You are browsing the archive for 2014 June 26.

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Nope, Money Ain’t It

June 26, 2014 in Economics

By Per Bylund

gold money

It is funny, really, how so many can be so fundamentally in agreement about the worthlessness of a science based on a widespread and complete misunderstanding of what it is about. Who hasn’t heard that economics is all about money? Yet, of course, it isn’t. If economics is about anything, it is about the effects and implications of value. Or, more accurately, the actions that are taken by individuals aiming to achieve something they deem of comparatively higher value. It is important to recognize that

…value is distinct from money and can be studied completely without involving money. In fact, it can often be easier to completely exclude money and instead talk about wants, preferences, or even “utility” to make it clear what is analyzed. And value is a subjective appreciation of something, which necessarily has a tacit component and therefore cannot fully be communicated to others. We can use all sorts of proxies or estimates, but they will never correctly “measure” the value as it is seen or felt by the individual him- or herself. This is not simply because people change their minds and preferences all the time, but because value is fundamentally immeasurable – there is no value unit that can be used to accurately measure the satisfaction felt by the individual achieving it.

Read more in my EconReason post It’s Not About the Money.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Replace Striking Teachers with Babysitters

June 26, 2014 in Economics

By David Howden

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With British Columbia’s 41,000 unionized public school teachers still on strike, parents are scrambling for solutions. What is one of the more popular ones right now? Teenage babysitters.

It’s more than a little ironic that the province’s teachers strike has freed up the labor necessary to replace the out-of-work teachers.

“I thought that I could just help parents out and maybe start making some money during the strike,” said Amanda, who graduated from Vancouver’s Kerrisdale Elementary School this week.

“Right away, I got, like, four or five phone calls,” she said. In fact, business has been so good that she’s had to turn down requests.

“Business has been very busy but then I have my life that I have, too,” she said. “I’ve had to turn down some, but I still have many options because the parents are still working during the strike.”

On the first day of rotating strikes in May, about a dozen kids attended the Hendersons’ Strike Camp. In recent days, the attendance doubled.

“We got so many e-mails from panicked parents saying, ‘My child is so low-maintenance; can you please just let them in?’” said Adrienne, 16.

The problem when public workers go on strike is that there are no options. There are too many state monopolies, so we can only turn to one fire department, policing services or school system. When they go on strike it’s costly and difficult to find an alternative (if at all).

The fact that parents are turning to teenage babysitters to cope with the strike suggests that the competition for teachers comes from an unlikely source. With many parents seeing public schooling as a glorified day care, why not cut out the middle man of the state and let the public find its own babysitters?

(Originally posted at Mises Canada.)

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE