Random Sunday Brunch Aftermath Thoughts.

It was a disastrous day. Completely beautiful in nature and the nightmare of a slaving waitress at one of the most popular restaurants in Washington.

Current Facebook Status:

Awesome day. Round of applause. Did you feed your American baby gut enough waffles today sir or would you like to donate the rest to feed all of Africa? Diet Coke? Good choice. You must be watching your figure. 25 separate checks? Nooooo PROBLEM.

Bitter?

I began walking home, feet swelled and blistered, strength dwindling and all mental capacities obliterated. Just as I began to think all hope was lost for any contentment for the rest of my day, I found a man holding a baby puppy to his face in his front yard. The puppy was teething and several people stopped to goo goo all over him. So did I!

After that I began to think, in this economy, as bad as it’s making our lives miserable–perhaps like the miserable feeling I had coming out of work today– I wonder how the puppy market is doing. It was the one thing that gave me a genuine smile today after the painful drag of trying to make money.

I looked up the numbers, and just as I had hoped, the puppy market is UP! This year, in 2009, the numbers have increased and more adoptions are taking place! Shelters are accrediting it to new marketing techniques by shelters. I, however, believe that depressed people need something to come home to that makes them forget about their long day.  Here’s a quote from zootoo.com/petnews:

The Austin Humane Society, in Austin, Texas, has also benefited from thinking outside the box. The city shelter has seen a 12 percent increase in adoptions over the past year, says Marketing Director Lisa Starr.

“We’ve increased from 2007 to 2008 and 2009 is looking very good as well,” Starr told ZT Pet News.

Last month, the shelter facilitated around 300 adoptions, nearly 30 more than it did in January 2008..

…….

The Friendship Animal Protective League, in Elyria, Ohio, doesn’t have a major metropolitan area to fall back on, like the Austin and Tallahassee shelters do. Yet it still continues to maintain a “steady rate of adoptions,” according to shelter supervisor Denise Willis.

http://www.zootoo.com/petnews/adoptionsupsheltersdefyeconomi-1169 

I’m kind of too tired to look up overall statistics including breeders, but I look up expenditures overall, and expenditures are estimated higher, even with the glooming economy and deflation:

Total U.S. Pet Industry Expenditures

Year                 Billion

2009                 $45.4 Est.

2008                 $43.2

2007                 $41.2
2006                 $38.5 
2005                 $36.3
2004                 $34.4
2003                 $32.4
2002                 $29.5
2001                 $28.5
1998                 $23
1996                 $21
1994                 $17

(The following spending statistics are gathered by APPA from various market reseach sources and are not included in the organization’s bi-annual National Pet Owners Survey.)    

I think I’m on to something here.

In a nutshell, depressed people and families need friends.

Let me know what you think…puppy

Profit Maximizing…(*Under the condition that you’re not unconditional).

Apologies for my lackadaisical blogging lately. I’m not sure how many people will actually enjoy my rants and abstract ideas…nonetheless my own personal expectations of myself have given me reason to apologize to everyone that does find this somewhat interesting. Classes, jobs, and social excuses are involved.

I’ve been doing a little thinking about the basics. My first theory was a leap and jump to development theory, and perhaps, for everyone who does not worship economics like a puppy dog with glossy eyes, I should pull back the reigns. Myrdal clearly wasn’t too difficult to understand–completely qualitative and simply a no-brainer– but development theory doesn’t come packaged nicely into macroeconomics 100. It’s not like I’m even trying to say I’m a genius here, either. Myrdal is clearly one of my favorites, simply for the fact that he is ambiguous and non quantitative in general. Word on the street says he got a lot of crap for that though.

People are Profit Maximizers.

I’m going to explain this assumption in the simple terms that it appears. People are profit maximizers. This means that businesses want the most profits that they can receive for the amount of input they put in, i.e. labor, capital. This assumption is further used for explaining the production function that compares the outputs of a firm in comparison to its inputs, further leading up to supply and demand–the quantity produced by a business versus quantity that people demand of what they’re selling, which becomes relative to the price.

I hear your blah blah blahs you non-econ fans.

Here’s the graph, if you dare to interpret what I’m getting at.

https://i2.wp.com/www.transwebtutors.com/economics/images/Technology_04.gif

The curvy line and it’s point on the graph means that this spot is where you will find the most profits for how much you put in and how much you put out. Notice how the curve levels off…  Which means there’s a maximum amount of money you can make for what you continue to put into producing it.

