Humans, the Economy and a Whole Lot of Inquiring

From Multi-billion dollar corporations to your neighbour’s garage sale, the Earth’s economy is all around us. From the chair you sit in, the energy that powers your computer, and the clothes you wear are all tethered to the web that is the global economy that runs the world as we know it.

But the questions must be begged, What even is economy? Where did it come from? Is it a good thing? Why should I care? Yep, the economy is a hot-mess but it’s ours, and there happens to be a great deal going in with it. So  grab your thinking caps and get your eyes massaged because you’re about to learn!

Just a fair warning, I won’t be delving too much into the details and numbers of economics but  rather its effects on humanity. So not so much the(in my opinion) dry history of the economy, but more so the tasty-brain food of interest!

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So what does the word “Economy” really mean? 

There are several definitions, but this one by Dictionary.com  sums up the idea pretty well.

The management of the resources of a community, country, etc.,especially with a view to its productivity.”[1]

So essentially to trade and manage the stuff you have. Be it in your family, city, area, planet, etc. and how to make more!
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Where did come from?

So where did it all begin? Where did such a HUGE system come from?

Well, it’s turns out to be a much broader question than one might think.

The economy has always been around. From the moment a humans traded a rock for a stick was the true birth of economy. Trading is where it all began.

The concept of trading a rock for a stick of course became much bigger as time progressed. Dawning civilizations from 5000 BCE to 1000 CD such as Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Persia, and Ancient China[2][3] is where the world trade really began with products such as metals, jewels, spices, and so on. As you could imagine the rare and useful products are always wanted, really the idea of supply-and-demand. The silk road, a series of routes that connected these large civilizations during 200 CE[4] was also a huge economic development, that really encouraged world trade.

This video goes pretty in-depth into the history of the silk road.

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Is it a good thing or bad?

To me, there’s a good and bad side to everything. But the economy(one that focuses on maximum profit that is) may be my only exception.

Of course one can pick and choose everything debatable wrong/right with the economy but I’ll be talking about two things in general. So here’s number one to kick it off.

1: It’s hurting our Planet

Yep, we’re chopping down trees, digging up land, and hunting animals. All to get that wonderful money. Take a look at this video to see how harvesting oil impacts the environment.

The economy hurts the Earth but people still need to pay their bills. It doesn’t just have negative impacts on the dirt under our feet but also people too. Number two shows a reason why.

2: It encourages privilege of placement

And what do I mean by “Privilege of placement”?

In the view of economic wealth, the privilege(pretty much luck) of being born in a country that simply has more. More money, food, more advanced technology, more education, and of course more excess.

excess-sugar-intake

It’s quite stunning. In terms of excess, 30% of the US food, approximately 48 billion worth is simply thrown away. Every single year. Don’t think Canada is any better either. On average, A single family living in Toronto waste about 275 kg(606 lbs) of food annually. While the US average is only about 215 kg(474 lbs) annually[5].

If I were a starving individual in an undeveloped country I wouldn’t dream of throwing away 600 pounds worth of food. Though every little bit of food you and I don’t eat isn’t helping improve any statistics.

Amazingly, with all this excess there’s still starvation in Canada. All thanks to your friendly neighbourhood economy.

Of course the economy also gives the world the opportunity to mass produce things like phones, computers, and other technologies. These technologies in turn make the world a smaller place by being able to talk people across the planet within milliseconds by the use of phones and the internet. And also makes things like travel a heck of a lot easier with cars, planes, and of course segways being able to transport people and goods in no time at all.

Unfortunately there is a cost to this technology. Take coltan for instance.

Coltan(short for columbite-tantalite) is an alloy used in a myriad of devices from laptops to jet engines. This alloy is found almost exclusively in the country of Republic of the Congo. In short, people in the Congo need money. Coltan is worth a lot of money. People in the Congo fight for the land Coltan is located. Like war fight[6]. Similar to blood diamonds in Africa. Blood was shed to get this stuff to make your phones and laptops.

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Why Should I care?

Of course morally this is an issue, people are dying for the things you use to watch YouTube on. Also the only home we have is consideration too, planet Earth that is. Oh and the corporations with all the money control 90% of what we watch, read, and listen to[7] . But really, as a person reading text behind a screen what does it matter?

Even as the author of this post I don’t even care about this economics stuff much myself.

