Sunday, 30 December 2012

2012 in the City

by Viva Avasthi

Now that we've (successfully) come to the end of another year (because the world hasn't ended), here's a useful overview of the major political and economic occurrences this year from The Week magazine.

Note that if you open the images in new tabs, you'll be able to read the text far more clearly.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Demand and Supply Analysis to solve Parking Problems?

by Karina Shooter

In many crowded cities across the world it is common for frustrated drivers to be unable to find a parking space. In fact, it has been estimated that about one third of congestion in cites is caused because drivers circle the streets in order to find an empty parking spot. This not only inconveniences the drivers themselves, but also has a big social cost - cars circling the streets produce extra fumes and pollution (which otherwise would not have been produced had a parking space been available) and it also increases the risk of accidents - a driver looking for a parking space is much less likely to notice an oncoming pedestrian or cyclist. 

In order to combat this problem, San Francisco has introduced a high-tech parking system called SFpark. The aim is to keep one parking space free per block at any one time, by using supply and demand analysis. 

Since sensors have been installed into parking bays around the city, which register when the parking bay is being used, drivers now pay flexible parking rates in accordance to how busy the parking spaces on that block are. The rates are reviewed every two months. If a block of parking spaces is particularly popular and rarely has a free parking space, rates for that block can be increased by 25 cents, whereas if a block frequently has free parking spaces, prices can be decreased by up to 50 cents in order to increase demand and reduce the number of available parking spaces until only one per block remains. 

SFpark has also made it easier for people to pay for parking, by introducing credit card machines in parking meters. In addition, people are able to check online, via text or on their smartphones whether the area which they would like to park has any available parking spaces - this may encourage people travelling to busy areas to use public transport. 

Although it is too early to conclude whether the new parking system has been effective, preliminary data suggests that three-quarters of the blocks have either hit their targets or moved closer to the overall goal of one available parking space per block. In addition, the scheme seems to be more successful on weekdays than weekends. 

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Cuts cost Growth

by James Wand

This week's Autumn Statement was possibly the bleakest outlook on the economy for more than sixty years. The economy is in an appalling state of stagnation and collapse, the foundations are failing and plans to secure its recovery are faltering at every turn. George Osborne has failed to heed the warnings from the IMF and the World Bank, and is placing ideology and addiction to public sector cuts before the necessity of supporting the weakest and most vulnerable in our society. This Urgent Statement addresses the horrifying Autumn Statement.

As we further move towards winter we must face the reality that what lies immediately ahead will be the twenty-first century version of the winter of discontent. Osborne, addicted to cuts, deeper cuts, and even deeper cuts admitted today that Plan A had failed and austerity would last until 2018 at the earliest. Average growth forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility, the IMF, EU Commission and Credit rating agencies have even suggested that such claims are unrealistic; with comparisons to the March Budget suggesting that confidence even within the inner circle of the Treasury has all but disappeared. We face a decade of decay and austerity – this is no less than a national disaster and one that we must address quickly.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Stem Cell Research: Life-Saving or Cold-Blooded Murder?

by Sparshita Dey

^Embryonic stem cells
Stem cell research may be the next scientific breakthrough. Scientists think that if we can discover how specialised cells turn off/on certain genes to give them particular functions and characteristics, we can start "growing" specific cells using stem cells from a person's body. These can be used to cure genetic diseases (which cannot be cured at the moment and can result in a lifetime of pain and discomfort, including early deaths) as well as other diseases that are not yet curable e.g. diabetes and paralysis. So surely using stem cells should get the go-ahead straight away? Then why do so many people oppose it? 

What is Stem Cell Research and what are Stem Cells?

