Help broaden your students’ understanding of the underlying economic principals behind current events, as well as other more basic economic concepts.
FOR THE WEEK OF August 22, 2010
Article Link: "Small bit of help is a fortune," Sunday, August 22, 2010, The Denver Post, 2K
- Philanthropist: the word comes from Greek and means “one who loves humanity.” Private giving of time or money for public good, focusing on quality of human (or animal or natural environment) life.
- Scarcity: the fundamental economic problem of having unlimited human wants in a world of limited resources.
- Money: anything that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts. The main functions of money are: a medium of exchange, a unit of accounting record, and a store of value for the future.
- Reward: a payment of money or something of value in exchange for completion of a service or task.
- Need: something that is necessary for human survival.
- Charity: giving money, goods, or time to help unfortunate people meet basic survival needs.
- Need vs. want: economists do not differentiate between needs and wants because one person’s need may be another’s want. There is no clear line between needs and wants. The new Colorado Economics standards have a unit on needs and wants.
- Altruism: a motivation to help others or a desire to do good without reward. Duty focuses on a moral obligation arising out of religious, family, or ethical beliefs. Economists debate whether anyone does anything totally without regard to benefit. The cost to the individual giver is time, money or something of value.
- choice: scarcity of time or money requires a giver to make a choice regarding which cause she will support. In this article many different causes are mentioned.
- Charity vs. philanthropy: one way to separate these is to define charity as giving for short-term (emergency) needs and philanthropy is giving for long-term structural improvements. Every society needs help with both.
- Allocation: a method of a society to distribute scarce resources. Every allocation system decides 1) what will be produced, 2) how it will be produced, and 3) who gets what. People who give away their time or money have to allocate their limited resources.
Discussion:This article is part of a series written by Bruce DeBoskey on the subject of philanthropy. It discusses some of the reasons that people give and how they decide which organizations or causes to give to. Anyone (you don’t have to be a billionaire) can give away their time or money to a good cause. Coloradans give away less than the national average. Overall, Americans give more than any country in the world. If you give what you can the whole society will benefit.
Questions for discussion: Is money scarce? Do you think Bill Gates has too much money? Why do rich people give money away? Would you like to give money for human needs or wants? Should everyone have the same amount of money? Why would you like to give away your time or money?
Article Links: "A generational collision is coming," "The Generations," Sunday, August 22, 2010, The Denver Post, 1D
- Skills: the acquired ability to carry out directed results (repeatedly) with minimum supervision, time, or energy.
- Work ethic: a set of values demonstrated at work or school that make the employee (student) a valued team member. A good work ethic earns promotions, increased wages and good grades. Particularly valued are hard work, reliability, initiative, timeliness, diligence and social skills.
- Economy: describes the total production, exchange and consumption of a country’s goods and services. We can talk about the economy of a country, a region, a state or a city.
- Jobs: a regular activity performed in exchange for payment. Usually a job refers to a position held by an employee who is paid by the employer.
- Workplace: a factory or office where productive activity takes place.
- Workforce: all people who are actively engaged in jobs. This excludes owners and managers.
- Job satisfaction: a measure of how happy a person is with their job.
- Value: the usefulness of a good or service—also it’s price. Value can be objective or subjective depending on the person. People place different values on the same thing.
- Egalitarian: the belief that people should be treated as equals.
- Meritocratic: a system where responsibilities and rewards are allocated based on skills, intelligence and abilities.
- Social norms vs. market norms: social norms are informal and formal rules that a group conforms to. These norms are “customs” that coordinates our actions with others of the group. For example, you would not pay your mother for making Thanksgiving dinner but you would help her and say thank you. Market norms are used in the entire society and are based on price. Market norms allow us to buy goods and services without any concern with the other person’s thoughts or feelings. It is not wise to mix market and social norms in a relationship—employer, friend, family, or stranger. Once people interact in the realm of the marketplace it is very difficult to reposition the relationship into the realm of social norms. This article suggests that managers should use both a market contract and a social contract to attract and retain the Millennial employee. This combination will motivate them more than just a market contract (norm).
- Human capital: skills and abilities gained by a person through education and experience—also family wisdom. It includes attitudes such as persistence that make a person a good worker—productive. In this article there is a conflict between the generations over what constitutes human capital. Millennials do not value titles, degrees or years of experience. Older generations value these elements of human capital.
Discussion: This article describes the problems in the workplace arising out of a conflict between generations. Each generation has its own unique experience and world view than will affect how work is performed. The author is trying to give the older generation insights into the Millennial generation’s motivation and incentives. Everyone wants an enjoyable workplace with job satisfaction. However, the generational differences will create misunderstandings on both sides. Younger workers can learn from this article about how to succeed at school or on the job.
Questions for discussion: Do you agree with the author’s definition of the Millennial generation? Have you ever experienced conflict with parents or teachers because of the different generation’s viewpoints? Describe your ideal work situation. Do your parents ever get too involved in your life when they are just trying to help?
Handy Dandy Guide
6 core economic Principals
Colorado Model Content Standards for Economics
Economics is written by Dennis Grogran, Program
Director, Colorado Council for Economic Education. For information about
CCEE's other programs, call 303-752-2323 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.