Monday, June 18, 2012

2 Seconds Saved is 2 Seconds Earned

Today I actually felt awake when I woke up at 7:10. despite having woken up at 4 AM and 5 AM that same night. I headed over to the shower, where I didn't have to wait in line despite having only one shower for the 5 people in my suite. After almost forgetting all of my materials (it still hadn't dawned on me that we were taking a class) we headed off to Vernon-Wooley for breakfast. The food for breakfast was still as surprisingly decent as it was for dinner, although that didn't mean I would take a leap of faith and try the eggs. We gulped down our breakfasts, and then headed off to our Macroeconomics course.

It felt odd being back in a classroom again, despite the fact that school had ended only a week and a half ago for me. There were about 20 other students in the class, and I had absolutely no idea of what to expect regarding the course. Our teacher is Nick Coleman, who is in his 5th year towards getting a PhD in Economics. He seemed way more relaxed than anyone I would ever have hoped to have as a teacher, and he also was able to explain the many foreign concepts to me with ease. He introduced our T.A., a 3rd year PhD from Bulgaria, named Desi Byanova. Nick introduced the course and talked about the layout, and made it clear that people with all levels of interest could still take something from this course, which helped me realize that I won't be overloaded in this class, which I was afraid of. We quickly started learning some of the basics, and while I wasn't as out of the loop as I thought I would be, there were a lot of new concepts I found fascinating.

One interesting tidbit that Nick explained just because was regarding the penny, which I knew nothing about but which I was interested in, since the penny seems so useless today. Obviously, due to inflation, the penny used to be of some value a while ago, and about 60 years ago, if using it saved someone some time, then it would actually be useful. Now, however, a penny is worth 2 seconds of labor on average, meaning one would have to find a penny and pay for something with that penny in less than 2 seconds for it to be worth their while. I thought this was really interesting, and when you take that coupled with the fact that it costs 2.41 cents to make a penny in the first place, it's no wonder many people want to get rid of the penny.

Throughout the rest of the class we learned about efficiency versus equity, opportunity cost (where you take into account what you're giving up and how much time you're spending on top of the given price of an item), marginal decisions, markets and their equilibrium, and about the Production Possibility Frontier model. The whole lecture with some Q&A mixed in was enlightening, and if those are just the building blocks for the rest of the course, I can't wait to see what else Macroeconomics has in store for me.   

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