3/24/2009

TQM

TQM is a specific approach to quality assurance that aims to develop a quality culture throughout the firm. Each sphere of the business is broken into quality chains, which makes it easier to look after each sphere and provide the right enviroment, support, training and supervision in order to achieve zero defect target and products being made 'right first time'.

TQM:
- reduces waste in production and, therefore, reduces costs of production
- quality is improved as well as productivity which is likely to improve selling price, revenues and sales volume
- makes workers feel as a part of the team, therefore, they are more motivated which is likely to reduce labour turnover rates ans increase output and productivity
- improves the image of the business

Japanese management

Japanese management includes:
1. TQM - Total Quality Management, a business quality culture which means approaching high quality in all spheres of a business from finance to management.
2. Theory Z by Ouchy. "A company for life", which trains you, educates you, provides you with a home and you stay with this company all your life.
3. Just in Time approach, which enables to have high stock, because everything is supplied just in time, so you won't feel lack of any materials\products.
4. Production Quality Circle.
5. Ken I D I O T Kaizen - continious improvement. Can be applied to evrything in a business.
6. Lean production improves quality and reduces costs, because it minimised waste.

Video evaluation

The video is weird.
Okok.
The picture. As we can see in this video, it is obviously divided into three different types of video: beautiful scenery, EF facilities\accomodation\study and interviews.
Beutiful scenery is EF Oxford's USP - they are so proud of being located near Oxford university. Yes, the atmosphere, nice views of parks and colleges do their job. Customers like this flaffy stuff. How did you like the girl who was reading dictionary as if it was the latest bestseller from Borders or Waterstones? Lol yeah right, let's show London and Cambridge - they will reduce time that EF will have to spend on talking about studying and EF. Omg, spending more than 40 seconds on showing the dinning hall in Christ Church! lol lol lol brainwashers.
EF Oxford is presented as a big modern school with lots of facilities and great learning opportunities. I got really angry when they showed the rooms in the residence: they filmed them that way that the rooms looked actually much bigger than they are in the real life. And, wow, roommates are nice and clean (lol, how ironical). Look at the activities rooms - wow, a not broken pool table! wow, there are no loud or not very intelligent spanish speaking people in the lounge! And, ahahaha, I like how they presented the 'delicious' cafeteria food - "fish and chips and other international food". I cannot argue with this - cereal is international as well as burger. How on Earth can any food be called not-international?? Hey, look at the grass in the yard! It actually exists lol!
The interviews. Well, ok, teachers are obviously well-prepared. The girl spoke in English really good and I think EF actually paid her.

Well, obviously, EF won't tell anything bad about the school but..
Their advertisement is very good as they turned their disadvantages into advantages and paid a lot og attention to their USP.

3/23/2009

Blog summary-6

tutor2u econs blog, "Business Economics"

That ought to be a huge topic - economics and business are really close and have lots of things in common. recession affected all the businesses in the world, even gartantum companies collapsed. surely there will be something to discuss.

yeah, I'm right, lots of things. the most interesting ones in my brief explanations:

First of all, a collection of newspapers' business reviews 2008. really good for expanding your knowledge both in economics and business.

SPEW! Haahahaha, it's a mnemonics to remember some of the effects of monopoly power in markets! So funny)

This choconomics post states that there are counter-cyclical products, the demand for these rises at economic downturns. As an example they presented chocolates, which were really popular at the times of the Great Depression (1929-1934).

This is a post made last summer about Starbucks closing every 20th shop in US, this means -600 shops. The reasons are unprofitable locations and inability to make any profits in future. This happened BEFORE the recession. Now people tend to spend their money in cheaper coffee shops, so I dare to say that Starbucks might close even more shops around the world. It is very sad, because their USP was perfect service and quality. I still love them, I'm a loyal customer, who, despite the recession, will still buy a medium caramel frappuchino every Saturday)

Blog summary-5


tutor2u econs blog, tag "Russia economy"..

omg that is much more complicated. I read news about russian economy every day on russian news sites.. well, the only difference here will be the language then. ....uh, surprisingly, not so many posts on this topic.

This post simply states that Moscow is the most expensive city in the world. Well, thanks for that, I didn't know lol. They make comparisons on an example of the price for a cup of coffee:
The survey found that one cup of coffee including service would cost on average £2.20 in London, compared with £5.19 in Moscow and £2.57 in Tokyo
Well, I can add something about that from my own experience. You can get drunk in Moscow by just buying a low alcohol drink in a bottle (1 litre) for 50 rubles (0.90 pounds), but then you will be fined 1000 rubles (almost 20 pounds) by local police lol.

And this post using an example of Russian roadbuilding shows how it might affect economic growth, and also applies many AS and A2 topics (multiplier\accelerator\cost-benefit analysis etc)

Blog summary-4

tutor2u econs blog, Game theory tag.

this is becoming one of the most interesting topics in economics for me. it is a part of behavioural economics and I have already written a lot about it. tomorrow we are going to LSE on a lecture on behavioural economics, and the game theory will be discussed there as well.

There are not so many posts with this tag on this blog, and I have already commented on the most of them in my previous blog summaries.

The most interesting post is this one, I would say that it is a small intoduction into the game theory and then some discussions on socio-biology themes: are our emotions irrational? are our actions always determined by our aiming for self well-being? All those topics are briefly outlined in this post, discussing Robert Frank's works on that.

3/18/2009

Business Studies revision. Chapter 24

Quality

Business Studies revision. Chapter 23

Marketing operational decisions



Blog summary-3

once again, tutor2u econs blog. ag "behavioural economics"

First of all, behavioural economics - a field that specialises in studying how our emotions and biases effect our day to day decisions. Behavioural economics is a much more interesting topic than BoP boring stuff, this section is full of examples from real life and you can clearly understand that economics is everywhere. I just couldn't pick the most interesting topics..there were so many of those! I also liked book reviews and advice for further reading.

- for example, they mention a new book "The Mind of the Market", in which it is stated that markets have a collective mind, which drives them. They also provide us an extract from that book. And, surprise-surprise!, it works with the game theory! uhhh I start to like this theory.

- then I found this interesting video. Tim Harford explains the principles of segregation, also known as chessboard experiments of Tomas Schelling. Tim states that the world we live in is sometimes irrational, but people are not:


- then there is more on the game theory

- and here is a post about the book from which Mr. Chris took all those questions about fridges, kamikadze pilots and international model that he gave us in September. by the way, I have a copy of that book and it's really funny.

- and in the end I would like to talk about some more serious stuff. This post is about expectations in economics. Expectations are predictions of people about future market situations, prices, taxes, interest rates etc. Expectations are a really powerful tool and if enough people believe in these expectations they may become real, e.g. become a "self-fulfilling prophecy". From speculative behaviour in commodity markets, to the carry trade in foreign exchange and to expectations of changes in tax policy, how our expectations are formed and the factors that might cause them to change matter a great deal. Students can score higher marks for critical evaluation if they bring in the concept of expectations into their discussions.

3/17/2009

Blog summary-2

tutor2u econs blog, tag "Balance of Payments".

I don't know why, but this is my least favourite topic in the whole AS econs syllabus.. oh well, work is work, it has to be done.

- this post is about UK's biggest trade deficit in goods in services since the records were started in 1657. The deficit exceeds £8.238bn. As it can be seen from the graph below, the gap has been growing since 1998, but now because of the crisis the speed of growth has increased dramatically. Despite the competitive boost given by a depreciating currency, weakening demand in many of the UK’s major export markets is providing an important dampener on the ability of export businesses to provide a rebalancing of aggegate demand in the UK. Imports are also falling as the national belt is collectively tightened.


