Money seems to have a big role in our society; we can’t do much or get far if we don’t have any. Money is valuable in different ways, even when it isn’t there physically. In today’s society faith must be had in the government and in the banking system that money is being handled in the proper manner; if not, then it would have to all be hidden under our mattresses or around our houses. I have no clue what happens in the banks, or how they take care of deposits. I always thought money was simple; we either have it or we don’t—that’s it. However, being introduced to this assignment, the Yap Fei, US gold, French francs, Brazilian cruzeros, and debit accounts now seem similar. We don’t have to see our money being transferred to receive payment. When employees are handed a pay stub, they aren’t handed cash or a check, the money’s all directly transferred to their bank account, and they have to trust that they received more money.
Objections in Policy
Many arguments and objections come about when discussing the government. Given the nature of my final essay it is sure to raise some counter arguments. First off my argument is that quick changes in policies are overall intended to be good for the country but usually always end up being a hurt for the country. These quick policy changes include but are not limited to things like tariffs and immigration.
One major point that is brought up is immigration. Since as far back as we can remember immigration has been a huge forefront of the American political system. With both parties pretty much divided on that alone. Left leaning individuals believe that immigration restrictions should be lessened for people in need. The same cannot be said for the opposite who favor strict border control and limited immigration.
In some cases rapid immigration policy is needed to help some of the issues of a country. Germany in 2015 was suffering from declining birth rates and their economy was at equilibrium, which is a fancy way of saying that their economy was at a point where it can’t grow any more unless more people came into the country. The only two ways that could be fixed is if more people got pregnant or people entered the country. In the article, “Immigration boosts Germany’s economy,” details that as of 2016 Germany’s revenues were higher than expenditures for the third straight year. A crucial chunk of Germany’s population comes from a migrant background and the number of foreign specialists in Germany’s key industries really add to the point that immigration is benefit for society.
But when we solve one issue like stagnation in the economy we forget about other issues that arise when we bring people into our country. As Jan C. Ting questioned in his article, “Downsides of High Immigration,” “How will we provide good jobs, good educational opportunities, good health care, and good housing for 129 million additional residents given our current track record? How many more vehicles will be added to our highways? How many more millions of barrels of oil will we have to import from the Middle East, or extract from deep-water wells drilled into the ocean floor? How many more millions of tons of coal will have to be burned, or nuclear power plants built, to generate electricity for another 129 million people?” In addition to theses questions there’s countless more what ifs that are brought up once we make the decision to bring people into the country. ”
When bringing immigrants into the country there is an extreme financial cost that is invested in order to help them assimilate into society. Education and proper English as a second language classes are a must when in the work force coming from an immigrant background. New people means more chance for accidents to happen. Sometimes a hospital trip is needed and without the proper health insurance it is almost impossible to receive good health care. A car is a must in most areas in America which leads to an increase in the need for fossil fuels in order to power them. Housing is a must for people entering the country and sometimes they can’t afford a home. The real issue is that although immigration might be beneficial for us, it may not be beneficial for the people who left poverty to get a chance at a new life only to be in poverty again.
Another thing the government can do is implement policy that changes the social behavior of the business environment. The government could potentially impose taxes on businesses that use harmful fossil fuels and other non renewable resources and give tax benefits to businesses who use renewable energy. This is called a market catalyst. It’s intention is to allow tax exemptions in a particular sector for investors to take interest. The major downside that many people overlook is that imposing on a particular sector more taxes or duties than are necessary will make the investors lose interest.
In the article, “The Market Catalyst Nobody Is Talking About,” mentions that starting this past month, the Federal Reserve is scheduled to reduce the holdings on its balance sheet by $50 billion per month. Which is $20 billion more than from April to June of this year. This implies that the Federal Reserve cannot reinvest the principal from its maturing securities. The intention behind this is that the economy is in a pretty good state so the Fed can lay off on some of it’s holdings in order to use that money to invest into the economy. When the Fed’s balance sheet is reduced and at the same time the central bank is raising interest rates adds an unnecessary element of complexity to the monetary tightening process, as stated in the “Business Insider” article, “There’s one big problem with the Fed’s plan to unwind its gigantic balance sheet.” In the article it also mentions that officials themselves acknowledge that they are less sure about the impact of a reduction in asset holdings on financial conditions than they are with the more familiar tool of an interest rate increase.
