Category: Economics 10e

The article linked below is a blog article by George Monbiot looking at the rise of neoliberal economic views and discussing whether these are simply an intellectual justification for the rich and powerful to reinforce their position.

How the neoliberals stitched up the wealth of nations for themselves Guardian (Comment is free) (28/8/07)

Questions

1. Write a brief summary of the neoliberal views of the founder of the Mont Pelerin Society – Friedrich Hayek.
2. Explain the neoliberal argument that “….. we are best served by maximum market freedom and minimum intervention by the state. The role of government should be confined to creating and defending markets, protecting private property and defending the realm.
3. Discuss the view espoused by George Monbiot in the article that neoliberal policies like “minimal taxes, the dismantling of public services and social security, deregulation, the breaking of the unions” serve to make the elite even richer and simply act as a “wealth grab“.

Do you know what the current rate of economic growth is? Probably not. In the article below Larry Elliott argues that this may indicate that the link between economic growth and happiness has been broken and that alternative measures of GDP may be more helpful in analysing the performance of the economy.

Cameron should count on happiness Guardian (27/8/07)

Questions

1. Explain what is meant by the term ‘Index of sustainable economic welfare’.
2. Examine three factors that may raise economic welfare that are not included in a conventional measure of GDP.
3. Use the Friends of the Earth make your own ISEW site to analyse the factors that may contribute the most to economic welfare. Discuss the arguments for and against the introduction of an ISEW as an official government measure of economic welfare.

In complete contrast to the holidaying habits of the Blair family, Gordon Brown chose to take his holiday this year in Weymouth on the Dorset Coast. Is he setting us a good example? Should we all be holidaying at home to support the UK economy? In the article below, David Smith looks at the impact of holidaying abroad on the UK balance of payments.

Holiday at home and do your bit for Blighty Times Online (26/8/07)

Questions

1. Examine the impact of growing overseas travel on the UK balance of payments.
2. Assess the impact of a reduced tourism deficit on the rest of the UK economy.
3. Discuss policies that the government could adopt to help encourage a reduction in the balance of payments deficit on tourism.

British Airways has been fined £270m for their part in a price-fixing cartel. Fines were levied by both the US Department of Justice and the UK Office of Fair Trading following an agreement between British Airways and Virgin to fix the level of surcharges charged to passengers as a result of rising fuel prices.

Where’s Branson’s apology? BBC News Online (Robert Peston blog) (7/8/07)
BA’s price-fix fine reaches £270m BBC News Online (1/8/07)
OFT defends ‘snitch’ policy Guardian (5/8/07)
BA boss speaks out over price fixing Guardian (3/8/07)
How arch rivals colluded to hike up cost of air travel Guardian (2/8/07)

Questions

1. Define what is meant by the term ‘price-fixing cartel’.
2. Explain the characteristics of a market that are most likely to result in a cartel.
3. Discuss policies that the government could put in place to prevent this kind of price-fixing arising in the future..

The widening of the M6 will cost £3bn or £1000 an inch. What does this fact tell us about the government’s green priorities? Are we really leading the world on climate change as the government likes to claim? In the article below Ashley Seager (Economics Correspondent for the Guardian) looks at these issues and argues that we may be the poor man of Europe when it comes to ‘green’ policies.

Green means slow to this government Guardian (6/8/07)

Questions

1. Explain what Ashley Seager means by the sentence “What the government has also not done is send out new “price signals”, as economists call them” (paragraph 7).
2. Explain what is meant by a feed-in tariff (FIT). Why does Ashley Seager argue that this is a vital policy tool in the fight against climate change?
3. Discuss two policies that the government could adopt to help raise the proportion of renewable energy generated in the UK.