- another pretty interesting post helps us to answer an essay economics question: "Explain the factors which may help to determine an economy’s export performance". They provide the revision notes which will be helpful when writing an aswer. First of all they define exports and mention the UK's exports, which shows their UK's economy knowledge. After that they say how exports perfomance is measured (% change in volume of exports (real value at constant prices) OR % share of international markets / global trade). Then they provide a list of factors influencing exports perfomance (cost price factors and non-price factors). I think it will be useful for everybody if I copy it here:

Cost and price factors:

1. Unit labour costs: labour costs per unit of output, determined by wages relative to productivity. Thus wage inflation and productivity growth are becoming important
2. Average production costs – driven in the long run by exploiting increasing returns / economies of scale
3. Much depends on the scale of capital investment in export sectors – to drive unit costs down and to build the productive capacity for selling output overseas
4. Export subsidies – can reduce the overseas price of exports – a form of protectionism
5. Changes in the exchange rate
a. A depreciation reduces the foreign price of exported output (cet par) and increases the profitability of exporting
b. Assumes exporters change their prices when the currency moves
c. Appreciation has the opposite effect
d. Much depends on the price elasticity of demand for X and the elasticity of supply of the export sector (i.e. is there sufficient spare capacity)
6. Impact of tariffs and other forms of import control on the prices of exports

Non-price factors (i.e. non-price competitiveness)

1. Quality of product, reliability, after-sales service, design
2. Marketing and branding – ability to sell in different countries and different cultures
3. Importance of innovation, research and development in developing new products, extending brands

Blog summary

tutor2u econs blog, tag "AS Micro".

This is a pretty big part of the blog: many things can be reffered to as AS Micro. Microeconomics deals with the processes of consumption and production on the level of households and firms.

I've read 4-5 first pages..

- this post is talking abou classification of luxury cars according to demand elasticity. they were thought to be veblen goods (when price goes up, demand goes up as well), however, it is no truth any longer as it is proved in this the Times article. then tutor2u blog discusses the impact that the recession has on luxury cars companies' profits.

- moving on with types of goods, this post discusses an increased demand for inferior goods. inferior goods are those goods that have a negative relationship between quantity demanded and income. in other words, people buy those goods when their real income is low. however, it doesn't mean that those goods are poor quality, they just have more competitive and popular substitutes.

- this post describes a Wispa phenomenon - it was launched 25 years ago and left the market at the beginning of its third decade. people were saying that Wispa had passed all the stages of the product life cycle and now it was in history. however, the power of technology and consumer demand successfully brought it back. actually its producers who decide on marketing and development of a product, but in this case the consumers initiated Wispa's return - they used Facebook to show Cadbury that they want Wispa back. and they didn't lie - the sales of Wispa in 2007 were incredibly high. Cadbury even entered into a joint venture with McDonald’s to sell a Wispa McFlurry, which also brought profits. yay for chocolates!

Sociology notes-4

Comparative method, also known as grounded theory, is a systematic qualitative research methodology in the social sciences emphasizing generation of theory from data in the process of conducting research. It was developed by two sociologists, Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss.
The structutre of comparative method is completely opposite to a scientific method of a research.
First of all, all the various data is collected. After that some key points are taken from the data and they are marked with a series of codes. The codes are grouped into similar concepts, in order to make them more workable. From these concepts categories are formed, which are the basis for the creation of a theory.

Sociology notes-3

Close-ended questions.
Close-ended question means that the choice of answers on this question is limited. Close-ended questions are usually used for collecting data for a statistical survey in a structured interview.
A structured interview is a type of an interview when each interviwee is asked the same questions in the same order.

Researches:
Structured interviews can also be used as a qualitative research methodology (Kvale, 1996). These types of interviews are best suited for engaging in respondent or focus group studies in which it would be beneficial to compare/contrast participant responses in order to answer a research question (Lindlof & Taylor, 2002). For structured qualitative interviews, it is usually necessary for researchers to develop an interview schedule which lists the wording and sequencing of questions (Patton, 1990). Interview schedules are sometimes considered a means by which researchers can increase the reliability and credibility of research data (Lindlof & Taylor, 2002).

Sociology notes-2

Bourgeoisie. The term bourgeoisie is widely used in many non-English speaking countries as an approximate equivalent of upper class under capitalism.

Marxism defines the bourgeoisie as the social class which owns the means of production in a capitalist society. Marxism sees the proletariat (wage labourers) and bourgeoisie as directly waging an ongoing class struggle, in that capitalists exploit workers and workers try to resist exploitation. This exploitation takes place as follows: the workers, who own no means of production of their own, must seek employment in order to make a living. They get hired by a capitalist and work for him, producing some sort of goods or services.

Sociology notes

Banding. Also known as tracking, streaming or ability grouping, is a practise in education when students are divided into academic groups according to their abilities. Though the terms “tracking” and “ability grouping” are often used interchangeably, Gamoran (1992) differentiates between the two. He uses the term “tracking” to describe the manner by which students are separated into groups for all academic subjects, but “ability grouping,” on the other hand, is the within-class separation of students into groups, based on academic ability. High ability groups are often assigned special work that is more advanced than that of the other students in the class.

Advantages:
- it allows teachers to better direct lessons toward the specific ability level of the students in each class
- it separates students by ability, students’ work is only compared to that of similar-ability peers, preventing a possible lowering of their self-esteem
- it helps direct students into specific areas of the labor market
- encourage low-ability students to participate in class since tracking separates them from intimidation of the high-ability students
Disadvantages:
- low-track classes tend to be primarily composed of low-income students, usually minorities, while upper-track classes are usually dominated by students from socioeconomically successful groups. this might be due to labelling of students and judging by their social status
- in practise it's very difficult to divide students into correct groups and find real potentials
- the curriculum will differ a lot in different streams

Researches:
Kulik and Kulik (1992) found that high-ability students in tracked classes achieved more highly than similar-ability students in non-tracked classes.
Argys, Rees, and Brewer (1996) found that high-track students’ achievement dropped when lower-ability students were integrated into the same class.
Oakes (1985) found that in high-track classes, teachers often used course materials and taught concepts which required extensive critical-thinking skills, whereas teachers in low-track classes tended to draw heavily from workbooks and rarely assign work that required critical thinking.
Gamoran’s study (1992) shows that students are more likely to form friendships with other students in the same tracks than students outside of their tracks. Jeannie Oakes theorizes that the disproportionate placement of poor and minority students into low tracks does not reflect their actual learning abilities.

I want an A - so I will work until I have powers to type

Sociology homework.
The problems in researching schools and teachers and the opportunities that the internet offers for sociologists carrying out such research

As we all know, the internet offers us almost unlimited amount of information - new information is uploaded every minute or even every second. If you have an internet connection, you have an access to all of that info. Yes, this is great and helps us to learn and develop faster. It helps us to do a range of different researches, including researches on schools and teachers, but there are problems when doing a research based on the internet data.
First of all, you don't know WHO exactly uploaded that information. If you don't know the person, how can you know that the information is correct? Anybody can easily hide his or her identity under a nickname or even may try to fool you..
Secondly, some schools\teachers might write anonymously about themselves in order to look better than they actually are. Also some angry\stupid students might write some bad things about a teacher\school. So - inaccuracy is a very big problem.
While doing a research, you have to visit lots of sites, most of them you will visit for the first time. Therefore, you know nothing about the site's content. Maybe it's a porno site with the address like blablablateacherresearch.tr or it might even download a virus on your computer. When carrying out an online research, make sure that your computer's security level is good enough.
However, there are some reliable sources which are well known among the sociologists (I'm not a sociologist so I can't give a site as an example. smth like a sociological wikipedia maybe). Many universities\local governments\educational structures\official sites supply enough information to carry out a very interesting sociological research. Using the internet, people are now able to compare different educational systems in different countries just by clicking different links. It opens new doors for researches in education and its future. However, the problems that I have mentioned already should be awared of and solved.

Notes-4

tutor2u econs blog, topic AS Macro.