Stem cell research is to do with the research of undifferentiated cells (i.e. cells with the ability to differentiate/specialise into any type of cell with any type of function in the body depending on where it is needed/ used). In plants, specialised cells can become unspecialised again (like stem cells) and then re-differentiate if needed. However, in animals, like humans, the stem cells differentiate very early on in the development of the organism (from just after a zygote is formed – i.e. in the embryonic stage) and this change is permanent.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Academies: The Dangerous Schools

by James Wand

michael gove, secretary of state for education, education secretary, academies
Michael Gove, the UK's Secretary of State for Education
Image courtesy of The Times
After disappointing results for thousands of students in their GCSE exams this summer, those entering secondary schools for the first time this week will be going in with more trepidation than ever before. It’s hard not to feel that the class of 2012 have been hard done by as they bear the brunt of Michael Gove’s radical reforms. Radical reforms that have resulted in schools changing from local education authority lead establishments to academies and free schools, moving away from the safety net that is local government and towards the dangerous and volatile world that is the educational free-market.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Can footballers’ wages be justified?

by Daniel Hearn

With top footballers’ wages rising massively over the last decade or so, football is the subject of debate as to whether footballers are worth the extravagant salaries they are paid. Many argue that it is not fair that footballers get paid such huge salaries for 'chasing a ball around a pitch for 90 minutes' while nurses, who are of great social value, average a measly (in comparison) £18000-£35000 a year. Initially, it appears that there is cause for debate because footballers like Samuel Eto’o who appear to offer little, if any, social benefit, make more than £35000 in a week! A breakdown of Eto’o’s wages is shown in the image to the right:

His wages do indeed appear excessive, but surely there must be a reason for this. In actual fact, there are a number of reasons that soon shed light on why footballers’ wages so extortionate

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Rise of Brazil

by Viva Avasthi

1. Why has Brazil experienced such rapid economic growth?

brazil, brazil flag
The graph below (despite its confusing title) shows the real GDP growth of Brazil compared to the US and UK.

To see how Brazil compares to other countries, click the words 'Explore data' on the bottom right of the graph.

Through its combination of a young population, plenty of natural resources and a fairly robust political system, Brazil has managed to create and sustain a boost in its economic state. The rise of China (which will be explored later in the series, but has been already been explained by our author Chris Pearson here) contributed to Brazil's economic development as China had, and still has, a massive demand for commodities due to its sudden surge in manufacturing. (For a simple and effective explanation of what commodities are, click here.) Brazil's massive levels of exports of commodities to China leaves it slightly vulnerable as China's economic condition has a direct impact on Brazil's economy.

During the first decade after the Cold War, America's relations with Brazil drastically declined, which marked the beginning of the end of the US' influence over Latin America. This resulted in Brazil having more independence in its political and economic actions, which allowed it to expand without the somewhat oppressive and exploitative US hindering its progress.

Aside from its commodities exports, Brazil has a fairly well developed high-tech industry. Brazil has clearly made use of the resources it has, but it could be argued that it is overly dependent on exporting commodities. However, notable examples of other areas where Brazil does very well globally are ethanol production and the aviation industry.

Ethanol production

Brazil is the second largest producer of ethanol in the world after the United States. In 2010, Brazil produced 486,000 bbl/d of ethanol, up from 450,000bbl/d in 2009. A combination of high world sugar prices, a poor sugar cane harvest, and underinvestment caused a precipitous decline in ethanol production in 2011.
Source:, Last Updated: Feb. 28, 2012

How Will The Rise of the BRICS Affect Us?

by Viva Avasthi

On Saturday 27th October I attended a lecture on the rise of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) as part of the University of Cambridge's Festival of Ideas. 

The speakers were:

Jaideep Prabhu
Jaideep Prabhu
University of Cambridge
Judge Business School

Isabel Hilton

Martin Jacques
Martin Jacques
'When China Rules The World'
Michael Keith
Michael Keith
University of Oxford

 In this series of six articles...

I will be presenting the economic development of each country from the BRICS in detail by addressing the three questions posed below. In order to do this, I will use my research as well as the opinions of the aforementioned speakers.

  1. Why have the BRICS experienced such rapid economic growth?
  2. How has this affected us?
  3. How will this affect us?
The first article in the series is on Brazil, since it is the 'B' in 'BRICS'.
The final article will be an overview of how the BRICS have affected us and will affect us as a group of countries.

The graph below highlights the fact that there has most definitely been a rise of the BRICS. 

This graph measures the GDP based on the PPP (Purchasing Power Parity, which accounts for differences in spending power available through different currencies) of each country rather (than the more common) GDP based on current prices. 

I have included the data on the US, UK and Germany so that the BRICS can be compared to other non-BRICS countries. Please move your cursor over the graph to see the various statistics.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Thought for the Week (29/10/12)

by Shireen Avasthi

Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it depends on what you put into it. --Tom Lehrer
What Lehrer means by this is that the more you put into something, the more you get out of it.

For example, the more you revise for an upcoming test, the higher you will score on it. Or the harder you work on an essay or article, the better it will turn out.

You shouldn't expect to do well at anything you don't put hard work into, because no one gets anything they don't deserve. You should also never stop working for what you want, because even if it may not seem like it at the time, you will eventually get everything you've earned.

Think of it as an equation; everything on the left of the equals sign is worth the same as everything on the right. When you change the value of the things on the left, you have to change the value of the right, and vice versa.

Put more into everything you do this week, and you'll find you're getting more out of it too :)

Saturday, 27 October 2012

The Legend of Apple

by Shireen Avasthi

apple, steve jobs, apple logo, teen economist, teenage economistWhy is Apple so popular? There are so many companies out there that sell products many people consider to be better than Apple's, not to mention much more affordable. What is it that attracts people so much that they end up buying such ridiculously priced merchandise? In this article I will be exploring what makes Apple popular and what makes them currently the most valued company in the world.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Made In Britain: Book Review (Part 2)

by Viva Avasthi

Last time, we left 'Made in Britain' halfway through, with a detailed analysis of the first and second parts of the book. In this article, Part 3: Intellectual Property will be explored. Part 4: Services will be reviewed in the final of this series of  three articles.

evan davis, made in britain, economics for teensintellectual property, teen economist, economics for teens

To allow this review to make better sense, I think it is best to mention what intellectual property is. Intellectual property is a term categorising the ideas that are created by our minds and have some commercial value. Examples of intellectual property include films and music as well novels, architectural designs and scientific inventions. Developed countries tend to have a 'Harry Potter economy' which means that the creativity and originality of the comparatively well-educated public is used to create intellectual property, which helps the nation generate its income (as opposed to manufacturing which can be done by fairly basic economies).  That's not to say that manufacturing ceases to remain important, of course. In this section, Davis mentions that some forms of intellectual property effectively combine with manufacturing in the UK.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Clever Scheme or Immoral Scam?

by Karina Shooter
 Ironic? Jimmy Carr has already been in the media spotlight for his UK tax avoidance schemes, now Starbucks is following in his footsteps… Photo courtesy of London 24

Amazon, Facebook, Google, Starbucks, Ikea and eBay – just some of the major corporations who have been in the news recently because of their UK tax avoidance schemes. Although their clever tricks and cover-ups are absolutely legal, we are left wondering whether their actions are morally questionable. 

The Facts and Figures
  • Over the past three years Amazon has generated more than £7.6bn of sales in the UK but has paid no corporation tax on the profits of these sales.
  • Facebook paid only £238,000 in tax last year in the UK despite making an estimated £175m in sales. 
  • It has been revealed that, despite earnings of £3bn in sales since 1998, Starbucks has only paid £8.6m in UK tax in the last 12 years. Last year it generated £398m in UK sales but paid no corporation tax.
  • EBay’s UK division has paid just over £1 million of corporation tax, despite generating sales of almost £800 million in the UK.

Monday, 22 October 2012

New 'Future Articles' Feature

letter, the teen economists, teen economist, teenage economist, economics for teens

Thought for the Week (22/10/12)

by Shireen Avasthi
I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.
 What Jefferson means by this is that 'luck' comes to those who work for it.

People who sit around not working for anything, just hoping they'll get 'lucky' and things will go well for them aren't 'lucky'; they're lazy. People who are truly lucky are those who create their own luck.

'Lucky' people work hard. This is why they are better off than many other people. To the rest of the world it may seem that people like this are insanely 'lucky', but in fact, they have just worked hard enough to create an amazing life that is full of great opportunities.

If 'luck' does in fact exist, it is most definitely attracted to those who work for it and earn it. Have you noticed that the 'luckiest' people you know are those that work for what they want? Maybe you are extremely 'lucky'. If so, this is only because you work hard, and the moment you stop working, your so-called 'luck' will vanish into thin air. The least 'lucky' people in your social circle are the ones who never put effort into the things they do. If you take some time to think this through, I'm sure you'll find that this is all true.

So work a bit harder this week. Put more effort into everything you do. You'll soon find that 'luck' is flying your way ;)

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Some Thoughts On...'Soaps'

by Karen Birnie

soaps, soap opera, television, economics for teens, economics for teenagers, teenage economist, teen economist
What is it about soap operas
 that makes them so addictive to the masses?
For the sake of this argument, let's say that you are taking the bus home. In front of you are two women, who are talking quite loudly, and you happen to hear snippets of their conversation. 'Did you see 'Enders last night?' 'Oh yes,' comes the reply, 'did you see what Stacey did? I can't believe she'd dare to...' and so the conversation falls prey to the winding plot of none other than the soap opera. I know that I find myself in similar situations frequently, and for this reason it seems the 'soap' is an integral part of society.

The soap opera - a staple, it seems, in the TV timetables, where millions sit down and spend the next thirty minutes transfixed, immersed in the dramas of Coronation Street or the Queen Vic. Where does the appeal lie? Few genres of television show have such a following. One reason could be that the protagonists are 'real life' people, that the every day working person can relate to. They are not extraordinarily clever, rich, or beautiful, they are not perfect; for the most part they are like us. This makes them easy to relate to and empathise with, and despite not existing outside of the show, the characters compel us to learn their story.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Made In Britain: Book Review (Part 1)

evan davis, made in britain, economics book, economics reading list, economics for teens, economics for teenagersby Viva Avasthi

Before I read this book I wasn't sure how the British economy plans to sustain itself, considering the fact that we are only just coming out of a double-dip recession and there are always complaints about how little we manufacture compared to China and Germany. Although it is quite clear that Britain had the clear economic advantage over other countries during the times of the British Empire, what Britain has exported after that had been fairly unclear to me, especially since the media portray the image that Britain does not export very much at all.

I found very well-explained answers in Made In Britain, by Evan Davis, which has provided me with an excellent overview of how Britain's economy is structured as well as how it has developed into what it is and what the outlook for Britain's future is.

The book is made of four main sections, and I will be stating my opinions on what the most interesting and relevant ideas in each section were. Please note that I will only be giving summaries and so I highly recommend that you read the book for yourself for a more detailed explanation of the ideas I mention. This review has been split into three parts and the first part stops at the end of half of the book. The second part of the book review covers Part 3: Intellectual Property and the third part of the review covers Part 4: Services.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

End of the Eurozone Crisis?

by Karina Shooter

An announcement has been made by Mario Draghi, the President of the European Central Bank, which could potentially mark a major turning point in the Eurozone crisis. Draghi announced that the European Central Bank (ECB) promises to provide unlimited support to troubled Eurozone countries such as Spain and Italy.

Mario Draghi, Eurozone, European Union, economics for teens, economics for teenagers
Mario Draghi  Photograph by Mario Vedder/dapd/AP Photo
Draghi's plan is to remove the limit on the number of bonds that the ECB can buy from governments in troubled countries, which would cut those countries' borrowing costs. However there is a catch - Nations would first have to request help from the ECB as well as accept new conditions including an austerity clause. This may cause problems for countries such as Spain, where riots continue at the prospect of a bailout.

Although markets soared when the announcement was made, critics from the German Central Bank say that Draghi's plan is not a long term solution and is just propping up governments.

The announcement has taken away some major question marks about who's responsibility it is to support the Euro when it is under pressure. Governments have failed at this task, and it is now the ECB's turn to see if they can offer the protection and insurance that the Euro badly needs.

Following this announcemnt, one thing is for certain, I definitely won't be making any bets that the PIIGS (Portugual, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain) will default on their debts or bail out of the Euro any time soon.

