Posted: February 19th, 2023
Choose one of the following options for your Post:
Option #1: Art & Writing
After reading Heineman’s interview with “Chris Melissinos,” Kirschenbaum’s chapter, “Word Processing as a Literary Subject,” and Pequeño Glazier’s chapter, “Jumping to Occlusions,” in the Required Learning Materials, please do the following:
Option #2: Digital Music
After reading Prior’s article “Beyond Napster” and Heap’s commentary “Blockchain Could Help Musicians Make Money Again,” please do the following:
Option #3: Digital Humanities
After reading Terras’ chapter, “Digitization and digital resources in the Humanities,” please do the following:
This week, the text readings include a discussion of inflation. While you are already familiar with the basics of inflation, do read the text with care, as it gives you useful fuller detail on the relationships between money supply, monetary policy, and inflation.
But at the moment, the world isn’t facing any meaningful inflationary pressure. But there are numerous signs of potential deflation. And that has several central banks nervous.
However, we rarely discuss deflation in economics courses. The last time it happened in the US was during the Great Depression. Japan dealt with deflation during the 1990s and off and on since then. China has come close, but central bank actions seem to have prevented it. And now the Euro Zone is facing possible deflation to which the European Central Bank has finally started to respond.
This week, explore the causes of deflation, why it is considered to have negative consequences for an economy, and how it can be prevented or stopped once started. Is there a linkage between inflation and deflation?
Do respond to all of these parts so as to provide a complete picture.
Following are some recent articles from The Economist, which should be helpful. You will, of course, want to do additional research.
The Dangers of Deflation
The Euro Zone Slides Towards Deflation
Saylor URL: http://www.saylor.org/books Saylor.org 1
This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as
requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.
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Preface We have written a fundamentally different text for principles of economics, based on two premises:
1. Students are motivated to study economics if they see that it relates to their own lives. 2. Students learn best from an inductive approach, in which they are first confronted with
a question and then led through the process of how to answer that question.
The intended audience of the textbook is first-year undergraduates taking courses on the principles of macroeconomics and microeconomics. Many may never take another economics course. We aim to increase their economic literacy both by developing their aptitude for economic thinking and by presenting key insights about economics that every educated individual should know.
Applications ahead of Theory
We present all the theory that is standard in books on the principles of economics. But by beginning with applications, we also show students why this theory is needed. We take the kind of material that other authors put in “applications boxes” and place it at the heart of our book. Each chapter is built around a particular business or policy application, such as (for microeconomics) minimum wages, stock exchanges, and auctions, and (for macroeconomics) social security, globalization, and the wealth and poverty of nations. Why take this approach? Traditional courses focus too much on abstract theory relative to the interests and capabilities of the average undergraduate. Students are rarely engaged, and the formal theory is never integrated into the way students think about economic issues. We provide students with a vehicle to understand the structure of economics, andwe train them how to use this structure.
A New Organization
Traditional books are organized around theoretical constructs that mean nothing to students. Our book is organized around the use of economics. Our applications-first approach leads to a fundamental reorganization of the textbook. Students will not see chapters with titles like “Cost Functions” or “Short-Run Fluctuations.” We introduce tools and ideas as, and when, they are needed. Each chapter is designed with two goals. First, the application upon which the chapter is built provides a “hook” that gets students’ attention. Second, the application is a suitable vehicle for teaching the principles of economics.
Learning through Repetition
Important tools appear over and over again, allowing students to learn from repetition and to see how one framework can be useful in many different contexts.
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Each piece of economic theory is first introduced and explained in the context of a specific application. Most are reused in other chapters, so students see them in action on multiple occasions. As students progress through the book, they accumulate a set of techniques and ideas. These are collected separately in a “toolkit” that provides students with an easy reference and also gives them a condensed summary of economic principles for exam preparation.
A Truly International Book
International economics is not an afterthought in our book; it is integrated throughout. Many other texts pay lip service to international content. We have taught in numerous countries in Europe, North America, and Asia, and we use that expertise to write a book that deals with economics in a globalized world.
Rigor without Fear
We hold ourselves to high standards of rigor yet use mathematical argument only when it is truly necessary. We believe students are capable of grasping rigorous argument, and indeed are often confused by loose argumentation. But rigor need not mean high mathematical difficulty. Many students—even very bright ones—switch off when they see a lot of mathematics. Our book is more rigorous yet less overtly mathematical than most others in the market. We also include a math/stat toolkit to help students understand the key mathematical tools they do need.