OMG. more than 3 pages of blogs on that topic. I have read through a half of them (my head starts to ache a little bit and eyes are closing cuz I haven't drunk any red bull today, but I have to do some work more), so I will comment on 3 the most interesting (in my opinion) posts. Most of them are presentations and graph sets anyway.. I looked at a couple of presentations, btw, liked the supply-side one, but it's too big, I have to leave time for the first-timer blog..

1. This helped me to understand exchange rate topic a little bit better and, therefore, know how to give exmaples in the real life
2. The Black Wednesday videos, 16/09/92. hey, the current crisis' 'official' start is the middle of September.. hmm, only co-accident?
3. 'EMPTY VESSELS'. Sorry, I just couldn't ignore those words lol.. empty vessels make the most noise, right?

at laaaaaaaaast! uh, I will do first-timer approximately at 8am cuz now I even can't type normally..next time I will buy Red Bull before studying at night.

Notes-3

tutor2u econs blog again, this time the topic is "Questions and Answers - Markets".

Unfortunately, I founf out that there is only one post under this tag. Uh, what a pity lol.

So, this post discusses the market for iPod. The post starts from a brief introduction, from which we learn that iPod has more than 80% of market share, therefore, it's a huuuuuge monopoly. Their profits are incredible even now, in the centre of financial crisis. After that they start to evaluate iPod's market position. The success of iPod is obvious - at the beginning of the 21st century Apple spotted a niche market and successfully built up a million-profit business. The post states that iPod has built up a vertical monopoly, as it is not only players - it is also iTunes (special software and online music shop), a special barrier to entry in the market - digital rights management system, which prevents people from listening iTunes music on non-Apple mp3 player. It's very hard to compete with such a giant like Apple\iPod.
Another argument is that iPod is an oligopoly, but I disagree with this, to be frank. An oligopoly is a market dominated by a few producers, each of which has some control over the market. This is the definition!!!! But the authors of that post say that behaviour of firms in oligopoly is more important and that iPod's market behaviour is pretty oligopolistic.
- strong investment in research and development
- agressive price competition
- also non-price competition
- existance of enty\exit barriers to the market
All of these are common things between oligopolistic companies' behaviour and Apple's iPod behaviour.

Notes-2

Econs Blog from tutor2u review.

Q&A - Macro
Tutor2u has only a few posts having this tag. However, they are all pretty interesting. The first one discusses the accelerator effect: it describes a principle where how much a business chooses to spend on capital investment will be influenced by how quickly demand is growing for their products. After this definiton a further explanation follows, which after that is supported by the most current example (in this article it's investments in turbines due to very high prices of oil and gas). After that they provide some data and graphs:

Accelerator effect helps to show that the business cycle does exist. Just look at the graph!!

The second post is about monetary policy. The question was about the relatioship between changes in the base rate and other banks' interest rates.
There is no guarantee that a change in base rates will cause all other interest rates to move too. That depends on the commercial decisions taken by the banks, building societies and other financial institutions.
This post also explains the mechanism of setting different rates (mortgage rates, LIBOR) and how base rates might influence interest rates changes in other banks. To cut a long story short, the base rate doesn't mean that all banks should set it. The base rate helps banks to understand in which direction their interest rates should move, however, it's up to banks - what to do with their interest rates.

The third post is about international trade, being more precise - about the correction of balance of payments current account deficit. The post distinguishes two different ways of reducing the amount of deficit:
- expenditure-switching (changing the prices of exports and imports, making exports more cheaper and imports more expensive). This can be done using the following methods:
*A depreciation of the exchange rate
*Export subsidies
*Import tariffs
*Policies to lower the rate of inflation in the home economy

- expenditure-reducing (reducing AD, which will slow down spending on imports). Methods:
*Higher taxation
*A fall in government spending
*A rise in interest rates or a fall in the availability of credit

Also they suggest a number of supply-side policies in order to solve this problem.

The fourth post discusses reasons for a sustained surplus on a current account. Briefly I will write those reasons:
- Export-oriented growth
- Undervalued exchange rate
- High domestic savings rates
- Closed economy
- Strong investment income from overseas investments
Use the link to get the full explanations on these reasons.

The last one is a great way to look at an evaluation process. The topic is whether transport capital investment should be increased in order to reduce the rate of unemployment. They mention a couple of obvious points like acceletator effect and reducing cyclical unemployment, however, there are plenty of thoughts and ideas that might help you guys with your studies.

Notes on blogs

As a part of my dynamic econs\bs\sociology revision, I will be reviewing a couple of blog bosts.

So, Business Ethics and CSR from tutor2u Business Studies blog..
As we all know, ethics is an important part of any business. Entrepreneurs must respect their customers, competitors, suppliers, cultures etc. They also shoul be responsible for their goods and services and make sure that they apply to all rules and do not cross any limitations (legal, ethical, cultural). CSR stands for Corporate Social Responsibility and thus is discussed with Business Ethics. Further explanation of arguments about CSR can be found here.
These things are mentioned a lot when people are talking about externalities or demerit goods or any type of discrimination in business. A good example of a discussion connected with business ethics and csr is a topic of fair trade - when people argue about whether should be suppliers from poor countries\areas be supported and paid a reasonable share of profits. No doubt that exploitation in farms and factories in Asia or Africa or even Russia DOES exist as people are not paid enough for the work they do.
At tutor2u BS blog they usually try to refer to some articles in leading UK newspapers and info sources in order to explain this topic.

3/16/2009

heh, I have just finished the whole AQA AS BS workbook.. took me 2 and a half hours to do it.. I should have worked more in it before -___- in that case I wouldn't have had so much to do.. uh.. whatever actually.

The Marketing chapters were the most fun, however, they took me a lot of time to complete.. and refering to case studies is not the best thing in that workbook as well.

The motivation chapters were so boring. Kinda ironic, isn't it? I was the least motivated on the motivation chapters lol.

The calculus questions for sure will be in my nightmares for the next 3-5 days.

Anyway, now I have some sociology to do in order to finish my brain completely (FATALITY!!! Academic Mortal Kombat lol)

3/10/2009

a2 econs

Explain how deregulation has sought to produce competitive markets for local bus services in Britain and for European air transport services.

De-regulation is a government policy, a proccess of opening up markets and encouraging the entry of new suppliers in idustries where welfare and efficiency might be affected by dominant market power of some suppliers. The trasport industry is one of those to which de-regulation is widely applied.
In order to avoid a monopolistic situation in many important industries, which provide essential goods and services, the government has introduced de-regulation, which is aimed to break up existing statutory power of some monopolies and create competition through the process of market liberasation.
How de-regulation might affect competition in the markets for local bus services? Well, first of all, we should take into account the possibility of appearance of imperfectly competitive markets, where existing firms have genuine market power in setting prices for consumers. According to Adam Smith, the price in the perfect competition must be the lowest that can be taken. Assuming that the demand for bus tickets is more likely to be price elastic, as there are many other substitues, the setting of the correct price is the only way to increase profits for the companies. So, even without de-regulation process, the market situation can be stabiliased. However, the bus companies in the UK are not nationalised (eg they belong to the private sector), which means that this market is free to be entered. The only problem could be barriers to entry, if the market is dominated by 2-3 firms. The process of de-regulation should low these barrier in order to achieve perfect competition.

The European Air transport services market is highly competitive for a number of reasons. First of all, the ticket prices for air services are price inelastic because there are no close substitutes. Secondly, the European air services industry is likely to be an oligopolistic industry, where few dominant firms have the market power and try to take over the market. Because of this the prices tend to be high. De-regulation process is aimed to make entrance to the market easier for other firms, which will mean more fair competition, increase in services' quality and price stabilisation.