Monday, 3 September 2012

The LIBOR rate scandal - Is Barclays solely to blame?

by Karina Shooter

On Friday, Barclays announced that Anthony Jenkins would be Bob Diamond's successor as CEO. It seems that months after the LIBOR scandal broke out, Barclays is still the only bank whose public reputation is being destroyed - Barclays shares have plummeted by over half compared to its peak rates before the scandal. But is Barclays solely to blame for fixing the LIBOR rate? 

bob diamond, barclays, libor rate, economics for teens, economics for teenagers
Barclays shame: Boss Bob Diamond has given up his bonus after the bank was hit by a £290m fine. Picture courtesy of

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Communism vs. Capitalism

by Charlotte Wright

Communism and capitalism provide two very different ways of life. Is one better than the other?

communism vs capitalism, communism, capitalism, economics for teens, economics for teenagers
An interesting opinion!

Friday, 31 August 2012

When the chips are down, the trades are up!

by Daniel Hearn
poker, trading, teen economist, economics for teens, economics for teenagers, financial markets, stocks, shares, traders

Poker – a game of luck where the player with the strongest hand always wins, right? Well, not always and in fact it can be very rare that the strongest hand actually does win! So surely, this doesn’t relate to modern day trading where other peoples’ money is invested. You’d be surprised! Poker (a bluffing game of luck) is seen by many as having direct links with trading…

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Dead Perfect

body image, distortion by Salma Rana

Body-image and general self-image is an issue that haunts the minds of all kinds of people, both young and old. The media tells us that we live in a world full of ‘perfect’ people. Television, magazines and adverts reinforce this on a daily basis and even though they are doing this in order to encourage people to buy their products - they seem to have distorted a woman’s perception of what a healthy weight is and seemed to have made them want to look a certain kind of ‘beautiful’.

Although the pressure to be perfect is increasing for both men and women, this article will be heavily focusing on women. 

Monday, 27 August 2012

Thought for the Week (27/08/12)

by Shireen Avasthi

I love humanity, but I hate people.                            
- Edna St. Vincent Millay 
This is a very special quote. This is because (in my opinion) everyone's interpretation of it will be different. A person's interpretation could be worlds apart from the person next to them's, or it could be uncannily similar.

My interpretation of this quote is that Millay is trying to say there is a distinction between the idea of humanity and the cold hard reality of humans: she is saying that she loves the idea of humanity; she loves the idea of people putting the well-being of another person before their own.

Sadly, people no longer abide by the rules of humanity (surely they must have done so at some point in history!), and due to this Millay has started to "hate" the human race. They have tarnished the name of humanity and run wild and high on selfishness.

I'm sure that a lot of people think that Millay's point of view is extreme, but the thought of people going about their buisness and not caring what happens to the other beings around them probably makes any lover of humanity cringe.

Would it hurt to try and be more aware of the people around you and the situation they're in? Probably not. So be more compassionate towards your fellow human beings this week. I'm certain you'll find it's worth the effort ;)

Thursday, 23 August 2012

What is Time?

by Sparshita Dey
time, clock, economics for teens, economics for teenagers, teenage economist, teen economist

Time is a complicated topic itself but it has become an everyday thing for all of us. We are constantly basing our day to day activities on “time” and even the fact that we exist on it (i.e. birthdays). But is that all time is – made up numbers and units to base our lives on? Or is there much more? And exactly what is time besides the continuous ticks of a clock?

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Stephanomics Review: Whose fault is the economic crisis?

by Viva Avasthi

"Who deserves most blame for the financial mess we're all in? Is it the bankers? Or should we also save some time for the economists?"

