Monthly Archives: September 2010

Note Taking Method

I think that I am going to use the Cornell note taking method or annotation for taking notes because these ways will help the information go into my head.

Invention Convention- Nimfix’s Compencil

Last week in class, we were introduced to an activity called Invention Convention. This activity required us to make our own inventions with our groups and sell them. In the activity we started off learning about a market place. In a market system, economic decisions are made producers, the people who make the product, and the consumers, the people who buy the product. Businesses produce and sell goods and services that consumers want. A good is something that is tangible, or touchable and something that one must pay for. A service on the other hand, is something that is intangible and a product that one wants or needs. Businesses buy the costs of production, in other words resources or inputs, to produce goods and services to sell to their consumers. This is because of the businesses’ attempt to make a profit. A profit is when you subtract the total cost (costs of all inputs/ product multiplied by the number of products made) from the total revenue (price each item sold at multiplied by the number of items sold). However, if the total cost is greater than the total revenue, the company suffers a loss instead of a gain.

Next, we were given a few resources and had to make a product using those. We were required to become the producers for the first time. The labor was $0.25 per person and the rent was $0.75, which means that we already used $1 for the rent and labor (only one person in the group actually made the product). The resources themselves ranged from $0.25 to $0.75. All products in the class were required to cost $5.00 so our group had to make sure that the money we spent on the costs of production, in other words, labor, rent, and the resources were less than $5.00 if we wanted to make a profit.

Firstly, we made a company name. It was hard at first, but we agreed on being called Nimfix. After all of in the group contributed several ideas for an invention, we agreed on one that was a computer cleaner and a cup to put stationary at the same time, and named it a Compencil. For this product, we used four resources, a plastic cup ($0.50), a string ($0.50), a cloth ($0.75) and a paperclip ($0.25). This totaled to be about $2.00 and when we added our factors of production to it, our total was $3.00. This means that our invention cost is $3.00. After everyone in class was done with creating their inventions, we started making advertisements to convince our consumers, which was everyone else in the class, to buy our products.

Using the information we had so far, I started to fill out a worksheet I was given in class about our total revenue, total cost, and determining if my group had a profit or loss. To determine our total revenue, we multiplied our selling price ($5.00) by the quantity that we sold (1). Our total revenue was $5.00. Next, to determine our total cost, we multiplied our unit cost ($3.00) by the quantity that we produced (4). Our total cost was $12.00. Lastly, to measure if we had a profit or loss we subtracted our total revenue, $5.00, by our total cost, $12.00. By looking at this, one can tell that we had a loss of $7.00.

The last thing we did in the class was buy other people’s products. Each group had a bag, and the people who wanted to purchase a group’s product simply had to put their $5.00 in the group’s bag. Once everyone was done purchasing items, as a class, we compared all the total costs, revenue, and profits or losses by making two charts. For the first chart, we calculated everything using the amount of items we predicted we would sell.

Invention Name Quantity Sold Total Revenue Total Cost Profit/ Loss
Spenstick 7 35 18 (8) 17 profit
Anywhere, Any time cup 0 0 9 (4) 9 loss
Shirakawa 5000 3 15 14.25 (3) 0.75 profit
Compencil 1 5 12 (4) 7 loss
Hey, Seuss 7 35 14 (7) 21 profit

For the second chart, we calculated what our answers would look like in an ideal world or in a world where we sold as many products as we predicted.

Invention Name Quantity Sold Total Revenue Total Cost Profit/ Loss
Spenstick 7 35 15.75 19.25 profit
Anywhere, Any time Cup 0 0 0 0 profit
Shirkawa 5000 3 15 14.25 (3) 0.75 profit
Compencil 1 5 3 2 profit
Hey, Suess 7 35 14 (7) 21 profit

This activity was very enjoyable, especially because we got to create and sell our own products. It taught me a lot about profit, cost of production (resources, labor, rent), loss, total revenue, producers, consumers, goods, services, marketplace, and total cost.

The Mystery

Link to voice thread

Through this activity, I learned about 6 economic thinking concepts. The first is concept and there can be a choice for the athletes or for the fans. The athletes make the choice of becoming an athlete and the fans choose to watch them instead of something else.