Yep. You know why? Things change. The worse things are the faster things change. Not too long ago most of the world didn’t consider women equal. North America didn’t treat black people equal. There was a time when Germany and Russia slaughtered millions of people.

So you truly don’t need to care. Do what you believe is right. Things change. Change is good!

A man by the name of Paul Hawken has observed what he calls the “unnamed revolution”. This movement is a global scale social, political, and environmental movement that is going on as we speak! The video below goes into more detail about this subject.

So you can embrace, ignore, or deny what’s happening around us but change is always going on. However this “unnamed revolution looks like a pretty good thing to me!

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To sum up

The economy is quite the system. It’s as old as you could imagine but it still hold many flaws. The economy has so much and so little to give for those who maintain it and is more a little awkward to handle. However humans are nothing if not persistent. Well learn to streamline the economy in a way that both benefits people and the planet it runs on. Indeed, the economy is a hot-mess but it’s ours. And there happens to be a great deal going on with it.

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The After-Party

Welcome! So what did ya think of this here blog? I invite you to stay and chat. Chips and pop are in the corner if you’d like some and the bathroom is down the hall. If you’re staying I’ve got some interesting questions for you while you’re here. I’ve got about  three paragraphs worth of unused stuff. So you know I‘ll have be meaty questions to talk about. No need to answer them all either(or any of them for that matter). Aint no body got time for that! So without further ado, what in the name of all that is arguably good do you think?

First world countries such as Canada, US,  Australia,  Japan, and UK  are very well developed . Do they deserve it? As stated previously, there is still starvation in these countries. Should children be the ones starving just because their families can’t afford it? Should honest adults also starve simply because they can’t afford food?

Not interested? Try these questions.

Do you think this economic system will last? Do you think mankind will deplete all the fossil fuels that power our cars and factories until it runs out? Why or why not?

Who do you believe runs the economy? Is it you the consumer, the investors and entrepreneurs or the governments of the world? Is it all three, one or two or something else? Do you think they share equal roles? How much do you think morals affect one(or more) of these groups economic decisions?

Could the creation of a global economy have ever been avoided? Why do you think so? Could humans thrive in technological advances without an economy?

Do you care about the economy? Put your self in the shoes of someone working in a sweatshop or forced into child labour. If given the choice, would you still like to be underpaid and overworked in horrible conditions to keep the global economy going?

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Final Remarks

So thanks for reading. Whether you were forced to read or you’re just a passerby I hope it gave you a full serving of brain food and new perspectives to consider. If you’re still hungry I also recommend checking out our learning community on my classroom’s website. It loaded with blogs that have fresh opinions and new ideas that’ll really get your brain thinking. Click a name and find out! I’ll leave this fine quote from a fellow named Adam Smith to let you know one way I think the economy could be changed. I’ll leave it up to you to ask me how I feel about the rest!

Adam Smith

Smith, Adam, and Knud Haakonssen. The Theory Of Moral Sentiments. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Print.

References

[1] Dictionary.com,. ‘The Definition Of Economy’. N.p., 2015. Web. 22 May 2015.

[2] Highered.mheducation.com,. ‘Beginnings And Early Civilizations (10,000–1000 BCE)’. N.p., 2015. Web. 21 May 2015.

[3] Deering, Mary. ‘Persian Empire: History, Culture & Timeline | Study.Com’. Study.com. N.p., 2015. Web. 21 May 2015.

[4] Travelchinaguide.com,. ‘History Of China Silk Road: Development, Significance, Travelers’. N.p., 2015. Web. 21 May 2015.

[5] David Suzuki Foundation,. ‘Help End Food Waste’. N.p., 2015. Web. 25 May 2015.

[6] Cox, Stan. ‘War, Murder, Rape… All For Your Cell Phone’. Alternet. N.p., 2006. Web. 27 May 2015.

[7] Lutz, Ashley. ‘These 6 Corporations Control 90% Of The Media In America’. Business Insider. N.p., 2012. Web. 28 May 2015. 

Images

Chalkboard Economy. 2015. Web. 28 May 2015.

Question Mark. 2015. Web. 28 May 2015.

Lots Of Food. 2015. Web. 28 May 2015.

Coltan Rock. 2015. Web. 28 May 2015.

The Spectator,. Feigning Surprise At A Surprise Party. 2015. Web. 28 May 2015.