Stephanie Flanders, the BBC's Economics Editor, asks these questions in an episode of Stephanomics, her programme on economics. The episode reviewed here focuses on the economics of the global financial crisis and the problems regarding the Eurozone. This article is, in sorts, a summary of the discussion Stephanie Flanders had with the billionaire investor George Soros, Sir Howard Davies (former chairman of the Financial Services Authority and former deputy governor of the Bank of England), and Dr DeAnne Julius (chairman of Chatham House and a former member of the Bank of England's monetary policy committee). Only the discussion about the global financial crisis has been summarised to prevent the article from becoming too long. To read an article explaining the problems in the Eurozone, click here.
Dr DeAnne Julius, economics for teens, economics for teenagers, stephanomics
Dr DeAnne Julius

George Soros
George Soros
Sir Howard Davies, economics for teens, economics for teenagers, stephanomics
Sir Howard Davies

Saturday, 11 August 2012

7 Reasons for the Chinese Economic Miracle

The Chinese economy has been growing at an average rate of 10% for the past three decades. This unprecedented growth has astounded onlookers, but many who do not read into the Chinese economic miracle have little to say about why this has happened. They often chalk it up to exports and the manufacturing boom, often represented by a 'made in China' signature on the bottoms of cheap plastic products. That is only a small part of why China is rivalling the United States as the world's industrial powerhouse. Here are seven reasons for the Chinese economic miracle.

1. Peasants could farm a section of land for themselves

Previously, both the ownership and use of land was collectivised. Farms were people's communes, whereby all the peasants working the land owned it, and they farmed collectively. The reform that ended 20 years of collective farming didn't redistribute land ownership; rather, it allocated the use of land through a contract, so that peasants could choose how they wanted to farm the land. This reform took place over 5 years and considerably increased efficiency and output.

2. The relaxation of price controls on foodstuffs
Before the reforms, basic foods such as grain, meat and eggs were distributed using a strict rationing system by the government. The price that was paid by the government for these foods was so low that firms didn't want to produce them. It led to bad food quality and inefficient production.
The farming reforms were the first step out of three to undo the pricing controls. The second step was the introduction of free local markets to support the first reform. And the third step involved aggressively raising the price ceilings, which helped suppliers and promoted productivity. The government also lowered the price for agricultural machinery to promote farming mechanisation.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

China at a Glance

by Chris Pearson

china, money, chinese economicsChina is becoming much more important in the world economy, meaning recent reports of a slowdown cast doubts into the minds of pundits abroad. China's GDP is fast approaching that of the US and this means that news about the Chinese economy holds much sway with global markets. 

Many assume that China is growing through its export revenue - but they are wrong - rather, 92% of  its growth comes from investment spending. Expected then, are those who believe that this surging investment level is fueling a fixed-asset price bubble -  like what happened in Japan and to the Asian tigers in the 90s. The difference between investment in China and the investment in the Asian tigers, prior to 1997, is the different sources of money used to invest. China's funds cannot be pulled out from under itself as easily as what happened to the Asian tigers because it does not rely on foreigners' money to fund its investment. 

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Fame: A Secret Formula?

by Karen Birnie

Is there something that all famous people have in common? Is there some special thing that some people have which guarantees recognition? Or is it just plain hard work?

There's no doubt that to make it into the public eye in any field, one must be prepared to work extremely hard. Actors, singers, even scientists; to be renowned, your work must be of a supreme quality.

But surely there's a secret formula that leads to success, a secret ingredient in the mix of skill and hard work. Some people just seem to attract the limelight. What is it about these people? Do they make an extra effort, or are they born with it?

                             Audrey Hepburn, the highly successful actress...what was her secret?

Monday, 6 August 2012

Thought for the Week (06/08/12)

by Shireen Avasthi
nate williams, gandhi
Image created by Nate Williams
Be the change you want to see in the world.
What Mahatma Gandhi means by this is that change starts from you.

For example, if you want to live in a better society, you should set an example for others by being a better member of society.

If you want the world to change, you'll have to change yourself first. It's impossible to change others without first changing yourself.

Do what Gandhi did; lead by example. You cant expect others to do anything without someone to show them the way: you should be that someone.

Just remember, if you want to change something badly enough, you will find a way to be the one to change it.

Try initiating change this week; you might just find yourself enjoying it ;)

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

China's One Child Policy: a Good Idea?

by Shireen Avasthi

china, one child policyHow big is your family? How many siblings do you have? If you'd been born in China, you wouldn't have any: you would be an only child.

