Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Lies. lies and more lies..."Big Oil, Big Tobacco, Big Lies"

This article, Big Oil, Big Tobacco, Big Lies, from Project Syndicate is, as usual, very illuminating...

At IB schools around the world, students and teachers should become aware of what has been going on all these years and become active in reversing this catastrophic path.

Over the last few years, a growing number of people have been taking a hard look at what is happening to our planet – historic droughts, rising sea levels, massive floods – and acknowledging, finally, that human activity is propelling rapid climate change. But guess what? Exxon (now ExxonMobil) had an inkling of this as early as 1978.
By the early 1980s, Exxon scientists had much more than an inkling. They not only understood the science behind climate change, but also recognized the company’s own outsize role in driving the phenomenon. Recognizing the potential effects as “catastrophic” for a significant portion of the population, they urged Exxon’s top executives to take action. Instead, the executives buried the truth.

The article can be found here.

Bill McKibben, one of the authors, is a founding member of 350.org,  a 'global climate movement' that runs '...adaptive, locally-driven campaigns in every corner of the globe. 350.org’s small team of paid staff supports thousands of grassroots activists running their own independent, loosely affiliated organizations and campaigns in 188 countries'

Related to this is Fossil Free,  a '...network of campaigns and campaigners working toward fossil fuel divestment in our communities.'

Worth reading and worth getting involved.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Inclusive Growth

Just read a very interesting article on '...the need to expand participation in the benefits of economic growth.'

Maybe geography is very important for growth but institutions do matter on how the benefits of growth are shared.
There is a growing recognition of the importance of institutions – particularly legal frameworks and public agencies that administer rules and incentives – in the development process.'
After mentioning the findings of the 1993 WB study 'The East Asian Miracle', the authors continue..
'...The lesson is also apparent in the economic history of the twentieth century, when – especially in the decades following the Great Depression – most of today’s advanced industrialized countries underwent a sustained process of institutional deepening that broadened the base and strengthened the resilience of their economies. Reforms targeting labor policy, the investment climate, social insurance, competition, education, and infrastructure created a more inclusive and more sustainable growth model by spreading purchasing power, which supported aggregate demand and reduced vulnerability to investment-driven booms and busts.'
The following paragraph is perhaps the most important for IB Economics students to comprehend.  It clearly goes beyond the typical 'recipe' most candidates offer in related essays and forces them to focus more on the importance of 'inclusive' growth (remember the Acemoglu / Robertson book 'Why Nations Fail'; see older post):
Our research has identified 15 domains that are important for promoting social inclusion. These include educational opportunity and performance, the relationship between productivity and wage growth, the concentration of economic rents, the effectiveness of the financial system’s intermediation of investment in the real economy, physical and digital infrastructure, and the coverage and adequacy of basic social protections. They also include areas not traditionally considered equality-enhancing – such as facilitating asset-building through small-business and home ownership and combating corruption – but that are just as important as education or redistribution for improving living standards.
The full article was read at Project Syndicate and the link is here.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

On the costs of pollution

Outdoor air pollution is deadly:
 'Air pollution is a problem for much of the developing world and is believed to kill more people worldwide than AIDS, malaria, breast cancer, or tuberculosis' (from Air Pollution in China: Mapping of Concentrations and Sources).
According to the new paper published by Berkeley Earth (with the NYT reporting the main findings here):
'The observed air pollution is calculated to contribute to 1.6 million deaths/year in China [0.7–2.2 million deaths/year at 95% confidence], roughly 17% of all deaths in China.'  
This translates to about 4400 people a day.  The air that many people breath is considered unhealthy by at least US standards.  The greatest health hazard is the fine air particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers.
According to the data presented in the paper, about three eighths of the Chinese population breathe air that would be rated “unhealthy” by United States standards. The most dangerous of the pollutants studied were fine airborne particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which can find their way deep into human lungs, be absorbed into the bloodstream and cause a host of health problems, including asthma, strokes, lung cancer and heart attacks.
The EPA here explains the issue with such particles:
"Particulate matter," also known as particle pollution or PM, is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets. Particle pollution is made up of a number of components, including acids (such as nitrates and sulfates), organic chemicals, metals, and soil or dust particles.
The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. EPA is concerned about particles that are 10 micrometers in diameter or smaller because those are the particles that generally pass through the throat and nose and enter the lungs. Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects. EPA groups particle pollution into two categories:
"Inhalable coarse particles," such as those found near roadways and dusty industries, are larger than 2.5 micrometers and smaller than 10 micrometers in diameter. 
"Fine particles," such as those found in smoke and haze, are 2.5 micrometers in diameter and smaller. These particles can be directly emitted from sources such as forest fires, or they can form when gases emitted from power plants, industries and automobiles react in the air.
If you haven't watched the documentary Under the Dome by Chai Jing, a former China Central Television journalist, please do so.  Ask your IB Economics teacher to watch it in class.  Here is part 1 of 8 from YouTube:

Obviously, the info above can be used in any Paper 1 (Higher or Standard Level) IB Economics essay on negative production externalities or on common access resources (the atmosphere).

{Remember that in my IBECON wiki I upload my Eleventh Hour files 'Simply Anything' which are free notes on all IB Economics topics in bullet form (that's why they are 'Eleventh Hour'!) i.e. bare bones essentials summaries based on my OUP Economics Study Guide and my OUP Economics Skills and Practice books.}

Monday, April 27, 2015

New 11 o'clock file uploaded: 'Simply the circular flow'

Just uploaded a new file '11 o' clock' file for (my) IB Economics students on my IB Economics wiki.

I chose to provide 'last minute' revision notes in bullet form on the circular flow of income which is a learning outcome in section 2.1:

"Explain, using a diagram, the circular flow of income in an open economy with government and financial markets, referring to leakages/ withdrawals (savings, taxes and import expenditure) and injections (investment, government expenditure and export revenue)."
(image from Uneasy Money)

This is what the file looks like:

Friday, April 24, 2015

New! The 11 o'clock files: Revision notes in bullet points for IB Economics

Long time no see...

I have decided to upload some 'last minute' notes for my IB Economics (HL and SL) students that are based on my class teaching.

Each file is on a separate learning outcome from the syllabus and it is comprehensive but in bullets.

These '11 o'clock', last minute files are meant to be used by students together with an IB Economics textbook.  My students use my Study Guide / Skills and Practice books (but my department is considering to also adopt an amazing intro text: Principles of Economics in Context (Goodwin, Harris et al); see here (instructors of IB Economics can order a free inspection copy)

I just uploaded onto my IB Economics Wiki my latest files; these are snippets to give you a flavor of what I've done for my students:

There are also a few files with detailed tips (again, in bullets) aimed at helping IB Economics (higher level) students with their Paper 3 exam(s).

This is a snippet from the 11 o' clock P3 tips to my students on how they should deal with indirect tax questions and/or subsidy questions

The plan is to slowly upload all my notes on all learning outcomes.  If you find errors and /or you would like to comment on how to improve these, please contact me at ziogas11@yahoo.com. Ifan IB Economics instructor would like to modify these to his or her tastes I would be glad to email the word version of a file.

Be back with articles that are of interest to IB Economics students shortly...