All Posts in “Economics”

5 Economics Lessons You Learn Traveling

Real vs. Nominal Prices

Any trip to the developing world will introduce you to ridiculous nominal prices. I will never forget going out for dinner with friends our first night in Ho Chi Minh City and racking up a bill of 1,000,000 Vietnamese Dong. Traveling out of your country, exchanging money, and interacting with widely different nominal prices is the best way to learn that the amount of zero’s on your paper don’t matter, what matters is the real stuff you can buy with it.

Opportunity Cost

Most long-term travelers are funding their trips with savings. You travel to a new country or continent with a limited amount of money and time, but unlimited options of things to do. At home, with your life running on momentum, it is easy to be unaware of the choices and options that are available to us. When you travel, you are confronted with the reality that what you choose to do today will affect what you can do one month from now. You learn that the cost of any one thing is not just the price, but the other ways you could have spent the money and time.

The Value of The Entrepreneur

The difference between a developed or undeveloped country is a story about entrepreneurs and government regulations. Traveling allows you to see communities that are thriving and communities that are suffering. You get to see first hand that local economies thrive when foreign entrepreneurs can create business and employ locals who may have less skill or training. You also get to see the countries and communities that are suffering because they prevent people from doing business.

Everyone Wins From Trade

For any trade to happen, both parties need to feel they are gaining value. You have to value a burger more than the price to buy it. And the restaurant has to value to money more than the supplies to make it and sell it. When you travel you can see the impact you can have on a business. You can see how eager people are to do business with you. You can experience first hand that buying something cheaply in a different country is not harmful, but massively beneficial.Going to markets in the developing world is one of the best ways to see the win-win nature of trade. People seek you out, eager to make sales, eager to get their product into your hands. The moments where you find something you are eager to buy and a person who is eager to sell it to you, it is stuck in your head that trade is good for both parties.

The Harm of Government Regulation

Traveling quickly from one country to the next is a great way to see how bad laws negatively affect countries.

Crossing a border and seeing the price of goods drop dramatically makes you think “it’s so dumb that it is so expensive to by X in that country.” Experiencing protectionism is a great teacher. Feeling the annoyance about products that you couldn’t find, and the quality of products available at supermarkets across the border is the best way to learn the harm of protectionism. In the same way traveling from Malaysia across the border to Singapore and experiencing the dramatic change in development sparks questions in the traveler’s mind about WHY? How are these two places that are so close and so similar, so different in terms of wealth?

In the same way traveling from Malaysia across the border to Singapore and experiencing the dramatic change in development sparks questions in the traveler’s mind about WHY? How are these two places that are so close and so similar, so different in terms of wealth? You are driven to learn about what makes countries rich and poor.

Murder and Mass Imprisonment | This is What Good Government Looks Like

People in the U.S. complain about the two party system. Wall Street runs the country because there are only two parties. They say a multi-party system would be better.

People in Canada complain about the parliamentary system. The representation isn’t fair. Proportional representation would be better.

People in Europe with proportional representation are complaining about something else. Austerity, immigration. There is always something wrong. There is always something to fix, something that could be better.

I’m all for fixing things, but sometimes you just need to throw something out. Sometimes the effort and resources required to fix something don’t make sense.

There are certainly problems with the way the U.S. is governed. People look at the corruption and the absurdity of a two party system, they look at all the corporate money going to politicians, and they say well there is obviously a problem here. They compare it to the few well-functioning countries in Europe and say “we need to be more like that.”

Instead of comparing to the few best governments around the world, why don’t we compare to all governments?

There are so many things wrong with the U.S. government. Killing innocent people abroad, imprisoning millions of people at home, and cops shooting unarmed teenagers. These are things that people legitimately should be angry about, but instead of saying it is a problem with THIS government, people should realize that this is a problem with government in general.

If you look around the world at the various governments, you see that the horror of this one is pretty good in comparison. All of this corruption, immorality, and violence, and this is actually what a reasonably good government looks like. For the vast majority of people in the world, it is WAY WORSE than this.

Comparing to the broad spectrum of government makes it easier to see that all these problems were trying to fix aren’t things that have broken and can to be fixed, but rather issues that are inherent in the system. When you try to control the world you end up with corruption and chaos.

When you look at government as an experiment, you see that the result is corruption, killing, and chaos. The conclusion should be a question, what are the alternatives?

Minimum Burger Price Laws

Almost everyone under the age of thirty is jacked up about the idea of raising the minimum wage to $15/hour. Since this minimum wage idea is so popular, I propose we extend the idea. Instead of just enforcing a minimum price law for labour, why don’t we make one for hamburgers?

What do you think would happen if it was illegal to sell hamburgers for less than $15/burger?

Would there be more or fewer burgers sold in 2017 if, as of Jan. 1, restaurants and fast food chains were not allowed to sell a burger for less than $15?

It’s painfully obvious what would happen. LESS BURGERS would happen.

All those expensive fancy burger places would be okay. There might even be a few more fancy burgers sold since those were the only ones that you could get, but the total amount of burgers would go way down.

Making it illegal to work for less than $15 an hour is no different than making it illegal to sell a burger for less than $15.