currency” and “endogenous money” are the correct macroeconomic assumptions. While these are core elements for most MMT theorists, it is important to stress that like many heterodox economic theories and “Calvin ball,” the ‘rules’ often change depending on which promoter of the Continue reading Modern Monetary Theory: Let’s Play Some Calvin Ball

A 2020 Presidential Candidate’s Proposal for Universal Basic Income

Sooner rather than later Andrew Yang’s main idea, Universal Basic Income (UBI), will enter the national discussion on some level. Yang has reached the 65,000-donor threshold to appear in debates later this year. As such, this bold proposal is one that major candidates may have to take positions on. Below are the main details of and arguments for his UBI proposal. This is not an endorsement of Andrew Yang 2020. The Problem Yang, a successful entrepreneur, argues that we are undergoing the greatest technological and economic shift we’ve ever experienced. Automation has already destroyed millions of manufacturing jobs. He cites Continue reading A 2020 Presidential Candidate’s Proposal for Universal Basic Income

Thesis Corner: Finn Dobkin

Today’s Thesis Corner features Sound Economics’ very own Finn Dobkin. His thesis examines why the Great Depression affected Washington State more severely than the rest of the country. Upon further analysis, the history of Washington’s economy explains its collapse. In 1821, the Hudson Bay Company merged with the Pacific Northwest Company during the period of European colonization. Since the Hudson Bay Company was located overseas in London, it exerted no in-person control over Washington’s economy. The company focused more on exploiting Washington’s resources for short-term profit, particularly fur and timber, which continued throughout most of the state’s history. During WWI, Continue reading Thesis Corner: Finn Dobkin

Corpse Disposal and Anime Girls: Japan’s Market Responses to Aging and Loneliness

By examining two unique services in Japan I will highlight the unexpected social and economic impacts of a long-lived population and the new struggles it produces. These come in the form of a booming corpse disposal and home renovation industry for the bodies of the elderly who die unnoticed and a virtual smart home assistant to play the role of someone waiting at home for you. Just what has brought people to be so lonely to be able to fade away en masse unnoticed and pursue alternative forms of social connection? Despite world-shaping advancements in communications technology allowing anyone to Continue reading Corpse Disposal and Anime Girls: Japan’s Market Responses to Aging and Loneliness

JUST Meat or Just “Meat”?

JUST, Inc. is a company based in San Francisco, California looking to revolutionize the food manufacturing industry. The company aims to produce “clean meat.” This type of meat does not require farming, massive slaughterhouses or abundant amounts of animal feed for food growth. Instead, JUST, Inc. is perfecting a technology that allows for the extraction of animal DNA from any one of its cells. This DNA is then replicated in a petri dish and animal muscle is grown. For example, a chicken’s DNA sequence can be extracted from a single feather, introduced into a petri dish and chicken meat can Continue reading JUST Meat or Just “Meat”?

Why Does the Total Stock Market Typically Beat the S&P 500?

The S&P 500 is a stock market index which tracks the overall performance of the 500 largest American companies (based on market capitalization). This is a great metric which can be used to understand the swings of the overall market and is also the model for some of the most popular index funds. An index fund is a fund with a portfolio which mimics that of a specific market index (for a more in-depth explanation see here). In the case of the S&P 500, the fund would be comprised of the companies represented in this index. So, instead of investing Continue reading Why Does the Total Stock Market Typically Beat the S&P 500?