Is that fair? should a government be allowed to decide how many children a couple have? Whether or not a child has brothers and sisters to play with. Should anyone have the right to decide if a child has an enjoyable childhood?

If you have siblings, think about all the fun you've had together. Of course you have your arguments, but above all, you genuinely have a good time together.

I'm sure children with no siblings also have a fun-filled childhood; all the extra attention from parents must be great, but imaging doing all those exciting things with someone closer to your age to share them with. Wouldn't that be great?

I'm not denying that China's one child policy is a sensible way to try and control their immense population problem: it is. But are the rights families and children are required to give up in order to enforce this too heavy a price to pay?

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

History of Economics: Why It's Still a Teenager

by Viva Avasthi

Image source:

As it is a relatively new subject, economics could be considered a teenager compared to other subjects! If we look back through Western history, it is clear that most subjects developed substantially in the classical civilisations of Ancient Greece and Rome. From mathematics to music, literature and forms of science, the Ancients form the basis of most of the subjects we study today. For some reason, this is not the case for economics. Although the word 'economics' comes from the Ancient Greek οἰκονομία, the Greeks only really studied home economics and wrote books only in subjects like bargaining for horses. Why is this the case? Why is it that for the first influential book on economics to be published in the western world, we had to wait until 1776 for Adam Smith and his The Wealth of Nations? Here, three main contributing factors are explored:

Monday, 30 July 2012

Thought for the Week (30/07/12)

by Shireen Avasthi

Forgive your enemies but never forget their names.
What Kennedy means by this is that you should be willing to forgive your enemies, but you shouldn't go so far as to trust or befriend them.

If someone can stab you in the back once, they're more than capable of doing it again. You should keep your guard up in their company, but don't let it show.

You should be open minded enough to forgive someone and move on, even after they've done you wrong. You don't need to forget what they did to you in order to forgive them for it.

Try forgiving someone this week;
it'll make you feel great. Good luck :)

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Gender Equality: Fact or Fantasy?

we can do it, gender equality, feminismby Shireen Avasthi

In the Western world, many people are under the illusion that gender inequality is alive and thriving in the East, and in the West everyone is equal. Despite this being a common opinion, it is far from the truth. Admittedly, the East has a lot of problems where gender inequality is concerned, but the West definitely doesn't have a clean slate either.

So let's start with the East. Here are 10 of the most shocking examples of gender inequality that exist there:

Saturday, 28 July 2012

The Five Most Interesting Conflicts - The Boer Wars

by Hannah Gent
boer war, economics for teens, economics for teenagers, most interesting conflict

In the second of my five articles looking at military conflicts I am going to consider the wars that took place between 1880 and 1902 at the southern tip of Africa called the Boer Wars. 

The word ‘Boer’ is the Dutch word for ‘farmer’.  Dutch farmers had settled in the southern African regions of Orange Free State and the Transvaal in the 1830s having relocated from the Cape region to escape from British Rule there.  When, in the late 1800s the British Crown threatened to annex these two Boer states the Boers decided to defend their independence.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

The Standard Model of Particle Physics and the Higgs Field: What are they exactly?

by Sparshita Dey

higgs boson, particle physics

The Higgs boson theory is a theory based on the Standard Model of Particle Physics – a model of the fundamental particles which make up the universe and a model capable of explaining all physics as we know it today! As for the recently discovered Higgs boson particle, physicists have been expecting its discovery since Peter Higgs proposed its existence in 1964. Since then, it has been a major part of all physics, equations and ideas even though it had not been discovered until this year when CERN’s hadron colliders proved the existence of these fascinating, fundamental boson particles.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Ageing: Why Are People Scared of It?

by Shireen Avasthi
old woman, fear of ageing
Why do so many of us have a fear of ageing?

Having a phobia of ageing is nothing to be embarrassed of - lots of people are in the same situation. The question is: why do so many of us have a fear of ageing? 

