Principles of Macroeconomics

Messages containing less than 300 words each will not be counted at all.

All postings must contribute to an academic dialogue on the topic. Avoid repeating information provided by other students.

1-Economics – Introduction

Are you interested in the economy? How important is the economic situation in your daily life? Do you think it is important to be knowledgable about the economy? What do you think are the main economic problems in the world today? Do you think changes in the economy are predictable? What is your main concern about the US economy? What would you do to help the situation?

2-Market for Human Organs

Advances in medical treatments have resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of organ transplants performed each year. A limited supply of organs, however, prevents many individuals from receiving organ replacements that could either save a life or substantially improve the recipient’s quality of life.
What are your thoughts on the market for human organs? Discuss demand and supply issues of human organs. What is the role of black market in the society?

3-Overworked Americans?

On average Americans work 350 hours, nearly one year more every five years. Europeans, on the other hand, enjoy about ten years more free time during their work life than do their American counterparts. InEurope/> , workers receive an average six weeks of paid vacation while American average is about two weeks. More than that, about 26% of Americans got no vacation at all last year. Overall, workweeks became longer, female work participation rate have increased and vocation times have shortened. Employers argue that this is the result of increases in hiring costs, training costs, or employee health insurance costs. In your opinion, is this the result of voluntary worker choice or is it a decision imposed on workers by their employers, or both? What about productivity? How do we make employees work harder without making them work longer?

4-Education System

Many other nations are now ahead of the U.S. in international education rankings. Based on different studies, the researchers ranked the U.S. number 36 in terms of the relative effectiveness of its educational system. The decline in performance of American students is obvious from grades 4 to 12 comparing to their peers in other countries. A movement to a higher grade level is associated with a greater decline. And this is along with a great spending on education. What is going wrong here? Is the material being taught too fast and in general vs. detailed break down like in other countries? Or is it a diversity of students with associated problems like no other country has? How about parent involvement and discipline factors? Some say, that other countries offer more incentives for students to do better.

We all know that improving the education quality helps achieve a variety of economic and social development goals on different levels. But the debate comes from how to improve the quality of schooling. What is your opinion?

5-Investment increases economic growth

For more than four decades, investment in the former Soviet Union and Eastern European countries was allocated by central planners. Even though the investment rates of these countries were high, general living standards grew slowly. Is this surprising?

If a country has a high and volatile rate of inflation, will domestic investors find this environment attractive? Will foreign investors find it attractive? How will the country’s investment rate be affected?

Discuss the importance of other sources of economic growth and prosperity: natural resources, density of population, democracy, and economic freedom.

6-Inflation in Zimbabwe

This year the official inflation rate in Zimbabwe has escalated to 2.2 million percent. People in Zimbabwe were faced with empty store shelves; 90 per cent unemployment, prices in shops change several times a day, and Zimbabweans taking their money to market in wheelbarrows.

Zimbabwe used to be one of the richest countries in Africa. It was called the ‘breadbasket’ of Africa because it grew enough food for itself and for export to other countries. Today, the country’s farming has collapsed and people cannot find enough food in the shops. International economists blame the policies of President Robert Mugabe, which have created internal chaos and poverty in the country. Mugabe says he has had little to do with the wrecked economy. He blames all of Zimbabwe’s economic woes on international trade sanctions. There is a serious cash shortage because the government cannot print bank notes fast enough to keep up with spiraling prices.

In June 2015 the central bank of Zimbabwe made a decision to adopt the U.S. dollar as the official country’s national currency to replace worthless Zimbabwean dollar. The official exchange rate is one U.S. dollar to 35 quadrillion Zimbabwean dollars.

Which of these economic features affect you most: inflation, unemployment, interest rates, income tax, welfare payments, or/and energy costs?

What experiences do you have of inflation?

How much financial security do you have?

What do you think of the idea of a single world currency?

Should Zimbabwe have created a new national currency?

Why is the U.S. dollar so popular?

How do you think U.S. dollars will change Zimbabwe?

What’s the best thing to do to combat hyperinflation?

Should all money be in digital form, with no notes or coins?

7-Income Inequality

For the last twenty years, the gap in income between rich and poor has increased. What accounts for the recent increases in income inequality in the United States?
Societies want both increased equity and increased efficiency. Unfortunately, many tax reforms designed to improve equity reduce efficiency, and vice versa. Examine the role of current tax system, it s efficiency and success in promoting income inequality. Why do we want to reduce but not eliminate income inequality? What consequences would we face achieving perfect income equality?

8-Natural Disasters and the Economy

Natural disasters are tragic, destructive events that harm people, the environment, and economies. A lot of times they affect not only the region, but the nation and the world as a whole. Just to name a few, an earthquake in Haiti in 2010, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the South Asian tsunami in 2004, each reshaping thousands of lives, businesses and economies.

Please list all other world natural disasters you lived through or heard of. Indicate all the different ways you participated in or observed during the disaster relief time. Please explain how it touched your life (directly or indirectly). In case of Hurricane Katrina, what parts of the economy (local, state, national or global) have been affected? Please explain in detail. In your opinion, what are the lessons we as individuals and government can all learn from such a devastating event? What would be your plan to minimize loss of life and property if the disaster occurred again?

9-International Trade and Employment

Trade and employment have become supercharged issues recently. The increasing number of American jobs are moving overseas. Some suggestions to slow the migration of jobs have been labeled as protectionism.
Why do you think outsourcing is the topic that brings more and more attention today? Do you think it is the issue to be concerned about? Do we really loose local jobs due to outsourcing? What type of industries and people today are more sensitive to this issue? Does this problem concern or affect you?

In 2002, the Bush administration imposed steel import quotas that limited the entry of foreign-produced steel into the U.S. market. Did the policy expand employment as the administration argued that it would?


1-Dubai’s Luxury Life

Please watch the following video:

Please discuss the documentary. What are the main factors that contribute to Dubai’s fast growth? Is Dubai’s growth sustainable in the long run or not in your opinion?

Please watch the following video:

2-French Cuisine

French cuisine is world famous for its rich history, taste and presentation.
French restaurants and eateries will soon have to put a new logo on menus to inform customers whether or not their food is home-made. Restaurants could start using the sign in 2015. The move comes after complaints about the quality of food being served in French restaurants. Many customers expect top-quality food when dining in France. A poll conducted last year found that only around half of restaurant meals were cooked from scratch on the premises. The French Union of Hotel Skills and Industries believe that around 85 per cent of restaurants secretly use frozen or vacuum-packed food.

Is home-made food the most delicious? What do you think of the “home-made” logo on the menus?

Will such innovation have any impact on French economy such as tourism? Will the change have any effect on restaurant prices? Which country, in your opinion, has the best cuisine?

3-Google’s Impact on the Economy

Please read the following paper and analyze the impact that Google has on the US and world economy:…

What was new that you learned from the report?

What Google services or apps do you use in your daily life?

4-Low Oil Prices -Winners and Losers

Please read the following article:|hig|23-10-2014|

Evaluate the likely implications for the world economy of the predicted decline in non-renewable energy resources.

Evaluate the likely economic effects of a sustained rise in commodity prices on the world economy.

5-Rising Dollar

Please follow the link above and share your thought on rising US dollar. How will such increase affect American consumers; American producers; and developing countries?

6-Social Security debate

How can Social Security continue to be funded? Paul Solman explores American sentiment toward raising the income cap at which workers stop paying Social Security taxes.

Do you agree with such idea?

7-World Factbook

Please go to CIA World Factbook: and select Guide to Rank Order Pages.

Please list the top 5 countries (with the highest and lowest numbers) in terms of GDP per capita and unemployment. What was the most surprizing in these listings?

8-World Unemployment Rates

Please follow the link:…

Do the figures surprise you? Why do you think the highest unemployment rates are mainly in Africa? Please discuss your ideas.

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