Governments get money from taxation to spend how it chooses. Government spending is a good thing and is necessary in the U.S. economy. Without it the country couldn’t function. There is no disagreement there. Entrepreneurs take risks in making investments and starting businesses. Any increase in taxes will strongly discourage them from doing so. When the government increases spending it in turn eats at the limited pool of government savings. This leads the government not to have enough money to reinvest to make a good return on their investments. Reduction in private investments shrinks production of goods and services. That, in turn, may lead to the elimination of jobs.
Another argument that is brought up is the issue of minimum wage, permit regulations, and trade regulations. For example, periodic health inspections must be carried out in all restaurants. Businesses might spend a lot of money and time to comply with regulations that ultimately prove to be ineffective and unnecessary. Workers constantly ask for higher wages but ultimately businesses cannot afford to run effectively and give workers a higher wage like 15 an hour and run effectively. Fair and effective regulations, however, promote business growth.
All of the arguments presented are valid points that are brought up constantly in political debates. Some of them depend on a little more optimism rather than pessimism others depend on how fair the government treats the independent business owners and the country’s citizens.
There is a huge problem in Vancouver with heroin addicts committing crimes to support their habits. The “free heroin for addicts” program is doing everything they can to stop the addicts. The problem is that there is a large crime rate due to the addicts. It is obvious that addicts have a hard time getting through their day to day lives. Daily activities such as jobs, interactions, and relationships are hard to maintain because of the fact that they are using. By heroin users being addicted, they will do whatever they have to do to get their hands on the drug. The types of crimes committed are those of breaking and entering as well as stealing. There are no limits to where they will go to retrieve this drug so that they can feed their addiction. The problem with this program is that it won’t help to ween these addicts off using heroin. It is only trying to save the city from rising crime rates that they’re up to. By providing the drug, these addicts will be off the streets, which in turn will prevent them from committing minor street crimes. This will also keep the heroin users out of the hospital. It is pointless that the hospitals have to deal with people that want to use bad drugs or unsanitary needles and find themselves being unable to afford hospital bills and hard to cope without the drug. This program gives people free heroin in the cleanest way possible. This will in turn fix the city but not the addiction that these people face.
In Vancouver heroin addicts are breaking and entering, stealing, as well as mugging pedestrians to support their habits. The “free heroin for addicts” program is doing everything they can to save the city from rising crime rates and to keep users out of the hospital. It administers free, clean heroin in a controlled environment. This combats the usage of dirty needles, overdoses, and the ensuing hospital bills from overdoses. An issue that arises is that it won’t help to ween these addicts off the drug, just promote safe usage. This will in turn fix the city but not the addiction that these people face.
The effects of tariffs on the United States
We live in a society where everything is moving faster and faster. We are accomplishing feats in technology never thought possible 20 or 30 years ago. For some people, that can’t be said about our political system. Some people believe that it takes too long for politicians to make decisions that could ultimately benefit society. Politics are changing every day the only issue is that these policies for changes might also bring negatives that can last for a long time.
The economy is a huge factor in making political decisions these days. When bills and laws are being passed the effect on the economy is one of the key factors politicians look at. Sometimes the economy is the reason things don’t get passed. The economy of the country is much lie a business. If the country isn’t going to make money in a decision it won’t happen.
Trump’s big plan was to bring companies that have gone international with importing goods. One method that the government does is impose tariffs on these goods. When a tariff is imposed on a good like steel the price of imported steel goes up which is intended to have companies look to domestic steel for their need. This causes a boost in the domestic steel industry because there is more need for cheaper steel. This also opens some jobs in the steel industry which allows people out of a job to get back in to the workforce. When these people are introduced into the workforce the overall economy sees a boost.
Something else that happens is that American steel industries can control the supply and demand of this steel. Since more people are coming to them they can create scarcity to drive up the prices of steel in the domestic US. This can lead to a monopoly in the steel industry. Another downside of this is that companies who mainly import steel and are affiliated with the import of goods sees a massive hit when their customers leave for cheaper domestic steel. When these companies take a hit, people are laid off or out of work to match the demand for foreign steel.