The second concept is cost. The financial cost for the fans would be that they would be willing to spend money to watch them play live or on tv. The opportunity cost for the fans would be watching the news or something else. The opportunity cost for the athletes would be an education. Another cost for the athlete would be a possibility of injury.

The third concept is incentive. For the athletes, the incentives would be making making and playing well and having competition. For the fans, the incentives would be watching something more entertaining.

The fourth concept is economic system. This would be the fans who are willing to pay the money to watch athletes.

The fifth concept if trade. Some coaches or managers trade athletes so that they can have the best athletes on the best team. Athletes trade health for money and education for sports. Lastly spectators trade time and money for entertainment (watching the athletes play).

The last concept is consequences. There are many consequences for the athletes. For example, they can get injured and have to live their life paralyzed, they make the choice to excel at one sport, they choose not be educated which could be a problem when they retire one day and risk being poor.

The Black Death

In class, we recently learned about the Black Death, one of the most deadly pandemics in history. The first thing we did in class was we looked at a picture. In this picture, there were mainly people who were dead so Ms. Welbes explained to us what the picture was about. In 1350 A.D. one of the most dangerous, contagious, and lethal pandemics occurred, the Black Death. It started with the Mongols but our class mainly focused on Europe. It spread through the rats and fleas that were on the same boat as the infected people and others who were fleeing their country. Because of this, 33 percent of the population of Europe died. The Black Death affected many things, one example being the relationship between the lords and the peasants.

Next we learned about the hierarchy of Europe by reading an activity. In Europe, the social system was called feudalism, which was based mainly on relationships. The king would give land to the nobles in exchange for their loyalty and the nobles would give land to the knights for loyalty and then the knights would give the peasants land for loyalty. In this reading activity, we learned that before the Black Death, the nobility owned most of the land. The peasants barely had any freedom to move to another location and if land were exchanged between to lords, the peasants would be part of that exchange as well. The peasants were given 30 acres of land for growing food and raising a few animals and had to work three days a week. Every thing that they had to grow was planned out by the lord. As well as working as hard as they can, the peasants also had to give payments to the lords on special occasions such as Christmas, and when a peasant died, the family had to give their best animal to the lord. After the Black Death though, a lot changed for the peasants. Because the peasants became scarce (since 33 percent of the population died), they asked for better deals from the lords. The lords however wanted to keep the old relationships, which led to the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381. Though this revolt did not succeed, the peasants were still given more freedom. The peasants now had to pay the lord fixed payments to the lords for the land. This was a huge advantage because if they made a lot of money, they would only have to pay the lord a fixed price and could keep the rest but before the Black Death, most of the money would probably have gone to the lord. This gave the peasants more incentives, or motivation, to actually work. The peasants were also allowed to farm their land as they wanted and did not have to follow the plans set out by the lords anymore. They were also allowed to move to different locations. Through this activity, we learned that the Black Death significantly changed the relationship between lords and peasants.

Lastly we did an activity that required us to think as lords before and after the Black Death. In this activity, there were two cases, one for before the Black Death and one after. In both cases, we had 1000 acres of land. Feeding my family and myself required 100 acres of land while feeding the peasants and their families required 30 acres of land each. In addition to the 30 acres the peasants get for their family, they can either get another 30 acres to produce food (with an income of 2 pounds for me) or get 150 acres for sheep grazing which has an income of 5 pounds for me.

In the first case, which was before the Black Death, I had 15 peasants that I had to allocate my land between. I needed 100 for myself and my family and 450 acres to feed the peasants, making a total of 550 acres to feed all of us. This means I had 450 acres left to either make the peasants grow food or graze sheep. For the choice between food production and sheep grazing, I had to choose the option that had the most profit or income for me, which was the main goal of this activity. I chose to allocate all my land for the food production because this will make all the 15 peasants work (one peasant can’t have more than job and no peasant can not be doing something) and with this choice, I make an income of 30 pounds. Because I have used all my land, it would not be economically worthwhile to have another peasant move into my estate because I have no land left for the new peasant.

