Greg's Public Views

A lovely little site that shows the random opinions of one (1) Greg Lastname. Bias and a political bend is free of charge, so enjoy.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Reflections: Kinda like a cheesy album title, but a blog.

This summer's Blog experience has been a good one, all the way through. I've learned in a way that tailors to my interests, what with using the internet to its fullest extent and writing about things that I am interested in. I would write about things like snowboarding, soccer, filmaking, eating, sleeping... whatever I wished, as long as I related it to economics. After doing this for a while, I started to realize that I was learning much faster than I would have normally by reading a boring (sorry, they almost always are) textbook. Not only could I write about things that I like and post them, but others could view those posts, as could I theirs, and consequently learn from their experiences and interests as well. We would get a lot done in class, which seemed to fly by at a rate I wish classes during the school year could, and then we found ourselves working on our blogs at home, as well- we felt they weren't finished. We cared that they weren't done because it was something we enjoyed writing about, and therefore thought it less like work, and more like enjoyment.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I have no job right now. I am unemployed- that is, if you exclude washing the dishes and putting my clothes away. The wage rate hardly affects me, but affects so many others so very much. Until the minimum wage law is changed, millions of people across the country will struggle to get by. A higher wage is a derived demand - the demand of a higher wage spurred by the demand for life's simple necessities. While myself and most around me can get by comfortably, those who can't must survive off of an incredibly low minimum wage, which makes surviving almost impossible to grasp.

Until just recently, I had never been into a wal-mart store. I'd seen all sorts of joke ads that mock anti-wal-mart ads, the real ads, and wal mart ads themselves, all of which dealiing with their low prices. I didn't think it could be that different, but soon learned that this natural monopoly acted as a barrier to entry to other companies, ones smaller and less able to produce such low prices. It seems to have created a monopolistic market, since so few small companies can survive in competition with this massive corporation Now, I'm not well researched on the topic- I'm basically on an e-soapbox- but it seems that (if there isn't already) some sort of antitrust law should be passed to help support the smaller businesses. of course, people in medium to low-income families (who the price changes would affect most) would not support such a law, because this would cause an increase in prices. Because wal-mart is a price-searcher, and could easily raise its pricees, it's obvious why it would keep the prices low, as it is its claim to success.

I enjoyed the low prices during my stay, but realized that I simultaneously hurting every business that competes (and has a hard time doing so) against wal-mart.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Who likes Dunkin' Donuts? I think anyone who has had their "coolata" (vanilla bean, by far the best) can easily say that there is no better and more refreshing drink out there, and for only about $4 after tax for a medium (about 16oz.)! So, why not jump on the obviously succeeding franchise (It's hard to go anywhere without spotting one of these wonderful shops) and become a Dunkin' Donuts franchisee? I contemplated this issue, a very appealing issue it is, and realized that supporting one of the many franchisers in the country (or in the world, for that matter) would only hurt the local shops, partnerships, sole proprietorships and "mom 'n' pop" stores that need as much help as they can get. I am a large supporter of local commerce, but often find myself buying the products of the larger conglomerate companies, whose board of directors make more in a day than most local shops make in a year (that is a hyperbole, do not quote me on that fact). Surely becoming a stockholder can't be all that bad, seeing as how you could still support the locals while making more money from the increasing stock price to support the local scene! Doubtful, but optimistic, for sure.

Ride Snowboards, a company owned by the K2 Ski and Snowboard Corporation, has recently introduced a new attribute to their "comfort series" snowboards, the slimewall. The new product, in my opinion, should help increase the already high sales for this business firm because its main function is to increase safety and enjoyment during your ride. The slimewall, which first debuted last year on the DFC edition of the DH snowbaord, is actually a polyurethane sidewall (polyurethane is now used on most skateboard wheels for the same reason, dampening and comfort) that enables the edges to better absorb the shock of rails, lessening the chance of killing yourself (unintenionally, that is). I, myself am a fan of almost all of Ride's products, and believe that the slimewall will soon become one of the company's many assets. Because I can't save money worth... well, money - I do not have enough money to buy a new board with the slimewall feature, but will soon try it, or so I hope...