As you can see there are benefits to the effect of tariffs in the steel industry. The effects not only lead to changes in the industry they’re placed in, but they also trickle over into other industries as well. There are many middle men that go into running a huge industry like steel. Steel is made from taking iron ore and putting it into a furnace and smelting the impurities out of it and adding carbon to it which turns the iron into stronger and more durable steel. Equipment manufacturers also see a boost in sales for new mining equipment. Companies that make vehicles for job sites like iron mining and truckers whose job is it to transport both the unfinished iron and the finished steel see new jobs and more demand for truck drivers. also see a boost in their sales. The factories that smelt the iron see a boost in employment to meet the demand of these new customers.
Some negative effects of tariffs on steel are best represented in the article, “Trump’s Steel Tariffs Could Hurt U.S. Coal Companies.” In the article it states that Trump’s 25 percent tariff on steel from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union would hurt demand for steel in the U.S. These countries also buy 40 percent of the U.S.’s metallurgical coal, which is the substance used in making steel. Since there’s a dip in the demand for foreign steel it would lead to a dip in the demand for metallurgical coal.
The article makes the claim that tariffs could also be put on U.S. exported to other countries. This means that many metallurgical coal producers would have to cut their prices to retain customers.
This leads into another effect of tariffs on things like steel. Our relationships with foreign countries could be at stake if we were to raise prices on things that we trade freely with each other. In the article it mentions that Mexico fired back with tariffs of their own. The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, exclaimed that the tariffs were, “totally unacceptable,” and then went on to say that Canada buys more steel from our country than any other. Canada and Mexico are some of the biggest U.S. steel importers ranking first and fourth respectively.
This could cause a trade war with multiple countries. The problem is things aren’t on America’s side if this were to ever escalate this far. As of right now we are in the midst of a trade war with China. The American government has imposed strict tariffs on Chinese goods and has threatened to take these tariffs even higher. China can use this opportunity to oust us from the center of world affairs and economic globalization as we are slowly but surely pulling out of such practices. China is starting to build a reputation of free trade and build a moral high ground as our government is subverting the world order. As things unfold it may lead to a darker future for the U.S. as we destroy our reputations with the world through tariffs on imports.
Policies that imply quick fixes to strengthen our economy may not always as beneficial. In Trump’s case his strong nationalist mindset leads to him alienating our country to the rest of the world which could cause major shifts in the overall economy of the U.S. and the world. There are good intentions behind them in hopes to build some domestic economic growth. Though this doesn’t seem to be the case with this. Countries and their leaders tend to be upset with these practices. These then lead countries to not buy other goods from the U.S., so those industries are hurt due to lack of demand from foreign exports. This also could spawn a trade war much like the one between the U.S. and China currently going on. Finally, it could cause the U.S. to be shoved out as the economic center of the globalist economy.
Getting started isn’t the issue so much professor. My main issue is keeping people interested and hooked.
What I have so far is my topic which is the effects that policies like tariffs have on industries like steel and the coal industries. I know somewhat how I’m going to go about it. I have a good number of sources that I’ve summarized. I just am not sure how to keep the message of the essay consistent and clear throughout the thousand words.
I can’t think of anything in particular at the time. I am using this to open up some sort of dialogue in the replies.
- With election season and mid terms for presidential nominees coming up, people are looking to the politician that best shares their common interests and will get laws passed that will help their voters be happy. Voters are eager to get their politicians in office so they can make decisions and get to work as quickly as possible. Voters tend to think that when politicians don’t make quick action to get policies passed that they aren’t hearing the opinions of the people. The real issue lies in that sometimes there’s negative side effects to these things that outweigh the benefits.
- We live in a society where everything is moving faster and faster. We are accomplishing feats in technology never thought possible 20 or 30 years ago. For some people, that can’t be said about our political system. Some people believe that it takes too long for politicians to make decisions that could ultimately benefit society. In reality politics are changing every day the only issue is that these policies for changes might also bring negatives that can last for a long time.
Definition: Microtransactions in Videogames
Video games in recent years are always trying to make more and more money from consumers. Microtransactions take many forms these days. Some can be in the form of in game loot boxes for the chance to get something rare. Sometimes these microtransactions offer things that help players be at an advantage over the competition. In order to fully understand this practice it is ideal to understand what they truly are.
