Tuesday, October 4, 2016

G11 - Week 8 - Day 1

In-class work
  1. Exercises 8-18 on page 107 (HL Only)
  2. The Effects of a Per Unit Subsidy
    1. Exercises 19-23 on page 109
  3. Calculating the Effects of a Subsidy using Linear Equations (HL Only)
    1. Exercises 24-34 on page 112
  4. Determining the Effects of Price Ceilings and Price Floors
  5. Calculating the Effects of Price Controls using Linear Equations (HL Only)
    1. Exercises 35-46

Currently Reading

Exodus: How Migration Is Changing Our World
I will refer to the combination of institutions, rules, norms, and organizations of a country as its social model. Even among high-income countries social models differ considerably. America has particularly strong institutions and private organizations, but somewhat weaker public organizations than Europe, and Japan has much stronger norms of trust than either of them. But though they differ in detail, all high-income societies have social models that function remarkably well. Quite possibly, different combinations work well because the components adapt so as to fit each other: for example, institutions and norms may gradually evolve so as to be well suited given the state of narratives and organizations. But such adaptation is not automatic. On the contrary, hundreds of different societies existed for thousands of years before any of them happened upon a social model capable of supporting the ascent to prosperity. Even the Glorious Revolution was not undertaken with the objective of unleashing prosperity: it was triggered by a mixture of religious prejudice and political opportunism. The English social model that emerged in the eighteenth century was replicated and improved in America. This in turn influenced social revolution in France, which exported its new institutions by force of arms across western Europe. The key point I wish to convey is that the present prosperity enjoyed in the Western world, and which is belatedly spreading more widely, is not the outcome of some inevitable march of progress. For thousands of years until the twentieth century ordinary people were poor, everywhere. A high living standard was the privilege of extractive elites rather than the normal reward for productive work. Had it not been for a fortuitous combination of circumstances that relatively recently produced a social model conducive to growth, this dreary state of affairs would most likely have continued. In poor countries it continues still.

If the prosperity of the high-income world rests on this platform, it has crucial implications for migration. Migrants are essentially escaping from countries with dysfunctional social models. It may be well to reread that last sentence and ponder its implications. For example, it might make you a little more wary of the well-intentioned mantra of the need to have “respect for other cultures.” The cultures— or norms and narratives— of poor societies, along with their institutions and organizations, stand suspected of being the primary cause of their poverty. Of course, on criteria other than whether they are conducive to prosperity these cultures may be the equal of, or superior to, the social models of high-income societies. They may be preferable in terms of dignity, humanity, artistic creativity, humor, honor, and virtue. But migrants themselves are voting with their feet in favor of the high-income social model. Recognizing that poor societies are economically dysfunctional is not a license for condescension toward their people: people can as readily earn the right to respect while struggling against a hostile environment as while succeeding in a benign one. But it should put us on our guard against the lazier assertions of multiculturalism: if a decent living standard is something to be valued, then on this criterion not all cultures are equal. (pp. 33-35)

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