A Beautiful Mind


If we all go for the blonde and block each other, not a single one of us is going to get her. So then we go for her friends, but they will all give us the cold shoulder because no on likes to be second choice. But what if none of us goes for the blonde? We won't get in each other's way and we won't insult the other girls. It's the only way to win. It's the only way we all get laid (c) John Nash, from a film "A Beautiful Mind".

John Forbes Nash, Jr. (born June 13, 1928), is an American mathematician and economist whose works in game theory, differential geometry, and partial differential equations provided insight into the forces that govern chance and events inside complex systems in daily life. His theories are still used today in market economics, computing, accounting and military theory. Serving as a Senior Research Mathematician at Princeton University during the later part of his life, he shared the 1994 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with game theorists Reinhard Selten and John Harsanyi.

In game theory, Nash equilibrium is a solution concept of a game involving two or more players, in which each player is assumed to know the equilibrium strategies of the other players, and no player has anything to gain by changing only his or her own strategy unilaterally. If each player has chosen a strategy and no player can benefit by changing his or her strategy while the other players keep theirs unchanged, then the current set of strategy choices and the corresponding payoffs constitute a Nash equilibrium.


The Nash equillibrium concept can be applied in economics.Economists have long used game theory to analyze a wide array of economic phenomena, including auctions, bargaining, duopolies, fair division, oligopolies, social network formation, and voting systems. This research usually focuses on particular sets of strategies known as equilibria in games. These "solution concepts" are usually based on what is required by norms of rationality. In non-cooperative games, the most famous of these is the Nash equilibrium. A set of strategies is a Nash equilibrium if each represents a best response to the other strategies. So, if all the players are playing the strategies in a Nash equilibrium, they have no unilateral incentive to deviate, since their strategy is the best they can do given what others are doing.

So, to keep it simple, the game theory (on which the Nash equillibrum concept is based on) is an analysis of optimal decision in competitive situations. John Nash proposed that the optimal decision would not be the best decision for one person, but a decision based on predicting decisions of others as well and taking them into account. This concept is widely used in many spheres of life, including economics and business. Many companies are planning their strategies, using the Nash equillibrium concept.

Source:
Wikipedia

another essay

Explain how increased use of transport leads to negative externalities and market failure.

Market failure is the situation in the market when resources are allocated inefficiently (productive and/or allocative efficiencies are not achieved). Negative externalities, negative effects on the so called 'third party', who are not involved in the process of consumption or production, are an example of market failure.

Increased use of trasport may cause a range of different negative externalities.
The first and the most obvious negative externality is pollution. Exhausted fumes from the cars pollute the air and might even destroy the ozon layer, which will affect the health of many people, who may even live miles away from the transport system. It might also affect the local eco-system and this might have an effect on the local supply of natural resources. Another type of pollution is noise pollution, which may disrupt people and low local labour productivty levels.
An overconsumption of a local infrastucture is another negative externality, because it is likely to lead to an increase in traffic jams in the area. Once again, it will affect people's productivity and, therefore, local companies' production.
All these negative externalities are likely to cause market failure because it is almost impossible to take them all into account and, therefore, include them in the market price. The equality MPC=MSC is not achieved, therefore, the market failure exists.

3/09/2009

A2 econs

Explain how the government uses cost benefit analysis to allocate resources in transport and why this method of appraisal has some limitations.

Cost benefit analysis is a technique for assessing the monetary social costs and benefits of a capital investment project over a given time period. It is used to plan many different types of government investments and analyse whether they are worth the money spent on it. CBA includes calculating tangible costs and benefits, intangible costs and benefits (in other words externalities) and also discounting - a prediction of future costs and benefits.
Allocation of resources in the most effective way is the main aim in any economic process, including investments in transport. In this context allocating resources means spending a particular amount of money on improving the infrustructure. Exspenditure is based on a detailed analysis of costs and benefits, which helps to understand on what parts of work more money should be spent, how much to spend on insurance and security and also taking into account possible future changes and external effects on the infrastructure. The analysis is started with an appraisal of the project (should the government invest in transport development) and only after that an accounting of costs and benefits is started. The government counts all the tangible costs and benefits (labour costs, building and repairing costs, profits from developed transport\infrastructure), after that it counts possible negative and positive externalities (pollution, people living near roads etc) and compares them to determine the net social rate of return (on the subject whether the project is worth investing). After that they start discounting of future costs and benefits - how it will work in the future years, will the transport need improvement or reconstruction etc.
What are the possible limitations of CBA in transport?
- it is very difficult to value some externalities. How will a new road affect the enviroment? How much this effect will cost? Analytics may only guess basing on some trends or formulae, but there is no proof that their guess will be accurate.
- when doing CBA, all costs and benefits should be included for completing an accurate analysis, but it is impossible to include all the third parties into analysis. future events are unpredictable, therefore, cannot be included into the CBA.
- for some people a particular change in the infrastructure might be a benefit while for others it's a cost. some will recieve more benefits than others. how to compensate those who gain less?
- impossible to predict all the impacts on the enviroment and humans' lifes.

A2 Business Studies essay

With reference to organisations, markets or industries that you know, to what extent do you think that the internet is a threat rather than an opportunity for business?

We live in the age of a digital progress, which is spreading all over the world with an unbelievable speed. Every day thousands of people get access to the internet and, therefore, are able to shop online. This makes running an online business very attractive to many entrepreneurs: the internet gives them many opportnities, which are unavailable for the so called 'offline' businesses. Online businesses are easier to start up and manage, the costs are much lower (no need to pay for the rent or electricity, labour costs are also low compared to real businesses) and the internet by itself means more extended market. With a correct and successful marketing campaign, any online business can fastly develop, cover all start up costs and start to make actual profits. That's why the number of online businesses grows each day. For some businesses switching to 'online' mode may help avoiding failure. The famous example of this is the network of shops Woolworths, which became bancrupt over Christmas, but after that 'reincarnated' online. It seems that online businesses are much better than the real ones. But is this actually the truth?
Online businesses have their 'dark sides'. Shopping online means that customers have to leave their confidentional info like address, phone numbers and other contact information as well as credit card numbers and bank accounts information. Online shops are trying to protect this information, however, they do not succeed all the time. As a result, the customers may find that somebody is using their credit card or their e-mails are full of spam and viruses. If a business wants to succeed online, it has to provide a high level of security to protect their customer's information or they will lose all customers and may even be closed down. Other security problem is hackers, which may take over the website and all the stock, account and customer information, and there is nothing that an entrepreneur can do with this. Providing a high level of security costs a lot. However, hackers and virus programmes are becoming stronger and more complecated, therefore, no-one's information is safe in the internet. Other thing that may stop businesses from developing and making profits is very tough competition. No doubt that all online markets are taken over by monopolies like microsoft, amazon or e-bay, because they were started a long time ago and had a huge place to develop as they were first online. Competing with those online giants might be impossible for small unnoticable businesses. Even very interesting business find it difficult to take a small part of market share just because of consumers' lack of information. Also it is difficult to do an accurate market research, as online people tend to use fake identitites and lie about their interests.
The internet might be a threat for many ambitious businesses which aim to make profits because of tough competition, lack of security provision and information failure about an online market that they want to enter.

I suddenly realised that I have not enough knowledge of online industries and failures to write a good essay. But it's a good practise anyway.

3/08/2009

Merton vs Brasenose

A couple of days ago I did a research of three famous private schools for boys in the UK. I was comparing their fees, facilities, opportunities they offer for students and many other things.

Today I will do a research of 2 Oxford colleges, because this topic is very important for me as I want to apply to the university of Oxford. I hope this research will help me to do the final choice of the right college. So, I will be looking at 2 most attractive to me colleges: Merton and Brasenose.

Merton College


Brasenose College:


1) History
Merton: Merton College, the first fully self-governing College in the University, was founded in 1264 by Walter de Merton, sometime Chancellor of England and later Bishop of Rochester. Mob Quadrangle, the oldest quadrangle in the University, was built in three phases: the Treasury c.1288-91, the north and east ranges and the Sacristy c.1304-11, and the Library on the south and west sides 1373-8.

