(L75) Domestic Politics, Economics, & African Government

1.) What kind of success did Africa have with governments that wielded great power over the different African economies?

In Zaire for example, ruler Mobutu Sese Seko (1965-1997) took a great negative toll on the society he ruled over. During his time in charge, there was a copper fueled economic boom; Mobutu took this opportunity to spend great sums of money constantly. He had eleven palaces erected, made his friends instant millionaires, and put up numerous monuments. Following this growth-spurt of power Mobutu launched the African “authenticity” program in which all Christian names were to be replaced with African ones. Christmas was also outlawed, as was dissent, and Mobutu had his own image displayed within the church. Westernized clothing was banned, and to top it all off, he cut national ties with Asians, Belgians and others.
After copper prices once again fell, there was severe economic downturn; Mobutu had to invite the Belgians back after having driven them out. High price inflation and great debt plagued Zaire. Public transportation systems failed and broke down without repair, and even hospitals were barren of the most basic medical supplies such as bandages and oxygen.
The result of anti-capitalistic government practices were devastating to say the least throughout various African economies.

2.) What are some of the major arguments advanced by the Public Choice school of economics?

One major argument advanced by the Public Choice school of economics is that individuals are self interested and motivated, regardless of whether or not they are government officials.
Another argument that Public Choice raises concludes that when one acts in the market, they receive the benefits or suffer the consequences. This is not the case for (voting or) government officials because they receive no feedback as they would in the free market system. Considering the fact that bureaucrats face no feedback, they face no consequences either.

3.) What are front-loading and political engineering?

Front-loading is a practice of political scheduling that shifts momentum towards a particular candidate before the general (final) election. In military terms however, it is simply an over-promising and underpricing (weasel) system to get what they want. To counteract front-loading, rather than rejecting an item that costs astounding amounts of money (which had originally been low-balled in the price pitch), political engineering is then utilized. Political engineering is when the cost of an item (or items) is spread out between as many districts as possible; this creates a domino effect and no one congressmen will (or can) pull the plug on it due to the fact that so many other districts back it.

Advertisements

How Does Inflation Affect Me? (L165)

Inflation affects each and every one of us on a daily basis in the United States (and many places elsewhere across the world). It doesn’t interfere with my life in a good way either; every time inflation rises, my dollar has less and less purchasing power. Inflation also neglects to take an equal affect on the entire market; severely screwing the majority of the population while favoring a very slim few. Inflation affects me every time I spend money; food, clothing, internet, even a house.
According to Numbeo, the current average cost of a gallon of milk (where I live) in Boston, MA is $3.65. Using an inflation calculator to go as far back as 1913, I found that what bought me a gallon of milk today could have bought me $87.98 worth the products (CPI). That is like one gallon of milk vs. one small grocery trip (today). In 1950, that same $3.65 would have had the purchasing power of $36.14 (CPI 1). Money is losing its value almost quickly enough to sit and watch.

Bibliography
“Food Prices in Boston,+MA, United+States.” Food Prices in Boston,+MA. Numbeo, July 2015. Web. 21 July 2015. <http://www.numbeo.com/food-prices/city_result.jsp?country=United%2BStates&city=Boston%2C%2BMA&gt;

“CPI Inflation Calculator (1).” CPI Inflation Calculator. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 July 2015. <http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl?cost1=3.65&year1=1950&year2=2015&gt;.

“CPI Inflation Calculator.” CPI Inflation Calculator. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 July 2015. <http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl?cost1=3.65&year1=1913&year2=2015&gt;.

Economic Evaluation 2015 (L155)

fredgraph

According to investment and financial educators Mike Maloney and Peter Schiff, a huge financial crisis is in the making. Through pinpointing similarities in trends from the 2008 financial crisis and information today (2015), they have built quite a strong case for the instability of the United States’ economy. A big issue that they discuss in their video Charts The Government Doesn’t Want You To See: Schiff & Maloney Reveal The Truth, is the fact that people, it seems, are no longer investing! (At least not as much as they typically would/should be.) People not buying new goods is causing the value of those goods (as a whole) to drop. This is reflected in multiple charts on the FRED website; including the Value of Manufacturers’ New Orders for Consumer Goods Industries. A current drop in value, much like the drop appearing during the 2008 financial crisis is clearly visible. (Charts).

nacm

(Charts).

Another worrisome connection in financial trends is found in the NACM credit application rejections numbers; in 2015 the United States saw their biggest spike in credit application rejections in recorded history. In this case, 2015’s numbers are not only similar to that of 2008’s, but the rejection spikes actually exceed the previous largest spike on record (which occurred in 2008). According to Maloney and Schiff, these could be the warning signs of a crash much, much worse than that of 2008 approaching. (Charts).

inflation

(US Inflation Calculator)

Inflation, being just a fancy word for the devaluation of the dollar, (or the increase of prices), is representative of the economy as a whole. As inflation rises, your dollar is able to purchase a smaller and smaller amount of any given good. Already in 2015 the United States’ inflation rates have outdone those of 2008. (Although it seems that inflation rates are the lowest in times of recession, it is more likely than not that things have been planned to look that way, in order to shield inflation from economic blame. Factually, it does not make sense that this could be the case.) Also equally suspicious, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistic’s unemployment rates reflect lower rates in times of recession too. 2015’s records closely match those of 2008, with only a difference of %0.1 for the month of May. (In May of 2008, the employment rate was 5.4%; in May of 2015 the unemployment rate was 5.5%.) (Bureau of Labor Statistics.) However, with unemployment rates being shown at their lowest right before (and during the beginning of) recessions, wouldn’t that mean that it was not really a recession? It is obvious here, that with all the changing standards of calculation, as well as interest rates and inflation, records do not necessarily accurately reflect the economy. (Fake government numbers covering up real government mistakes? The American people have not ever witnessed any behavior like that before…) In the words of a good friend and teacher, “the books are being cooked”.

This report has honestly confused me a lot more than it has clarified things for me. I understand the snags in our economy as of now, and I understand who is to blame. I do not understand however, how it is that the majority of Americans are blind to these issues. These numbers and books all mean nothing if they aren’t filled by credible sources; do your research folks, it can be a deceptive world out there, but the truth really is all around us.

Bibliography

Charts The Government Doesn’t Want You To See: Schiff & Maloney Reveal The Truth. Perf. Mike Maloney and Peter Schiff. Youtube, 2 June 2015. Web. 6 June 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q62atnTQldI&feature=youtu.be&gt;.

US. Bureau of the Census, Value of Manufacturers’ New Orders for Consumer Goods Industries [ACOGNO], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/ACOGNO/, June 11, 2015.

“US Inflation Calculator.” US Inflation Calculator. COINNEWS MEDIA GROUP, n.d. Web. 15 June 2015. <http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/inflation/current-inflation-rates/&gt;.

“Bureau of Labor Statistics.” United States Department of Labor. Us Bureau of Labor Statistics, n.d. Web. 15 June 2015. <http://data.bls.gov/pdq/SurveyOutputServlet&gt;.