The second case takes place after the Black Death in 1352. In this case, I only had 10 peasants since five of them died from the Black Death. This time, I only needed 400 acres of land to feed myself and my family as well as the 10 peasants and I had 600 acres left for either food production or sheep grazing. This time I allocated some of my land for the sheep grazing and some for the food. I allocated 240 acres of my land for food, which  required 8 peasants to work. Then I made the other 2 peasants graze sheep, which required 300 acres of land. With this, I used up 540 acres of my land and made a profit of 60 pounds and still had 60 acres of land left. This time though, it would have been economically worthwhile to have a peasant from another estate move into my estate because I had 60 acres left so the peasant could have had 30 acres of land for feeding his family and 30 acres for food production.

The main difference that I noticed between case one and two was that the peasants became scarce. Before the Black Death, it would not have mattered if a peasant quit because the lords could have just found another one. However, after the Black Death, the peasants were so scarce that the lords would do anything to keep them from leaving. Through this another concept I learned was resources. I learned about two resources, human and natural. Human resources are when human effort is exerted for the production of something. Natural resources are resources that can be found on Earth and when scarce, they require some payment. In this last activity, I learned that the human resources, which were the peasants, changed while the natural resources (the land), stayed the same because the human resources became scarce.

Through all these activities, I learned that the Black Death affected many things in England. It killed around a third of the population of Europe and changed the relationship between the peasants and the lords. The peasants and everything they did used to be completely controlled by the lords before the Black Death but after, they were granted more freedom and gained more money. The reason for this was the peasants became scarce and the lords did not want to loose them. The lords would grant them more freedom to keep them from leaving and moving into another lord’s property. Also, after the Black Death, the peasants were able to earn more money for their families.

Economic Article #1

Click here for the Article

After learning a few concepts in economics such as scarcity, choice, allocation, economic reasoning/ economic behavior, cost, opportunity cost, and tradeoff, we were asked to choose an article and apply two concepts to it. I chose an article called “ Apple slicing itself a bit thin- 2nd product in 2 months delayed: Leopard put back to get iphone out by June.” In this article, it mentions how the Apple Company delayed the release date of a new software called “Leopard” in favor of getting the iphone out earlier. I applied two concepts to this article, economic behavior/ economic reasoning and opportunity cost.

Firstly, economic reasoning or economic behavior means analyzing costs and benefits of each alternative to make a rational choice. This is shown quite clearly in the article. The Leopard is a brand new software in Apple, yet the workers at Apple delayed the release date for this. Why? They did this to release the iphone on time. “By delaying Leopard in favor of the iPhone, Apple is obviously showing which product it thinks is more important. Given the hype around the iPhone and its potential, that’s not surprising.” This quote shows that delaying the releasing of new software may have an impact on the company, but, they would not have made this choice unless they analyzed the costs and benefits of this alternative and had looked at the advantages and disadvantages of this choice carefully. Apple company must have thought that iphone would make more money than the Leopard so they delayed it in favor of making the most money. For this reason, their choice was a pretty rational choice for the company.

Lastly, an opportunity cost is when you choose the next best alternative. This term is also shown in this article.  “The company pushed back the release date of Leopard so it wouldn’t have to delay an even more highly anticipated product, the iPhone.”  This quote is quite self-explanatory. Apple gave up releasing the Leopard, the newest software in Apple, on time so that the iphone can finally release. In this case, the opportunity cost would be releasing the Leopard first (before the iphone).

I chose this article because I thought that Apple was a very important company. I use Apple products everyday such as a computer and an iphone and was eager to learn more about the company and their decisions based on either product. I chose the terms economic reasoning and behavior as well as opportunity cost because I feel that they are a big part of a company’s decision and I could see them portrayed in this article. I could clearly see economic reasoning because to make a rational choice, you always have to analyze the benefits and costs of that decision and that is exactly what Apple had to do when deciding if they should delay the Leopard for the iphone to be released. Also, making sacrifices is also a huge part of a company’s decision, which is shown when the release date of the leopard was delayed for the release of the iphone (releasing the Leopard first was the opportunity cost).