Sunday, September 25, 2011

Companies and Social Responsibility

The primary purpose of a company is to make money. Why should a company worry about its environmental record or stance on social issues? Well, that is exactly the problem in this story from the NY Times. From the article:

"A handful of advocates, armed with nothing more than their keyboards, have put many of the country’s largest retailers, including Apple, Microsoft, Netflix and Wal-Mart, on the spot over their indirect and, until recently, unnoticed roles in funneling money to Christian groups that are vocal in opposing homosexuality.

The advocates are demanding that the retailers end their association with an Internet marketer that gets a commission from the retailers for each online customer it gives them. It is a routine arrangement on hundreds of e-commerce sites, but with a twist here: a share of the commission that retailers pay is donated to a Christian charity of the buyer’s choice, from a list that includes prominent conservative evangelical groups like the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family."

In other words, this Internet marketer would drum up customers for these businesses and then funnel their commission to controversial causes.

If you were a business, would you worry about whether the groups you were associating with had controversial positions on social issues, in this case homosexuality? If you were an owner of Apple, would you buckle to the pressure to quit your association with Internet marketers that give you customers but also advocate controversial ideas?

How does supply and demand impact your decision?

On another note, should Galt get a tattoo parlor?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Supply and Demand of Legalization

There has been much discussion about the benefits and drawbacks of legalization of marijuana, including a state-wide proposition in California last year. This week, our in class graded discussion will cover the issue of legalization. Here are some questions to consider as you conduct your research.
  • will legalization increase or decrease supply?
  • will demand spike as a result of legalization?
  • Will government profit by charging taxes? Reducing the number of criminals in prison?
Of course, there are moral questions to consider as well. Do we want society to accept the use of this drug?

When you post, please cite any research that you have conducted.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Chapter 4 covers the issue of demand. What dictates what you buy? Price? Service? Quality? As the law of demand dictates, the higher the price, the less we will demand it and the lower the price the more we will demand it. But other factors are relevant as well. For example, how popular is the product or service? Take a moment and describe how you would pick among the following choices.

  • What restaurant do you like the best for lunch? Why?
  • What gas station do you buy gas at? Why?
  • Where do you buy your clothes? Why?
  • What kind of breakfast cereal do you prefer? Why?
Think about what motivates you to make these decision.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

September 11 Remembrance

Ten years ago this week, four planes were hijacked and crashed into the Twin Towers in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and a field in Pennsylvania. Osama bin Laden was the financial backer behind this attack and 19 men from various countries in the Middle East carried out the attacks. As a result the United States passed the Patriot Act, attacked Afghanistan and later waged war with Iraq. While bin Laden is now dead, we still fight the two wars in the Middle East.

You were in 2nd grade when the attacks occurred. What were you doing when you first heard the news? What can you tell me about the attacks? Do you feel safe from terrorist attacks? Have the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq paid off? Do you have any other thoughts about 9/11 you would like to share? Where do we go from here?