It Is What It Is!

I want to tell you a story about a most remarkable man, Bo Frolchenko. There will be scant links to economics but read it anyhow. It's a story about hard work, intent of purpose, success, honour, and love. Bo is one of my best friends and his life can indeed teach us something. He was born in 1947 and spent his tender first years in a German refugee camp. You guessed it; life was not a rose bed. He and his family ...

Core concepts/principles

This post is primarily aimed at the IB1 crowd. Right about now you should be well along your Frustration Curve - it looks something like this over the first year:   Should be fairly self-explanatory but maybe a few words about where you are heading. Your first tests should be reasonably straightforward - let's face it, we are not rocket surgeons - and you should be able to deal with supply, demand, markets and elasticities with reasonable confidence. The initial shell-shock, and ...

Final call

Well, you have a few days left and then you will be sitting in rows of other economists, clock ticking, stern invigilator pitter-pattering about...and you have a few hours during which to prove your worth as an economist. How lucky I was to have a school system, Swedish, with no external exams! I could never have done what we now ask of you - and I have often pointed out to my students what a terrible student I myself was. ...

Read your textbook first

It has escaped none of my students that our subject is a 'composite' subject - including (but in no ways limited to!) mathematics, history, political science, statistics and...well, stories. I always try to get across that the ability to become a good economist rests on two foundations; 1. good solid understanding of basic concepts and terms, and; 2. skills such as underpinning arguments, finding flaws with economic reasoning and simply being clear in putting forward economic scenarios both verbally and ...

Last minute…

I'm having an interesting day. One of the Picts (look this up) I customarily hang out with for after-school grap juice (fermented) apparently decided to yank me back to reality after a three-day weekend by way of a perky good morning note: Shades of Adam Smith Then it turns out (no, I don't read memos) that the IB2 crowd are off (and with any luck, home studying - god knows some of them need it) and the IB1 crowd is apparently spending ...

Extended essay start-up

At every school I've worked at, the English and business/economics departments have accounted for at least one third of all extended essay (EE) titles. It makes sense; these two disciplines lend themselves easily to the study of a very broad cross-section of society - not that I personally could say anything insightful about Moby Dick or Eric Blair. OK Leo, you may write in the subject of your choice.  This is always something of a problem for the business/economics departments, for two ...

Coming up on IA final deadline…

Around this time of year we - students and teachers - are getting close to maximum stress levels. Syllabi need finishing prior to mocks, revision schedules need polishing, extended essay (EE) covers are being handed out for signing - and Internal Assessment (IA) portfolios are being compiled so that teachers can submit grades and ultimately IA samples for external moderation. This is 20% of your final grade so it might be worth your while to put a few extra minutes into ...

Price discrimination online

Most of you students are pretty 'switched on' in terms of what we old people still marvel at; the Internet. You have never lived in a world without internet - which is pretty much what my dad said (he was born in 1928) to me about TV. No, relax, this is not going to be some sort of rant about taking things for granted or any sentence starting with "...young people today..." I am a big fan of technology and ...

New rule – old problem; rent ceiling

Around about this time during IB1, students should be well into the various forms of government intervention that are included in the IB syllabus. For micro economics, these include (indirect) taxes, subsidies, maximum prices and minimum prices. You may rest assured that at least one of these will be the subject of an exam question for you! During the summer, Berlin became the first German city to implement rent controls, e.g. a maximum rent on inner-city housing in Berlin. The basic ...

Eternal City

As the recently passed away Yogi Berra would say: "No matter where you go, there you are!" Undersigned has just moved from Shanghai to Rome (the one in Italy, not USA) and after some three months of living out of suitcases, I now have a place to put my collection of watches. Yes, home it is. I've been here a few weeks and am overcome by how incredibly lovely the Romans are! Warm humour and generosity of spirit are defining characteristics ...