While many people have heard of Bitcoin, far fewer understand it. In short, Bitcoin is a digital currency that allows transactions independent of the banking system. Lately, many people are buying Bitcoin purely as a financial investment, hoping it will appreciate. So which is it—currency or financial asset? Read more about it in the March 2018 issue of Page One Economics.
In this lesson, students learn the definition of gross domestic product (GDP) and the four expenditure categories of GDP. Then, they participate in a readers’ theater about castaways on an island who learn about GDP. Students record examples of items produced on the island that are examples of consumer, government, and investment spending. They recognize that, without trade, there is no net export category for the island.
As the Rolling Stones song says, "You can't always get what you want." So we make choices. Every day, governments and individuals choose how much money to spend and what to purchase. The January 2013 issue discusses opportunity costs and scarcity and how they effect our spending decisions.
It's often said that a college degree is the key to future success. Choosing to attend college is a major decision for young people. But why is a degree so important? The December 2015 issue of Page One Economics examines two economic models used to study how education, productivity, and income are related.
Students learn about McCulloch v. Maryland, a case decided in 1819 over (1) whether the state of Maryland had the right to tax the Second Bank of the United States and (2) whether Congress had violated the Constitution in establishing the Bank. Students also review the expressed powers of Congress identified in the Constitution and analyze how Congress implements the necessary and proper (elastic) clause to enact its expressed powers. Finally, students use their knowledge of McCulloch v. Maryland and the necessary and proper clause to consider the constitutionality of the Federal Reserve System.
Is international trade good for Americans? The November 2017 issue of Page One Economics provides the ins and outs of trade, including some history, the costs and benefits, and policy choices.
How are economics and the environment related? The quick answer is that environmental quality is a worthy goal, but there is an economic trade-off: a clean environment does not come without costs. The September 2014 Page One Economics article, "Economics and the Environment, "provides some economic strategies for protecting the environment.
Years ago, airline passengers enjoyed more legroom and in-flight extras—for a price. Find out in the November 2018 issue of Page One Economics how deregulation increased competition, lowered prices, and created crowded flights.
America is a nation of immigrants, who currently make up about 13 percent of the overall population. The May 2014 issue shows how immigration affects the average American. The essay weighs the costs and benefits of immigration and discusses the concept of immigrant workers as substitutes for and complements to native-born workers.
People are passionate about professional sports—they give people pride and a sense of community. And they create economic benefits for the community. But should tax dollars be used to subsidize sports stadiums? The May 2017 issue of Page One Economics describes some pros and cons.
No surprise—people with more education often earn higher incomes and are unemployed less than those with less education. Those with higher incomes also tend to accumulate more wealth. Why? Research shows that well-educated people tend to make financial decisions that help build wealth. Their strategies, though, can be used by anyone.
Oil prices affect the U.S. economy in many ways. For example, fluctuations in the price of oil can influence inflation, unemployment, and disposable income. Some local economies with close ties to the oil industry, however, are affected even more directly in both positive and negative ways. The May 2015 issue covers one recent example of the local impact of oil prices.
How are the money supply and inflation related? And what does the Federal Reserve have to do with this relationship? Episode 1 of the Feducation video series reviews the functions of money, features an interactive auction that demonstrates the relationship between the money supply and inflation, then utilizes a simple equation to show how changes in the money supply affect the economy. The video also describes how the Fed uses monetary policy to achieve its dual mandate of maximum employment and price stability.
Students learn that money is a medium of exchange that facilitates economic activity. Next, students learn the relationship between the money supply and inflation by participating in an inflation auction using gold and silver notes to better understand the historic debate of the Free Silver Movement. Students then read William Jennings Bryan's "Cross of Gold" speech to relate the historical context. The students use historical data to calculate income, fixed expenses, and variable expenses of a farmer to further understand the historical argument presented by the Free Silver Movement. Finally, students analyze two political cartoons against the Free Silver Movement. This lesson includes primary source documents obtained from FRASER¨.
How is the total value of all the goods and services produced in a country's economy measured? Gross domestic product (GDP) is one common and fairly comprehensive measure. The May 2013 issue explains GDP components and how GDP is calculated. It also describes what GDP does—and does not—measure.
All inflation isn't bad—a moderate amount can signal a healthy economy. But high inflation, such as that during the Great Inflation, can lead to a vicious cycle where expectations of higher inflation lead to further increases in the price level. Read the October 2012 issue to find out what caused the Great Inflation, how tough (and painful) policy brought it to an end, and two key lessons learned.
Drivers may wonder whether the most recent spike in gasoline prices is temporary or will be longer lasting. Will prices eventually decline—maybe even to below $3 per gallon? Or is it time for drivers to alter their driving habits, maybe by buying a hybrid car? Be sure to read the September 2012 issue for a discussion of factors that might influence that decision.
GDP is a useful measure of the health of the economy, and it’s among the most important and widely reported economic data. However, the current “textbook treatment” of how international trade is measured as part of GDP can lead people to misunderstand the role trade plays in the economy. The September 2018 issue of Page One Economics intends to correct misconceptions and provide clear instruction on how imports affect GDP.
As Adam Smith said, everyone lives by exchanging. They exchange—buy and sell—to make themselves better off. Does the same principle apply to international trade? Do nations benefit from importing and exporting? The November 2016 issue of Page One Economics explains the basics of international trade and its importance to the economy.
"Human capital" may not be the first thing that comes to mind when we think about investments, but investing in education and training is an important economic decision. Learn about human capital and the return on such an investment in the February 2013 issue.