7 thoughts on “Humans, the Economy and a Whole Lot of Inquiring

  1. Well-written post! I would like to say that your post is one of the few that really grabbed my attention with the beginning paragraph/lead. This topic is a very interesting one, there is a lot of information on it, and is a bit difficult to understand but you did a good job at condensing it all. I would advise you to change your theme or change your text colour to black because it was a little hard to read. Now, to answer your questions:

    First world countries such as Canada, US, Australia, Japan, and UK are very well developed . Do they deserve it? As stated previously, there is still starvation in these countries. Should children be the ones starving just because their families can’t afford it? Should honest adults also starve simply because they can’t afford food?
    Those countries are very developed and considered “first world” countries because of the resources they have and the relationships they have with other countries that allow their economies to prosper because of things such as importing/exporting goods. Different countries have different resources and some don’t have as valuable ones. For example, oil is an extremely high-demand resource. It is hard to determine if these countries “deserve it,” but I do believe that first world countries should help third world countries by sending money or humanitarian aid in case of disaster. Ultimately, poverty is a big problem in today’s world, and it is the government’s responsibility to deal with those types of problems and find solutions.

    Do you think this economic system will last? Do you think mankind will deplete all the fossil fuels that power our cars and factories until it runs out? Why or why not?
    Truthfully, I do not know a lot about the world’s economy and how it stands. But, I can say that this system will probably last for a lot more years because it’s what we’re used to and finding a completely new system is difficult because it’s unknown how it will turn out, now what that new system could actually be, I couldn’t tell you. There are many things such as stock market crashes and recessions that negatively impact country’s economies but time will tell if there needs to be a significant change.

    Who do you believe runs the economy? Is it you the consumer, the investors and entrepreneurs or the governments of the world? Is it all three, one or two or something else? Do you think they share equal roles? How much do you think morals affect one(or more) of these groups economic decisions?
    The world is in the form of a hierarchical structure. It is foolish to believe that a citizen such as you and I have the same amount of power as the prime minister or other world leaders. Ultimately, governments lead the economy because they lead countries which impacts the world and the country itself. From what I learned, the government have to satisfy its citizens in some instances (democracy) but most governments are money hungry. For example, I believe that tobacco/smoking should be illegal, however, they continue to run because the companies that sell products like cigarettes pay the government billions of dollars annually.

    Could the creation of a global economy have ever been avoided? Why do you think so? Could humans thrive in technological advances without an economy?
    Economy is important to the world because it allows it to have some sense of stability. There are obviously positives and negatives to the economy, but I do not see any changes soon.

    Lastly, I would advise you to be a little more enthusiastic in this post, if you want people to comment and be active you should try to encourage us to include our opinion to the discussion as opposed to telling us that you don’t really care about this topic.

  2. Holy cow what a comment!

    First of all thank you for your criticism, the grayish colour of the text if the default of the theme, I’ve changed it to a darker gray. And in terms the of the “Why should I care?” section, I was trying to say in other words, you don’t need to take on the weight of the world to change it, and to quote myself: “So you truly don’t need to care. Do what you believe is right. Things change. Change is good!”. Thanks for your input, I’m always looking to improve!

    So I must ask, and this question is for anyone in addition to my previous questions: Do you care about the economy? Put your self in the shoes of someone working in a sweatshop or forced into child labour. If given the choice, would you still like to be underpaid and overworked in horrible conditions to keep the global economy going?(I’ve added this to my string of questions in my post.)

  3. Interesting post Jeremy! You brought up some valid points, but I’m interested to see your insight on what we could do to change. You conclude with saying that the economy is flawed, and don’t really go past that.
    Also, you’re missing an apostrophe in “Well learn to streamline the economy in a way that both benefits people and the planet it runs on.” 🙂
    Other then that, everything is great. Now, to answer your questions:

    First world countries such as Canada, US, Australia, Japan, and UK are very well developed . Do they deserve it? As stated previously, there is still starvation in these countries. Should children be the ones starving just because their families can’t afford it? Should honest adults also starve simply because they can’t afford food?
    A country is not a living entity, so it’s hard to tie terms such as “deserve” to them. Those countries simply have a lot of resources, connections or power. I believe that countries should focus on removing starvation and homelessness among their own citizens first before helping other countries, and more money should be spent on resolving this problem.