A Textbook for the 21st Century
We introduce students to accessible versions of dynamic decision-making, choice under uncertainty, and market power from the beginning. Students are aware that they live in an uncertain world, and their choices are made in a forward-looking manner. Yet traditional texts emphasize static choices in a world of certainty. Students are also aware that firms typically set prices and that most firms sell products that are differentiated from those of their competitors. Traditional texts base most of their analysis on competitive markets. Students end up thinking that economic theory is unrealistic and unrelated to the real world. We do not shy away from dynamics and uncertainty, but instead introduce students to the tools of discounted present value and decision-making under uncertainty. We also place relatively more emphasis on imperfect competition and price-setting behavior, and then explain why the competitive model is relevant even when markets are not truly competitive. We give more prominence than other texts to topics such as basic game theory, statistics, auctions, and asset prices. Far from being too difficult for principles students, such ideas are in fact more intuitive, relevant, and easier to understand than many traditional topics.
Saylor URL: http://www.saylor.org/books Saylor.org 4
At the same time, we downplay some material that is traditionally included in principles textbooks but that can seem confusing or irrelevant to students. We discuss imperfect competition in terms of market power and strategic behavior, and say little about the confusing taxonomy of market structure. We present a simplified treatment of costs that— instead of giving excruciating detail about different cost definitions—explains which costs matter for which decisions, and why.
A Non-Ideological Book
We emphasize the economics that most economists agree upon, minimizing debates and schools of thought. There is probably less ideological debate today among economists than there has been for almost four decades. Textbooks have not caught up. We do not avoid all controversy, but we avoid taking sides. We choose and present our material so that instructors will have all the tools and resources they need to discuss controversial issues in the manner they choose. Where appropriate, we explain why economists sometimes disagree on questions of policy. Most key economic ideas—both microeconomic and macroeconomic—can be understood using basic tools of markets, accounting identities, and budget sets. These are simpler for students to understand, are less controversial within the profession, and do not require allegiance to a particular school of thought.
A Single Voice
The book is a truly collaborative venture. Very often, coauthored textbooks have one author for microeconomics and another for macroeconomics. Both of us have researched and taught both microeconomic and macroeconomic topics, and we have worked together on all aspects of the book. This means that students who study both microeconomics and macroeconomics from our book will benefit from a completely integrated and consistent approach to economics.
Saylor URL: http://www.saylor.org/books Saylor.org 5
Chapter 1 What Is Economics?
You are just beginning your study of economics, but let us fast-forward to the end of your first economics course. How will your study of economics affect the way you see the world? The final exam is over. You are sitting at a restaurant table, waiting for your friends to arrive. The place is busy and loud as usual. Looking around, you see small groups of people sitting and talking animatedly. Most of the customers are young; this is not somewhere you
Option #1: Art & Writing
Technological developments have brought significant changes in the ways art and writing are created and understood. One way is through the democratization of access to tools and platforms, enabling anyone to create and distribute their work through digital means. As Heineman notes in his interview with Chris Melissinos, “with the proliferation of cheap and accessible tools for content creation and dissemination, everyone is now a potential creator and publisher” (Heineman). This has led to the emergence of new forms of digital art, such as interactive installations and video games, that challenge traditional boundaries between art and technology.
Another way technological developments have changed our understanding of art and writing is by blurring the lines between human and machine authorship. As Kirschenbaum argues in “Word Processing as a Literary Subject,” word processing software “has become an intermediary between the writer and the text, both a tool for the production of text and a potential collaborator in the creation of meaning” (Kirschenbaum). This has given rise to new forms of literature, such as hypertext fiction, that foreground the role of software in shaping the reading experience.
While digital technology has brought many benefits to the arts and writing, it has also led to concerns about the loss of traditional craft and authenticity. As Pequeño Glazier notes in “Jumping to Occlusions,” some artists and writers are resisting digital technology by “re-emphasizing the materiality of language and the book” (Glazier). By returning to print-based forms and handmade books, these artists are highlighting the physicality of the book as an object and challenging the idea that all forms of writing can be easily reproduced and disseminated through digital means.
This resistance to digital technology reflects an unintended consequence of the use of digital technology in the arts and writing: the potential loss of materiality and uniqueness that comes with traditional forms of craft. As Glazier argues, “Digital texts can be replicated infinitely, but the book as object cannot” (Glazier). By resisting digital technology, these artists are highlighting the value of the book as a physical object that is unique and unrepeatable.
In my view, social constructivism plays a stronger role than technological determinism in shaping how digital technologies shape the arts. While technological developments can certainly enable new forms of creation and distribution, it is ultimately artists and writers who decide how to use these technologies and what values to prioritize in their work.
Glazier, Pequeño. “Jumping to Occlusions.” Electronic Book Review, 17 Oct. 2011, electronicbookreview.com/essay/jumping-occlusions.
Heineman, Jesse. “Chris Melissinos.” Interview b
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