So, the question I ask is, are we all profit maximizers? And what does that mean in terms of my personal, emotional, and social decision making in my small-scale personal life?

Let’s think about profit maximizing in terms of our quality of life. There’s a running assumption in the American culture that if you put in an amount of effort into this world, you will obviously get something out of it. We go to school and put in the time to study so that we can eventually be hired (also known as investment). We spend an hour cleaning the house because we wish to benefit from feeling comfortable in a clean environment.

In the profit maximizing assumption though, we put in an amount of something because in the end, we think we’re going to exceed that input. We’re going to get more out of it than we put in. After all, why have an incentive to do anything if we didn’t have the idea that every year we’d be more successful than the last? Maximizing means using tools, putting in the effort, and getting as much as we can out of it.

I want to take this idea and apply it to the concept of relationships. Let’s take this massive, crazy word called “love.” This is one hefty concept. I am studying to be an economist and already trying to criticize or insult profit maximizing–the one assumption we’re supposed to brand onto ourselves  like a permanent tattoo.

..beh,..screw it.

In Chinese, the character for “love” is https://i2.wp.com/www.chinese-page.com/chinese_character_tattoos/love.gif, pronounced “ai.” The top part of the character represents an open hand, and the very bottom criss-cross represents a closed hand. The straight line with the slanted diagonal in the middle represents the sign for equality. In essence, the symbol all together means “the equality between the art of giving and receiving.” I am a fan of the Chinese character, because I think that love is one part of our lives that cannot be considered a rational profit maximizer. I see love as a constant, in which we are not looking to give and get more out of. We simply desire that what we give is what we get back…Or do we even do that?

There are a thousand theories attached to the concept of love. The literature is overwhelming, contradictory, and infinite. It seems we all have our own personal perceptions of love. Some maintain a belief that out of two people, there is the giver and the receiver, where a relationship is built on one heart naturally giving more than the other, and that there is no such thing as perfect equality. In the human element this can be very true. Equality may not even exist. It’s so unpredictable. If you ask me, it’s a hell of a mess.

My realistic approach rests on the idea that we all want something out of our input. However, love seems to be one of the only human elements that does not require a profit, or perhaps, as the “giver/receiver” model explains, not even an equal balance of return. That seems irrational doesn’t it? Well, there you go. It’s love. It’s the only thing we can’t explain.

This type of human behavior in economics is why they have to assume things that aren’t always true in the real world. There are simply things that we cannot explain. Love is why we will our profitable, booming corporate business to our son that lives at home and didn’t go to college as opposed to the qualified guy who applied with a doctorate. Love is why others leave their successful job to care for a child. Love is why someone will move to the Fiji Islands with their surfer boyfriend to work at a minimart earning minimum wage and living in a cardboard box. Love is why we give to someone else in general, in hopes that this giving will reciprocate the “happiness” factor of our quality of life. Most people make rational decisions and are influenced by economical and social constraints. Economics loves those kinds of people. On the other hand, there’s a handful of us that do believe in a thing called love, which comes with sacrifice.

My last blog dealt with relationships in terms of negative outcomes leading to others, which turns out cycling back to the beginning cause. This simple idea of irrational decision-making is how we let ourselves enter that cycle in the first place.  It’s a relationship imbalance that began with a sacrifice, a possible expectation to receive something in return, and its outcome, without clear explanation of its origins.

Thus, let us always remind ourselves that profit maximizing is conditional. Every time we assume that we are profit maximizers, let us add an asterisk next to it saying, ” this also relinquishes the vague and irrational complexity of  love, by all means.”  https://i2.wp.com/www.dustindiaz.com/archives/asterick.gif

Through this blog I will attempt to demonstrate how a graph can, at least qualitatively, demonstrate the possibilities of explaining human interaction. Love as a whole though, can remain our universal phenomena that’ll for all I know keep running circles in our hearts and minds.

-Virginia

(Look, even the jobs trends for love consultants are freaking haywire. Even more supports the point that you probably shouldn’t base a career on this kind of thing…)

http://www.simplyhired.com/a/jobtrends/graph/q-Love+Consultant/t-line

Myrdal’s Drop Kick Solution

Everything can be put into a graph. Humans constructed the graph to see things more plainly–the reality of it all. We can look at data sets, we can stare blankly at the numbers before our eyes… And we think to ourselves….Damn. There has to be an easier way. Numbers, and mathematics, statistics, data…Life. We gather data like we gather our life-long memories, or day-to-day actions in our minds. But the big picture says it all, doesn’t it?crisis

Hence, the graph.