    Do you think this economic system will last? Do you think mankind will deplete all the fossil fuels that power our cars and factories until it runs out? Why or why not?
    I think that by the time we run out of fossil fuels we would have made enough progress as to completely switch to a renewable energy source. Or, perhaps, we could switch to a less primitive way of running our cars than pumping black junk from the ground if we discover another method of gather energy. People don’t buy as many electric cars because they’re expensive and they’re a bit uncomfortable, but if it becomes the only option I am sure everyone would adjust and be happy.

    Could the creation of a global economy have ever been avoided? Why do you think so? Could humans thrive in technological advances without an economy?
    No, economy is a fundamental part of civilization in my opinion. Without an economy, nothing would have value and no major advancement could be made. In a world where money is everything, work is an incentive. If everyone could have access to everything, we would just consider that normal and we’d remain in the cavemen era.

    Do you care about the economy? Put your self in the shoes of someone working in a sweatshop or forced into child labour. If given the choice, would you still like to be underpaid and overworked in horrible conditions to keep the global economy going?
    The economy would still work even if children forced into labor were payed more. It’s just that the companies that use sweatshops are greedy and care more about earning a few more bucks than making the living conditions better for children. The companies are the ones who have the power to remove the horrible conditions in sweatshops.

  4. No problem, I was just trying to get you to become aware of how to get more people enthusiastic about getting involved. I will now answer your final question.

    Do you care about the economy? Put yourself in the shoes of someone working in a sweatshop or forced into child labour. If given the choice, would you still like to be underpaid and overworked in horrible conditions to keep the global economy going?

    Yes, I do care about the economy. Without the economy being stable, a country could go from prospering well to being in a total disaster. I would prefer not to be underpaid, and forced to work in horrible conditions. Those are issues that need to be fixed. A total change in the way our economy works isn’t necessary. There are others ways to solve the child labour/sweatshop issues. If you want to learn more, make sure to read my blog!

  5. Very interesting blogger of the week post, Jeremy. It really changed my view of what the economy is to a more broad perspective. Some fixes you can make to the post are removing a space when you put too many spaces. Example:”So grab your thinking caps and get your eyes massaged because you’re about to learn!” Also add a comma here:”the worse things are, the faster things change.” Other than that, the post is written very well. Now onto the questions:

    1.First world countries such as Canada, US, Australia, Japan, and UK are very well developed . Do they deserve it? As stated previously, there is still starvation in these countries. Should children be the ones starving just because their families can’t afford it? Should honest adults also starve simply because they can’t afford food?

    These first world countries have developed over hundreds of years and and have had the opportunity to develop with their power, resources, and connections with other countries, etc. I don’t think that they deserve it, but they just had the opportunity that developing countries need. Also, children and adults should not be starving at all in developed countries or in any country. That is why there are welfare programs for families that cannot afford food or do not have jobs to afford it.

    2.Do you think this economic system will last? Do you think mankind will deplete all the fossil fuels that power our cars and factories until it runs out? Why or why not?

    I think it the economy will last since there is no other way to control the money/trading within countries better than what we have now. I do think that mankind will deplete all the fossil fuels within the earth eventually since they are the best power source we have. Hopefully there will be a clean renewable power source in the future that we can use.

    3.Who do you believe runs the economy? Is it you the consumer, the investors and entrepreneurs or the governments of the world? Is it all three, one or two or something else? Do you think they share equal roles? How much do you think morals affect one(or more) of these groups economic decisions?

    I think that the government runs the economy, but for the economy to work and last, it requires all parts of business, the investors, consumers, and entrepreneurs. I don’t think they share equal roles but all their roles are important, some more than others. Morals affect these groups in many ways, such as all entrepreneurs and investors are just greedy people looking for a way to make a lot of money.

    4.Could the creation of a global economy have ever been avoided? Why do you think so? Could humans thrive in technological advances without an economy?

    I think that the creation of a global economy is essential for civilization to advance. It will always exist in one form or another. For technology to advance, I think it will require money to finish and without a economy is would not be possible, as the money would come from the government which would come from the consumers, and on and on and on.

  6. (Alex) Thanks for your input, I’m always looking for feedback! I’ll be sure to cook up some ideas on how to change or possibly improve the economy. I’m interested though. do you think the economy could be improved? Is there anything you think should be changed?

  7. (Mahruf) Cool, it’s great to see different perspectives on such big topic such as the economy. I’ll ask you what I asked Alex, do you think anything could be improved? Do believe the economy is a “hot-mess” like I stated in my post?

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