In the article, “The Economics of Microtransactions in Video Games,” they discuss the controversy around EA’s Star Wars Battlefront II. A user, u/MBMMaverick, on Reddit reported that it would take $80 dollars, well over the original cost of the game, to unlock Darth Vader, a character made readily available in their first installment. EA responded by stating that the system was designed to “provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes.” These heroes are unlocked in a loot box system that requires players to put in real money for the chance to unlock iconic Star Wars heroes. Otherwise players could spend 40+ hours to unlock these characters without having to spend money.
Some games offer in-game currencies that players can use. In general companies implement this system to mask the true value of what players purchase to make higher ticket items sound like a bargain. These currencies can also be used to purchase loot boxes and exclusive characters as stated above. In the article they also delve into what were some of the first microtransactions. They suggest that some of the first microtransactions were arcade machines that you’d put a quarter into to receive an extra life or another go at the claw machine for a chance to win a knock off pair of beats headphones (which I’ve won 3 of and they all broke after a month).
In the GamesRadar article, “Microtransactions and loot boxes in video games – are they pure greed or a modern necessity?” they provide a side to the argument not much seen by the general masses. They state, that compared to AAA games of several years ago, it costs a great deal more today to make a game at the level of your most common AAA titles. As technology got much better so did the games…and so did the costs of those games. From the 1990s to 2000 the budgets of games has jumped from single digits to double digits. So, are these microtransactions really a bad thing? Or is it companies trying to make back the exorbitant budgets they put into these games? As stated in the article, “We live in a cutthroat capitalist world, after all.”
Generally, microtransactions are viewed as highly negative in the eyes of players. They believe that companies are trying to cut content to make more of a profit for themselves. Gamers have done boycott campaigns on games that take part in these practices. But for a portion of people who either boycott or don’t take part in microtransactions, there’s a good 10% that will fork over thousands of dollars to be the most decked out player on the battlefield and end up being responsible for 70% of the game’s overall profit.
To some people microtransactions in the form of loot boxes are considered gambling. As you know, gambling is illegal for people under the age of 21. This is a highly debated topic online on whether this form of transaction is legal or not given that a good chunk of a playerbase of these games is kids. There is a notion that this method is illegal for games since the player is paying for a chance to get some big-ticket item usually rigged to only appear a fraction of the time. This is something you usually see on slot machines in Atlantic City or Las Vegas, not in a game marketed to everyone. Some countries with strict gambling laws have also made this practice illegal which makes the sale of games in these countries not possible, hurting revenues of developers.
The first microtransactions for games can be dated almost as far back as the early 2000s when Facebook was still in its infancy. Remember all those games like Farmville people always invited you to play so they can get some sort of bonus? Another case is a few years later when mobile gaming was also in its early days. Games like Angry Birds costed a dollar or two on the App Store and they would guide you through the first few levels then would throw a hard level at you, causing you to lose all your lives, and spending gems or whatever the premium currency was at the time in order to get through the level easier or gain back your lives. The next time you were stuck on a level, you couldn’t use your bonuses anymore because you spent the currency already, so they threw you an offer. If you spent some money in the game you can get your lives back plus a bonus or two.
Another game that offered this was Clash of Clans. In this case the game was free and they guided you pretty much the same way up until a certain point where then you’d need to build up your base to take on tough challengers, but upgrading your base involved having to wait hours upon days in order to fully upgrade your base, or you can spend money again like the previous example and save time and get back to playing the game. Both of these cases involve impeding gameplay in order to get money from consumers.
Are microtransactions crucial for games these days? Or are they a symbol of corporatist, capitalist greed that plagues our society today? The term microtransaction can evoke a different feeling based on who you ask. A CEO or a CFO, more appropriately, of a AAA company might tell you it is crucial for the company to be able to provide fun game experiences for players in the future. A gamer has a different view in which that they believe companies are sacrificing gameplay to make more money. A kid, on the other hand, just wants that new Fortnite skin so he can be the coolest of his friends.
Economics of Microtransactions in Video Games. (n.d.). Retrieved October 17, 2018, from https://www.intelligenteconomist.com/economics-of-microtransactions/