I will randomly on this blog show you how your life can be easily explained by some theory of economics. Whether it’s through supply and demand or discount rate, I’m going to try and put it into something we can all see, and say to ourselves, “Well. I’m a policy maker in every personal decision I make, and with good empirical evidence put into something I can easily understand, I can decide how I wish to live my life.”

Cumulative Causationimages2

Thank you Gunnar Myrdal. Your theory, though extremely ambiguous and whether we believe it all or not (which I do), has shown me how to drop kick a problem before it causes another, solving my own personal life issues in practical ways. 

fignov1

Our dear Swedish Economist embedded the idea of the  “vicious cycle” in less developed countries. We learned that there were many other factors that were involved other than demand and supply.  

             We’ve often thought in economics that the idea of an equilibrium was what we really were working for.This theory was meant to stabilize economic factors. But sometimes working towards an equilibrium is an impossible way to handle our lives. It might work in chemistry, or what we wish to pay when we buy bread, but why work for consistency and bliss (the equilibrium) that may never in fact be possible? I can’t remember the last time when I didn’t have one single problem with my life.

Buddha has told us, “Every man in his life has 83 problems. Why work at our lives thinking we need to solve all of them?” An equilibrium is bliss, and in our day to day lives, no matter who we are, perfection for the human being has been impossible. What makes us think our markets could be that way? And if there’s good coming out of the market, why stabilize it? I’ll always want more of a good thing!

cumuleffects_blocks2Nonetheless, I’m not one for waiting around to see if good comes naturally. I don’t try to solve all of my problems, but I can easily see when one causes another, and another, and another. Which gives me my 83+ problems.

Myrdal’s theory shows us that when there’s an inequality, or problem in relation to it, it produces “backwash effects” and “spread effects.”n1a4fig21When there is poverty, there are no savings. When there are no savings, there is no investment. When there is no investment, there is no productivity. When there is no productivity, there is no way to make money. When there is no way to make money, there is poverty. And the cycle continues.

I now want you to think of any abusive relationship you’ve ever had. Whether it’s been a friend, a boyfriend, girlfriend, business partner, coworker, boss, family member… Any relationship that you have felt unjustly minimized for any reason.cycle_of_abuse

It starts with one problem, and it leads to another, and another…etc.. and you find a vicious cycle driving you into the ground, jaded, angry, or perhaps, lost for what to do. This is when policy MUST happen.

I say this with the best intentions. Drop kick. You have to have a loud, boisterous, value judgement. You can’t weasel your way out of a problem with subtle adjustments. They’ve got to be large, and you have to be willing to risk anything on that vicious cycle to turn it around, and have it work its way up again. Not to an equilibrium of bliss. All we want to see is spiral that goes upward, and continues in that direction.

So, when you have a dilemma, and things just keep getting undesirably worse, and your life becomes more unbearable in that situation, you must find a way to drastically change it, or you’re digging yourself a pretty hole to hell.

We only have one life. Put your problem in a graph, and see how to fix it.indian-growth-graph-best1

The Light of a Bottle of Intelligent Wine.

 

1

Pablo Neruda’s “Ode to Wine” was the source of this blog’s title. The possibilities of life to chase flows of ups and downs, with an irresistible urge to reach the perfect equilibrium, haunts our very essence. The humanism in our visions of perfection is so peculiar, and, as I see it, frankly impossible– considering the constant wonder and change that we experience every second of our waking and dreaming lives.   wine2_fullThe source of this blog is the brimming curve: the point at which things spill over… Lines, waves, trends, ellipses, emotions, slopes… The way the world works is always found at some brim or curvature of a glass, exactly where the spillovers of what we can and cannot predict are found. 

Economics, development, human nature, mind, heart, culture, and the simple action of being alive will all be discussed in this blog. Finding a way to connect these elements is reality. Crises, war, passion, pain, hunger, and our capacities to understand them; this is what the unbounded waves of life bring us. We can choose to see them periodically barrel in and wash away, or we can run out, splash around, and try to grasp the liquid that wraps around our bodies and finds its way through our fingertips.

dakini

As for the wine, Pablo Neruda embodies it as a desirable woman–the beauty in her curves, the spirits of her hair, the illumination of love, passion, and a wild rumble in his soul. Maybe in this effort we, too, can find ways to embrace the world that “illuminate our senses, the earthly splendor of life.”

winewoman