What do you value most about youth? Is it beauty, intelligence, freedom, just having a good time and a laugh, or is it something else? Whatever it may be, chances are that there are multiple stereotypes pinned to it. More likely than not, one of these stereotypes is that you will be robbed of this quality as you grow older.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Who Are the Real Winners and Losers of the Olympics?

by Viva Avasthi

A very thorough video created by The Economist to provide a useful overview of the impacts of the London Olympics 2012. It is definitely worth watching the entirety of this video as it makes the impacts on many types of people very clear.

 In my opinion, the point made in this video about how there are no children's pools in the Olympics stadium is a particularly relevant one considering that schools are supposedly going to be making use of the Olympic venues in the future! Could this be seen as a sign that the legacy of the Olympics has not been very well planned by the government, despite what they say?

What do you think of the idea of The Teen Economists authors making their own videos in this way?

Please comment below and tell me if you would like to see more of these types of videos on the blog. 

Monday, 23 July 2012

Thought for the week (23/07/12)

Image created by Lindsay Whitehead
by Shireen Avasthi
Only do what your Heart tells you.
What Diana means by this is that you should live your life the way you want to. 

Don't let anyone else tell you what you should or should not do; don't let anyone dictate the way your life plays out. Listen to your heart, because you only live once, and you should lead the life you want to live.

However, I don't think that she would be encouraging completely stupid and reckless behaviour!

Do what your heart tells you, at least for this week :)

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Can Murder be Justified?

by Salma Rana
police line, murder, economics for teens, economics for teenagers, teenage economist, teen economist
This question may seem rather straightforward and you may initially find yourself leaning towards ‘No, murder cannot be justified’ because all in all, it is not acceptable to take away someone else’s chance at life. Right?  However, when you look at the bigger picture you find that it is more complicated than that because of the various degrees to murder and really, what is classified as murder and what makes it justified? 

Saturday, 21 July 2012

The Five Most Interesting Conflicts - The Hundred Years' War

by Hannah Gent

Over the next five weeks I will be looking at some of the most interesting conflicts since the fourteenth century. Although there are many other remarkable, historical wars, the five that I have chosen are conflicts that are famous by name but their details are not so well-known.
hundred years war, history, battle
These are the conflicts that I will be writing about each week in chronological order:
  • The Hundred Years' War: 1337-1453
  • Boer Wars: 1880-1902
  • WWI: 1914-1918
  • The Arab Israeli Conflict: 1948-present day
  • The Vietnam War: 1955-1975

In this article, I will be explaining what the Hundred Years' War was, what was the cause of the conflict and why I find this period of interesting.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Famous Economist 'Interviews': An Introduction

famous economist, karl marx, adam smith, john maynard keynes, keynes by Viva Avasthi

As a new regular feature, I will be 'interviewing' some renowned economists to try and develop a better understanding of the various economic fields of thought, models (as in graphs used to explain theories) and problems as well as potential solutions. At the start of each 'interview', I will provide a short biography of each economist before asking some questions. 

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Older Women in the Media

women, tv, female presenters, bbc
Luck of the draw or are older women not welcome on TV?
by Clemency Flitter

Female equality is something that many people would like to feel has finally been put to bed and women are now being seen on a par with men in most areas. However, it seems to me that the media has so far been a little slow to take up this ideal. Recently the BBC has been under fire over an ageism scandal after a former Countryfile presenter, Miriam O’Reilly, won an age discrimination case against the BBC after being dropped from presenting the TV show. While I agree that this may have been a clear case of age discrimination I can’t help but wonder if the same would have happened if Miriam was a man.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

How to get into Grammar School

by Shireen Avasthi

Do you have a younger brother or sister, or a daughter or son who is preparing for the 11+? Do you know anyone who is preparing for the 11+? Are you? If the answer is yes to any or all of these questions, this book is the perfect thing for you! Here's an exclusive preview of my book, How to get into Grammar School. The full book is now available on Amazon!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

10 Impacts of the Olympics on the UK

by Viva Avasthi
olympics mascot. olympics, mascot, wenlock, mandeville, economics for teens, economics for teenagers

With only ten days remaining until the opening ceremony for the London Olympics commences, here are ten ways that the Olympics have affected (or will affect) the UK.