Brasenose: The transformation of Brasenose Hall into Brasenose College was so smooth that it is difficult to give an exact date to the change. A quarry in Headington was leased to provide stone for the new buildings on 19 June 1509 and this is the year which Brasenose keeps as its foundation. <...> The founders of Brasenose College were Sir Richard Sutton, a lawyer, and William Smyth, Bishop of Lincoln.


2) Facilities
Merton:
- two libaries (for the use of College members only—including the oldest continuously functioning library for university academics and students in the world!)
- free internet access + computer room with free printing and cheap photocopying
- Dining Hall with high-quality, low-cost food for students
- The Junior Common Room, where students can relax, watch movies, and play pool
- The College Bar, with a nice range of affordable beverages and regular quiz nights
- A TV Room with video and DVD equipment
- Access to a Games Room, complete with a free pool table, table football, darts and games machines
- The Fellows Garden, an idyllic place to read, work or relax
- Merton College Sports Ground, including sports pitches, pavilion, grass and hard tennis courts, squash courts and weight-training facilities
- Merton College Boathouse on the River Isis (Thames)
- Real Tennis Court in Merton Street which can be used by the college Real Tennis Club
- 4 pianos and 2 chapel organs available for students for practice
- Chapel services
- Welfare Officers from the student body as well the Chaplain, Welfare Dean and University support services
- College Nurse
- Venues which can be booked without charge by students for club or society events and performances or recitals

Brasenose:
- The Brasenose sports ground is near the river, about ten minutes walk from the College. There are rugby, hockey and football pitches, netball and squash courts and in the summer, there is a beautiful cricket pitch and both grass and hard tennis courts. The clubhouse has a small bar for drinks and snacks, which can be put on a tab and settled at the start of the next term.
- The flourishing College Music Society arranges concerts both by students and visiting professionals. Students can practise in the music room and the Chapel. The College has an orchestra, choir, jazz band, rock band, a number of chamber groups and many fine musicians.
- A College drama club puts on plays in the College and the City.
- A College bar
- Open to members of all denominations, the Chapel is an important part of Brasenose College's community facilities
- Brasenose has three excellent libraries which members can access 24 hours a day. There are collections in all subject areas covered by the College. The Library holds approximately 50,000 titles and subscribes to around 75 periodicals. It is also just a short distance from the University's Bodleian Library and many of the faculty and departmental libraries.


3) Fees:
Uni of Oxford main fee (for overseas, social sciences and humanities): £11,205
+

Merton:
College fee (only for overseas students): £5,212
Accomodation: £2,361 for a bed sitting room
Food: £7.21 (breakfast+lunch+dinner) a day

Brasenose:
College fee: £5,212
Accomodation: not stated
Food: not stated

4) Extra. Pros and cons
Merton:
The Good Bits
- Merton was founded in 1264, so we can boast about being 'arguably the oldest Oxford college'.
- Beautiful architecture and gardens (bonus: wireless internet is available in the Fellows' Garden).
- As one of the smaller colleges with around 90 undergraduates a year and 300 graduate students altogether, Merton has a very friendly atmosphere.
- Our JCR receives a lot of money from the college to pay for welfare, entertainment and whatever else we decide we want.
- A Nintendo Wii in the JCR.
- The food is amongst the best in the university, and very good value at £1.40 for breakfast, £2.55 for lunch and £3.20 for an evening meal (including formal hall). You only pay for the meals you go to, rather than a termly rate.
- Wonderful brunch on a Sunday.
- Merton can provide accommodation for every year of your degree, with very nice rooms and one of the lowest rents in the university.
- Excellent academic reputation. We receive very good teaching and have repeatedly come top of the Norrington table (which ranks Oxford colleges on their degree results) in the last few years.
- Located close to the centre of town but set back from the High Street, backing on to Christ Church Meadows. The location is both peaceful and convenient.
- Our fortnightly Bops (big fancy-dress parties) are held in the sports pavilion on Manor Road (near St. Catz), so they are bigger and go on much later than most colleges'.
- Our games room has free pool and free table football. Our bar is really cheap and Dave the barman is brilliant (and he provides excellent toasties).
From January 2009, the college will have a fully-equipped fitness room on the main college site.
- Crazy traditions like the Time Ceremony.
- It's one of the richer colleges, which means cheap rents that are the same for all rooms, book tokens and other achievement prizes are abundant, and you know you can fall back on them financially if something goes badly wrong with your life.
- The academic support is excellent if you are having difficulties with your work.

The Bad Bits
- The provision of kitchens isn't that good compared with other colleges. Most second year accommodation has kitchens, but most 1st year and 3rd year accommodation doesn't. There is a JCR kitchen in college, and you can usually get a kitchen in 2nd and 3rd year if you are willing to sacrifice other factors like location or room size.
- We are stereotyped as workaholics who never leave the library. Like most stereotypes, this is rubbish. We go out, party and get involved in societies as much as any other college. Our tutors do have high expectations though, and we get good results.
- We have some silly rules (mostly ignored but sometimes people are fined for them) about where you can walk on the grass, and not being allowed to gather in groups of more than ten people at a time.
- Being opposite exam schools. This is actually a pro if you are an arts student because your lectures are right next door, but in the summer term the after-exam celebrations are really noisy and messy, which is annoying if you still need to revise. (Mainly applies to first year scientists)
- The Warden - she's not that bad though!
- Pressure: some subjects are very pressured and this has a number of negative effects on students. Certain subjects are very trigger-happy when it comes to rustication on academic grounds.

Brasenose:
The Good Bits
- Excellent location, possibly the best in Oxford being the only undergraduate college on Radcliffe Square (considered by many the world's prettiest square) as well as being on the High Street. Nothing in Oxford is more than about a 15 minute walk away. Frewin is situated next to Oxford Union just off Cornmarket street.
- Pretty, old "Castle-style" buildings (and no 'rubbish quad' like some colleges)
One of the richer colleges, so food is reasonably cheap and accommodation is quite nice.
- Cheap formal (£3.60 for a 3 course meal) and not overdone, only 3 times a week
- Small, cosy atmosphere, all freshers live very close to each other
- Accomodation 1st, 3rds and 4th years is guaranteed, and in past few years usually provided for all second years (a few people opt to live out each year) with 2nd/some 3rd years living in frewin annex which is nearby and even more central (next to the Union)
- Big JCR, with pool, arcade machines, vending machinge and Sky TV (including skysports)
- Not excessively academic, can be a bit more relaxed and enjoyable compared to some (not as many essays to do per week as some colleges e.g. merton)
- Very Cosy feel to it - Since everyone lives so close there is very much a community feel and everyone knows everyone in college
- No great sense of hierarchy and formality like in other colleges. You can wear pretty much anything under a gown in formal and even the Principal (former head of research at CERN) will try to get to know students (you can frequently spot him in the boathouse during races and down the bar)
- Good at sports, and has a long sporting tradition
- World's oldest boatclub (just so you can say you were a member of it) Also rapidly growing. This year there will be 4 novice crews at Ch Ch Regatta, last year it was just 2.
- 24/7 Library
-Big and cheap Bar (1.40 a pint)

The Bad Bits
- No kitchens in college so no ovens, only microwaves and fridges in 1st year
- The college does not provide "internal phones" as some colleges do - but if you have a mobile/skype then this is rarely an issue
- Not overly academic (but that means less pressure and its not rubbish, just average)
- Food is sometimes average (but mostly really good, never poor)
- High street rooms can be noisy.
- No toasters in your room (though scouts can be pretty lenient about this but it's easiest just to hide it).
- Not very active JCR, and people seem reasonably apathetic towards college politics
- Considering wealth of college accommodation could be cheaper
- No gym, though they provide membership to iffley road gym, (which is far better equipped than college gyms) and are in the process of refurbishing the current gym.
- Not much in terms of big gardens and lawns
- Small grounds compared to some colleges

Conclusions: I think all the information I need is in this post. As for me academic achivements are far more important than Sky TV in the common room, I think Merton would be much nicer for me. I also looked at online tour of Merton and I shall say that it's a very nice place to live and study in. Furthermore, JRR Tolkien was Mertonian and even worked there as the Professor of English in 1945.
Brasenose is still a good option, though.