Monday, August 07, 2006

Snowboarding and the Economics Intertwined

Just recently, SNOWBOARDER MAGAZINE published their annual Buyers' Guide. I looked through the pages, realizing that boards over the years have increased in price about $80 dollars, which is almost crippling to the average consumer, like myself. This INELASTIC SUPPLY displayed neither a SHORTAGE, nor a SURPLUS in SUPPLY, but simply an increase in price. The quantity supplied remained the same while the quantity demanded increased. In my opinion, which is shared by most snowboard consumers, a supply curve would show an inverse relationship, showing that the higher the price, the less likely someone is going to purchase the product, therefore making snowboards a neutral good. Because most snowboarder's wages aren't all that high, it makes sense for a company to lessen its prices, to help spur sales, but for whatever reason, this fantastic concept does not seem to want to happen.

Another point to be made, is that due to the increase in people snowboarding, the companies may have chosen to increase supply in order to make more money as price increases (law of supply).

A complement product, snowboard bindings, show an inelastic demand. Partially due to the higher durability of bindings compared to boards, people don't buy new bindings as often as boards, thus reducing the percentage change of demand.

While this all may seem confusing jumbled together, it basically states this: Snowboards have increased in price, while the population of snowboarders have also. People want to pay the same amount for snowboards, which will therefore benefit the companies who keep prices low.

How Macs dominate the world

I recently purchased a macbook pro, the new and wonderful laptop from Apple. My wallet argued with me for days, and I couldn't figure out whether or not I should pay so much extra (almost twice as much as a seemingly equal product in quality) for a computer that, to a PC man like me, couldn't possibly be that much better. I had talked to many people in the film and advertising MARKET (basically people who work with TV, film, advertising... etc.) and learned from all that the Mac was the industry standard without a doubt. The mac industry has finaly reached EQUILIBRIUM over the years, and seems to have the ability to stay that way. The EQUILIBRIUM PRICE being from $2000 to $3000 dollars (for macbooks, not other mac line computers). What had me confused was why the DEMAND was so high, while the price was also so high! The mac proves to be a NEUTRAL GOOD, as people who don't have lots of money to spare will save to get this product, because it is far superior to others in the field. Certain things that people mentioned that were added bonuses of macs that PCs can't say they have:

- Ease of use
The interlaced programs allow for a much more seamless workflow, everything works with everything.

- Speed
With Macs, the same amount of RAM (basically the thing that effects the quickness of the computer) is said to have twice the amount of efficiency as in a PC. This helps make the mac have basically no SUBSTITUTE products.

- Universiality
More and more colleges are becoming mac based, due to their incredible benefits. As more colleges become mac based, macs will therefore become more sensible to own in college.

- Reliability
Since macs can only get viruses if Internet Explorer is used (this is where I may be wrong), the chance of it crashing are reduced greatly, which makes for less time virus scanning and more time working.

(note: this is not to say that all PC's don't have speed, reliability and universiality, but that macs have superior attributes in those fields.)

I did end up buying the computer, and fell in love. This lovely piece of equipment outshot all of my expectations and then some. I learned that in the professional world, PC's are INFERIOR GOODS, because people that have enough money for a mac will buy one, instead of a PC. I thought there was nothing that could surprise me until I went to a film and photography college campus. Immediately after I arrived, I noticed that almost every person had a Mac. this caused me to further contemplate the effects of the LAW OF DEMAND. I figured before that almost no one would pay so much for a computer, even thuogh so many already seemed to have done just that. More and more, I began to realize that because these computers were so superior to their competitors, and therefore the demand is high, people will continue to pay almost double for something that produces a product easily triple in quality.