Sources:
Merton College
Brasenose College
Wikipedia
TSR

sociology



this music video is very good for analysis of family relationships and their impact on the society and development.
as we can see, it all happens in a low-income single-parent family. the father left when Marshall was a couple of months old, and his mother obviously didn't have any job. domestic violence happened in this family a lot, which explains why Marshall hates his mother so much. possible reasons for this domestic violence:
- the child was unwanted
- no money for bringing him up
- the mother was taking drugs (we can see the scene where she takes some pills)
etc.
as a result of all this, the boy had to steal money (possibly to eat something normal or just because his mother's behaviour had had a negative effect on him) and was likely to perform badly at school. as we can see, he has no educational toys or books and no motivation. he was scared of his mother, however, he couldn't do anything with it.

Watch the video!

hey, I'm thinking of making similar video just for fun.
Exam results are out in 4 days. ******* nervious.

And my feelings about exams are exactly like his.

3/05/2009

Should the UK join the Euro?


Tomorrow on our 3rd economics lesson me and Dima will be giving a talk on this topic. He will present the reasons for joining, I will be for saving the GBP currency.
So, in order to help myself with the preparations, I'm writing this post.

So, what is euro?
Euro is the currency used in 16 countries from the European Union. On 1st January 2002 is replaced such currencies such as franc (in France) and lira (in Italy). Euro was created to achive economic efficiency, to remove the exchange rate problem which would enable consumption of previously unprofitable because of the tariffs goods and to reduce the difference of prices for the same goods and services in different countries. Not any country, even being a member of EU, can adopt the euro. A country must prove that it is economically strong country, with a stable inflation rate, have suffisient flexiility to deal with problems, the rate of investment must be high and also a country must consuder the effects on trade competitiveness that the change may cause. No doubt that for many countries the adoption of the euro will be a new level of economy and have more advantages than disadvantages.

But is the UK one of those countries? GBP is a very strong currency, it is the fourth-most-traded currency in the foreign exchange market after the US dollar, the euro, and the Japanese yen. <...> Sterling is used as a reserve currency around the world and is presently ranked third in amount held as reserves.
The government of former Prime Minister Tony Blair had pledged to hold a public referendum for deciding membership should "five economic tests" be met to ensure that adoption of the euro would be in the national interest. In addition to this own internal (national) criteria, the UK has to meet the EU's economic convergence criteria (Maastricht criteria), before being allowed to adopt the euro. Currently, the UK's annual government deficit to the GDP is above the defined threshold. In February 2005, 55% of British citizens were against adopting the currency, with 30% in favour. The idea of replacing the pound with the euro has been controversial with the British public because of its identity as a symbol of British sovereignty and because it would, according to critics, lead to suboptimal interest rates, harming the British economy. In December 2008 the results of a BBC poll of 1000 people suggested that 71% would vote "no", 23% would vote "yes" to joining the European single currency, while 6% said they were unsure.

So, despite the euro was created to help and stabiliase, many british are agains adapting this currency.

Will the change to the euro bring more harm than good to the UK? Well, this is a quite difficult question.

Ok, now, why shouldn't the UK join the euro?
Well, there are many reasons:
- the UK government and the Bank of England will partly lose their control over the country's economic situation: the will not be able to set their own interst rates and be dependent on ECB (Eropean Central Bank) decisions on the general price lebel positions. maybe some decisions would be good for the Eurozone but at the same time they might have a negative effect on the UK's economy
- in the Eurozone there is geographical immobilty of labour and also there is insuffisient wage flexibility inside European labour markets. Therefore, the Eurozone doesn't meet the conditions required for an optimal currency area.
- current economic situation is not the best time to adopt the euro. that's obvious: extra costs and possible negative things like price instability, interest rate changes inefficiency and possible collapses of businesses. with current mortgage problems the change to the euro might make the situation even worse.
- fiscal transfers are required to reduce structural economic inequalities. Britian can't afford this at the moment.
- Britian will not be able to attract capital investment inflows from other countries if it doesn't join the euro
- as it was mentioned in the quote above, many british are agains joining the Eurozone, so this might cause the lack of confidence in the UK government among the citizens.

However, there are many positive sides in joining the Eurozone, but, to my opinion, they are not comparable to disadvantages of this truly unpopular decision.

Source:
Wikipedia

To read:
why the UK doesn't join the euro (2003)

3/03/2009

Sociological research on schools and colleges

I have visited the websites of three british colleges in order to compare them. These colleges are Eton (not Ethan!) College, Harrow School and Westmisnster School. First of all, some photos:
Eton College:

Harrow school:

Westminster school:


a. fees

Eton: really high fees -  £9,360 per term (3 terms a year) for an oppidan (oppidan is an Eton College student living in a flat)

Harrow School: £9,335 per term + other fees

Westminster School: £ 9,172 per term

b. how to gain admission (I was researching Six Form Entries (for A-level programme))

Eton: most of the boys enter Eton at the age 13, however, it is possible to enter at 16 for some students. For a schoolarship you should submit an entrance before the second week of December, then Eton will frequently ask for a student's current perfomance on GSCE.  On the basis of these reports, short-listed candidates will be asked to come to Eton in February (bringing examples of recent work with them) for interviews in their likely AS-level subjects, an aptitude test, and a general paper. A confidential medical report will also be required before a candidate can be accepted, which may on occasion include specified medical tests. For just an entry there is no admission form, but a student must show high achievements in his studies and convince the college that he will take an active part of the college life. He migh also be interviewed and tested and he must check at Eton's doctor office. A parent or a guardian of a student is asked to sign a document, confirming that all fees and charges will be payed.

Harrow: complete a registration form or a schoolarship form, then present a reference from a student's current school and then, if an application is strong enough, sit a test and complete a couple of interviews with the teachers of the subjects a student intends to study. 
Westminster: for getting entry information the school suggest to contact their office.

c. school facilities
Eton
:

- a boy lives within the college, he is sorted to one of the houses (50 boys in each approx) or in the College (70 boys) and is supervised by a housemaster and his assistents.
- school libary, departamental libaries and a college libary, all have all needed equipment and materials
- 24 science laboratories, 3 language laboratories
- audio-visual resource centre (serves the audio-visual needs of the school), computer-based resource centre (exists to help masters incorporate computers into their teaching, and in particular to make the best use of the school network)
- a big list of societies that students can join

Harrow:

- music school
- one of the best school theatres in the UK
- the latest IT infrastructure
- the best school golf courses
- top-quality all-weather pitches
- a farm (dunno why they need this)

Westminster:

- a libary
- a science centre (laboratories on eight floors, together with offices, and project and research rooms. all these laboratories are undergoing refurbishment as part of the Science Centre’s programme of development)
- an IT department (also offers a range of optional advanced computing courses)

d. sports, arts and expeditions available
Eton
:

- different expeditions during the terms and the holidays
- There is a vast range of sports available, from the familiar, like soccer, rugby, hockey, cricket, rowing, athletics, squash, to the less familiar like rackets and fives. There are some games which can only be played at Eton, namely the Wall and Field Games. In all there are nearly 30 different games on offer, all coached by Eton masters and professional coaches.
- The Drawing Schools have facilities for painting, drawing, printmaking, computer graphics and digital photography.
- Students can take part in any play production process they want to. Drama can be also a part of the curriculum
- The new building consists of a purpose-built orchestral rehearsal room, recording studio, computer room with twelve PC workstations, a pre/post-production suite, rock band studio, electric guitar teaching room, and twelve other teaching and practice rooms. <...> Over 1,000 music lessons are taught each week by a music staff of seven full-time masters and over fifty visiting teachers; instruments range from sitar and tabla to the full range of orchestral and solo instruments.
Harrow:

- Harrow aims to provide a very high standard of coaching and competition for the best sportsmen while enabling the less gifted to find something they can enjoy. Pupils can play sport every day if they wish, and for the enthusiast there are outstanding opportunities to play and excel.
- Over half our pupils learn an instrument and most of these boys are involved in ensemble work through participation in choirs, bands, orchestras and drama productions.
- In most academic years there are about eleven plays, in addition to the Shell drama festival and the AS and A-level productions.
Westminster:

For sixth-form pupils, the Options programme encompasses a diverse number of activities including a Film Society, Debating and Model United Nations (MUN), and a Community Service option that arranges visits to Primary Schools and Drop in Centres.


e. range of subjects
Eton: The subjects on offer vary in small measure from year to year, but the following are those currently on offer: English Literature; English with theatre studies; mathematics; mathematics with further mathematics; biology; chemistry; physics; French, German; Italian; Japanese; Spanish; Russian; Portuguese; Chinese (Mandarin); history (one chosen from modern or early modern or mediaeval); history of art; geography; divinity; economics; government and politics; art; design
Harrow: In the Sixth Forms all pupils are expected to take AS-level in four main subjects, going on to A-level in at least three. There are many to choose from including English Literature, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Latin, Greek, History, Geography, Economics, Business Studies, Ancient History, Classical Civilisation, Political Studies, Religious Studies, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Design Technology, Physical Education, Music, Music Technology, Art, History of Art, Theatre Studies, Statistics and Photography.
Westminster: no particular list of subjects is posted.

f. examination results
Eton: GCE A-LEVEL STATISTICS — SUMMER 2008: 100% grades A in A-levels in languages (Russian, Japanese, German), 90%> grades A in English Literature, Greek, History of Art, Italian, Latin and Religious Studies, 80%> grades A in Art, French, Government and Politics, Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Spanish. 72% got a grade A in Economics, Sociology and BS are not presented.
Harrow: results are not presented at the website
Westminster: since 1995 % of pass is 100, with more than 80% getting grades A and B and more than 70% getting a grade A. For exact data look here.

Conclusions: all three research objects are approximately the same price, Eton and Harrow are boys schools complteley and Westminster offers places for girls only for Six Form Education. All three provide accomodation and a wide range of subjects, emphasising on extra curriculum and discipline. All three have a high rate of achievements and provid high-quality education.

a research question

I asked three different economics help sites whether the phillips curve was still valid.
I asked it at tutor2u, About: Economics and economicshelp.org

Only one site has responded yet, however, other two might answer it later, so maybe I will post the answers on my blog.

So, the answer from economicshelp.org:
The Phillips curve originated out of analysis comparing money wage growth with unemployment. The findings of A.W. Phillips in The Relationship between Unemployment and the Rate of Change of Money Wages in the United Kingdom 1861–1957 suggested there was an inverse correlation between the rate of change in money wages and unemployment. For example a rise in unemployment was associated with declining wage growth and vice versa

Original Phillips Curve

This analysis was later extended to look at relationship between inflation and unemployment. Again the 1950s and 1960s showed there was evidence of this inverse trade off between unemployment and inflation.

Phillips Curve Diagram

However, Monetarists have always been critical of this Phillips curve trade off. They argue that in the long run there is no trade off as LRAS is inelastic.



Is there still a Phillips Curve Trade Off?

Evidence from the 1970s suggested the trade off had broken down. The 1970s witnessed a rise in stagflation - rising unemployment and inflation.

However, others argued there was still a trade off - the phillips curve had just shifted to the right giving a worse trade off.

In the early 2000s, the trade off seemed to improve. Helped with low global inflation. Unemployment in UK fell without any rise in inflation. Some argued this period of stability had ended boom and bust cycles with the classic trade off between inflation and unemployment.

Since the mid 2008s we have seen a rise in the unemployment rate and a fall in inflation. Part of this fall in inflation is the drop in oil prices. But, it also reflects the fact as the economy enters into recession we get a rise in unemployment and inflationary pressures fall away.

There are many factors affecting inflation and unemployment. At the very least the Phillips curve is not stable. The trade offs between inflation and unemployment are often changing due to supply side factors.

I think most economists would agree there is a trade off, at least in the short term. If you boost aggregate demand then unemployment will fall, but at the cost of higher inflation.

Arc Elasticity

Let us calculate an easy PED:

Price(OLD)=10
Price(NEW)=9
QDemand(OLD)=110
QDemand(NEW)=150

PED formula: (%change in quantity demanded)\(%change in price)

the change in quantity demanded is 0.3636 (trust me, I use calculator) and the change in price is -0.1

PED = (0.3636)/(-0.1) = -3.636

ok, now lets do it opposite way:
Price(NEW)=10
Price(OLD)=9
QDemand(NEW)=110
QDemand(OLD)=150

the change in quantity demanded is -0.2667 (calculator is love) and the change in price is 0.1111

PED = (-0.2667)/(0.1111) = -2.4005

Wait a second, elasticities differ, but the data is the same!
When calculating a price elasticity, we drop the negative sign, so our final value is 3.636. Obviously 3.6 is a lot different from 2.4, so we see that this way of measuring price elasticity is quite sensitive to which of your two points you choose as your new point, and which you choose as your old point. Arc elasticities are a way of removing this problem.

Ok, using arc elasticity formula, we would calculate the percentage change in Quantity Demand the following way:

[[QDemand(NEW) - QDemand(OLD)] / [QDemand(OLD) + QDemand(NEW)]]*2

This formula takes an average of the old quantity demanded and the new quantity demanded on the denominator. By doing so, we will get the same answer (in absolute terms) by choosing $9 as old and $10 as new, as we would choosing $10 as old and $9 as new.

The same transformations are happening with the price changes calculations when using arc elsticity:
[[Price(NEW) - Price(OLD)] / [Price(OLD) + Price(NEW)]] *2]

Therefore the formula of Arc Price Elasticity of Demand is:
[[Price(NEW) - Price(OLD)] / [Price(OLD) + Price(NEW)]] *2] over [[Price(NEW) - Price(OLD)] / [Price(OLD) + Price(NEW)]] *2]

or, to make you imagine that, I found a fraction pic:


You can also count Arc Price Elasticity of Supply, Arc Income Elasticity of Demand, Arc Cross Elasticity of Demand of good X.

APES = [[QSupply(NEW) - QSupply(OLD)] / [QSupply(OLD) + QSupply(NEW)]] *2] over [[Price(NEW) - Price(OLD)] / [Price(OLD) + Price(NEW)]] *2]

or



_________

AIED = [[QDemand(NEW) - QDemand(OLD)] / [QDemand(OLD) + QDemand(NEW)]] *2] over [[Income(NEW) - Income(OLD)] / [Income(OLD) + Income(NEW)]] *2]

AXED = [[QDemand(NEW) - QDemand(OLD)] / [QDemand(OLD) + QDemand(NEW)]] *2] over [[Price(NEW) - Price(OLD)] / [Price(OLD) + Price(NEW)]] *2]


Don't worry, it all looks scary and enormous just because I'm typing on my laptop and obviously I cannot use fractions - it would look much clearer and very nice!
If you want, I can explain it to you at school at any time, just ask (:

Source:
About: Economics

Further reading:
Wikipedia

3/02/2009

Secondary socialisation in education

Explain how education is an agent of secondary socialisation

First of all, what is a socialisation process? The term socialization is used by sociologists, social psychologists and educationalists to refer to the process of learning one’s culture and how to live within it. For the individual it provides the skills and habits necessary for acting and participating within their society. For the society, inducting all individual members into its moral norms, attitudes, values, motives, social roles, language and symbols is the ‘means by which social and cultural continuity are attained’
There are two types of socialisation: primary and secondary. Primary education is usually a process conducted by parents of a child in order to show what values and actions are appropriate for individuals.
Secondary specialisation is the process of teaching a child norms, values, social accepted behaviour and social limitations and barriers. Children learn all these from their friends, mass media, teachers at school and many other sources outside a family.
But wait, at schools children are taught to use basic skills and to apply knowledge in a range of different subjects, officially it is not such a big part of secondary socialisation. However, sociologists see two types of curriculum at schools and colleges: formal and hidden. The formal curriculum is an amount of knowldge a student should learn about the subjects he or she is studying, while the hidden curriculum is the messages schools transmit to pupils without directly teaching them or spelling them out. It consists of ideas, beliefs, norms and values which are often taken for granted and transmitted as part of the normal routines and procedures of school life. It includes the unwritten and often unstated rules and regulations which guide and direct everyday school behaviour.
So, as it can be seen from the given definition, the hidden curriculum completely accomplishes the task of the secondary socialisation. However, some may argue that some schools (state schools in low-income regions, for example), fail to provide this to their students.

Sources:
Wikipedia
Sociology in focus textbook.

Further reading:
Differences between norms and values
Hidden Curriculum

Sociology hw

Assess the benefits and limitations of the 'new vocationalism'

New vocalionalism, also known as vocational education/training, is an educational process relevant to a particular job or career, usually non-academical and and based on practical activities. This kind of education is also called technical. Up until the end of the twentieth century, vocational education focused on specific trades such as for example, an automobile mechanic or welder, and was therefore associated with the activities of lower social classes. (source)
Many people argue whether new vocationalism is a legitimate response to the needs of a modern economy or it is an attempt to recreate a compliant working class.
Theorists in vocational training have emphasized that its aim is to improve the worker's general culture as well as to further his or her technical training. That policy is evident in the academic requirements of public vocational schools and in the work of public continuation and evening schools. Various academic courses are provided so that workers who have not completed the public school requirements may do so while engaged in regular jobs. In some localities attendance at continuation schools is compulsory for those who are of school age. While continuation and evening schools are often primarily vocational, they frequently include general courses that attract older workers. (source)
Despite all this, it may mean that people, who are involved in new vocationalism education, may become docile and accept low wages, bad working conditions and, in fact, being exploited. That's why the majority prefers usual education and a degree achievemnt, as they think that vocational education is for those, who are not bright enough to use their brains and are able only for hard production work.
Children from working class families or low-income families are more likely to have such an education simply because their parents have it. They see it as an obvious solution, as these colleges are not as expensive as universities and give them opportunity to start working earlier and have experience.
New vocationalism was extremely popular at the times of the industrialised society, however, changes have come. Nowadays more people doubt about the importance of new vocationalism: with technologies being developed really fast, such profeccionals are demanded less and, therefore, are paid less. However, it's too early to discuss the possibility of the disappearence of new vocationalism and for many people this type of education is the only way to avoid poverty.

Further reading: How Global Market Forces Drive the New Vocationalism

Is the IB Diploma Programme a realistic alternative to A levels?

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is an educational programme for students 15-17 years old, which now is competing with Advanced levels (or A-levels for short) for the popularity. As well as an A-level course, the IB Programme is a two-year course and its results are also accepted by universities as ‘an entrance ticket’, as the IB is a recognised pre-university programme. Nowadays the Programme is becoming more and more popular all over the world, and, for example, in 2007 the number of schools in the UK, which offer the IB programme, had doubled since 2004. Some people see it as much more challenging programme for gifted and bright students as opposed to A-levels, which become easier and easier each year. There are many differences between A-levels and IB programme and, in order to answer the question, first of all we should compare those courses.
The IB Programme is a two-year international programme, which is taught in more than 125 countries in three available languages: English, French and Spanish. The structure of the course completely differs from A-level’s one and it is more expanded and, I would say, it is a multi-area course whether a student wants it or not. A student is supposed to pick a subject from each of six areas of the educational programme such as two languages, social studies sphere, experimental studies, mathematics and arts. Each area gives a student an opportunity to pick a subject, however, no subject area can be ignored or replaced by a subject from another group (the only exception is the arts area, which can be replaced by another language or a science or a social study). Three of the picked subjects are studied at a high level (210 teaching hours), the other three are studied at a standard level (150 teaching hours). In addition to six subjects, an IB student is required to complete a four-thousand-word extended essay, take the Theory of Knowledge course and complete one hundred fifty hours of work in CAS (Creativity Action Service). If a student ignores one of those, he will not get the IB diploma. CAS is one of the most interesting features of the IB programme – it is an extracurricular aspect, which requires a student to participate in sports, show his or her creativity and do some community work. Theory of Knowledge course can be described as a critical thinking course for IB students and it takes 100 teaching hours. Extended essay can be written in any subject that a student studies and any topic can be picked if it is approved by a student’s essay supervisor. The IB programme is a successful programme, maybe it is the main reason why its analogies like the European Baccalaureate, the French Baccalaureate and the Welsh Baccalaureate have already appeared. The UK government is now thinking of introducing the British Baccalaureate based on the IB programme.
A-level programme is also a pre-university programme, however, it is taught mainly in the UK and Commonwealth countries and British Overseas Territories and some international schools all over the world, which makes it as widespread as International Baccalaureate. As we all know, A-level is also a two-year educational programme and has its pros and cons as well as an IB programme. The first year of A-level programme is called Lower Six (AS level) and the second year is Upper Six (A2 level). A-levels are usually taught in the so called Six Form Colleges and International Schools and Academies. At A-level (which is Years 12 and 13 at school) a student is able to choose any subjects he wants to study (however, he should take in account whether his or her school offer it) and study them for two years on advanced level. A student is able to drop one or two of his subjects on the second year. Usually students take 4-5 subjects at AS level and keep 3-4 subjects at A2 level. The results of A-levels are recognised by the all universities in the UK and other countries. The analogy of A-level is the American Advanced Placements.
It is obvious that each programme has its strong and weak points. The IB offers a bigger range of subjects and a student will probably have knowledge in all the areas of his study, which will help him with his future studies and life, however, it is difficult to concentrate on one or two subjects that you are really interested in. Also, on the IB programme some people will have to deal with subjects they cannot understand (for example, a student is really bad at sciences but has to pick biology or chemistry), it will distract from other studies and take extra time to understand. In this case, A-levels leave all the decisions up to a student, which means that he or she can either fully concentrate on a particular area of studies or pick some other subjects to develop knowledge in different areas. On the other hand, A-level finishes only with 3-4 subjects that student knows and no extra skills, while studying the IB programme means developing a set of skills and participating in activities, which is a helpful experience for any person’s life and study.
In terms of the University and College Admission System (UCAS), studying the IB is more effective than studying A-levels. For example, gaining three grades A on A-level subjects gives 360 UCAS points, while score 30 out of 45 on the IB is 419 UCAS points. Many IB students are predicted to obtain 40-45 points, which is 650-770 UCAS points (5-6 grades A on A-levels), which makes them more competitive when it comes to university applications. Pretty unfair, isn’t it? Many people argue that A-level knowledge is much deeper than the IB High level knowledge, while others are talking about grade inflation, too low passing rates for A-levels and that the A-level curriculum is becoming easier each year.
So, is the IB a realistic alternative to A-levels? It definitely is. It has many advantages and encourages personal knowledge development in all spheres as well as social and sport activities, from all of which a student only benefits. A-levels have strong points as well, but no doubt that soon the IB will be even more popular around the world as it opens the doors to the best universities.