Activity Are Disasters Good for the Economy?

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Activity Are Disasters Good for the Economy?. Directions: Distribute the clues so that each person is holding at least one clue. Clues #1-4: Black Death, #5-8: Spanish Flu, #9-10: Hurricane Katrina - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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  • ActivityAre Disasters Good for the Economy?Directions: Distribute the clues so that each person is holding at least one clue.Clues #1-4: Black Death, #5-8: Spanish Flu, #9-10: Hurricane KatrinaShare the clues in a round-robin fashion, putting each clue into one of the following piles:Relevant to solving the problemNot helpful in solving the problemNot sureAnswer the question: ARE disasters good for the economy?Determine the least # of clues necessary to answer the question.Be prepared to defend your answer & clue selection.

  • Table of ContentsIntroductionDisasters AddendumLesson 1: Are Disasters Good for the Economy?Lesson 2: When Disaster Strikes, What Can Markets Do?Lesson 3:When Disaster Strikes, What Can Government Do?Lesson 4: When Disaster Strikes, What Can We Do?Lesson 5:Teaching about Disasters

  • Are Disasters Good for the Economy?

    NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!Lesson 1: HalifaxDec 1917Great Ice StormJan 1998Hurricane JuanSept 2003

  • Scarcity ISResources are limitedResources are necessary for production (output resources)Disasters increase resource scarcity (disasters destroy land, labor &/or capital)Output must be lower than it would have been had the disaster not occurred GDP

  • Activity Clue #9:J.P. Morgan senior economist Anthony Chan: "Preliminary estimates indicate 60 percent damage to downtown New Orleans. Plenty of cleanup work and rebuilding will follow in all the areas. That means over the next 12 months, there will be lots of job creation, which is good for the economy."

  • Terminology & Measurement: What do we mean by the economy? 2 options output = real GDPwell-being or standard of living = real GDP/capitaoreconomic growth: increase in real GDP &/or real GDP/capita

    ???? Confusion ???? : Did he mean level or rate?What Is Poverty & Who Are the Poor?Is Capitalism Good for the Poor? www/fte.org/capitalism

  • Level vs. Rate

  • Economic Growth pre & post DisasterRate?Level?

    QD

    TimeD Output bottom disaster B

  • Economic Growth:Rate?Level?

    QD

    TimeD ROutput disaster recovery

  • Economic Growth:Rate?Level?When ?

    Q

    TimeOutput

  • Economic Growth:Rate?Level?When ?

    Q

    TimeOutput

  • Economic GrowthNO Evidence for this Scenario

    Q

    TimeOutput

  • Activity Clue #9:J.P. Morgan senior economist Anthony Chan: "Preliminary estimates indicate 60 percent damage to downtown New Orleans. Plenty of cleanup work and rebuilding will follow in all the areas. That means over the next 12 months, there will be lots of job creation, which is good for the economy."

  • Models: Tools of Economic ReasoningProduction Possibilities Frontier (PPF)Assumptions of the Model:All resources are used to produce the 2 categories of products on the X and Y axesAt all points on the curve, all resources are fully employed, given the available technology. (we choose from the possibilities)x

  • Models: Tools of Economic ReasoningProduction Possibilities Frontier (PPF)Assumptions of the Model:Technological improvements or the discovery of new resources makes more production possible. The curve moves out, to the right.

    Destruction of resources or technology makes less production possible; the curve moves in and down, to the left.

  • Productivity: output per unit of input { human capital, physical capital } skills & talents education training buildings machines & tools technology

  • Labor Productivity: output per person-hourEffect of population change in economy with little capital {availability of capital}

  • ratio fallsratio risesCapital to Labor Ratio

  • ratio fallsratio rises

  • ratio fallsratio rises

  • ratio fallsratio rises

  • ratio fallsratio rises

  • ratio fallsratio rises

  • ratio fallsratio rises

  • Are Disasters Good for the Economy?

    NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!Resources are destroyedTotal output ( real GDP) fallsThe PPF always shrinks:

  • Why Might Disasters SEEM To BeGood for the Economy?

    economic well-being - standard of living (real GDP/capita) When capital to labor ratios rise, real GDP/capita may rise even as total real GDP falls

  • Activity Clue #9:J.P. Morgan senior economist Anthony Chan: "Preliminary estimates indicate 60 percent damage to downtown New Orleans. Plenty of cleanup work and rebuilding will follow in all the areas. That means over the next 12 months, there will be lots of job creation, which is good for the economy."

    Questions to Ask:Is this a credible source?If so, are the standards for comparison specified?(What are you measuring?)

  • Frdric BastiatThere is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen.

  • What Is Seen and What Is Not SeenEconomic Sophisms, 1845The Broken Window FallacySuppose James Goodfellows son breaks a window?

  • "It's an ill wind that blows nobody some good. Such accidents keep industry going. Everybody has to make a living. What would become of the glaziers if no one ever broke a window?"

  • . . . Suppose that it will cost six francs to repair the damage. . . . The glazier will come, do his job, receive six francs, congratulate himself, and bless in his heart the careless child. That is what is seen.

    But if, by way of deduction, you conclude, as happens only too often, that it is good to break windows, that it helps to circulate money, that it results in encouraging industry in general, I am obliged to cry out: That will never do! Your theory stops at what is seen. It does not take account of what is not seen.

  • It is not seen that if he had not had a windowpane to replace, he would have replaced, for example, his worn-out shoes or added another book to his library.

    Let us next consider industry in general. The window having been broken, the glass industry gets six francs' worth of encouragement; that is what is seen.

    If the window had not been broken, the shoe industry (or some other) would have received six francs' worth of encouragement; that is what is not seen.

  • Frdric Bastiat. . . Destruction is not profitable.

  • We know this has to be fishy just by asking: Would there have been even greater "economic good" had the terrorists succeeded in destroying buildings in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston and all other major cities? Of course, you and I know that is utter nonsense. Property destruction always lowers the wealth of a nation. I hope one of Krugman's students asks him, "If property destruction is good for the economy, why aren't Beirut and Belfast boom towns? Walter Williams, George Mason University http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/williams100401.asp

    He Should Know Better:"Ghastly as it may seem to say this, the terror attack . . . could do some economic good." [. . . destruction will stimulate the economy through business investment in rebuilding] . Paul Krugman, Princeton University New York Times, Sept. 14, 2001Bastiat Hasnt Been Forgotten:

  • "If property destruction is good for the economy, why aren't Beirut and Belfast boom towns?

  • Are Disasters Good for the Economy?

    1. How do we measure non-tangible human loss?

  • Are Disasters Good for the Economy?

    2. How do we measure what might-have-been?Disaster casualties immediate AND future losses

  • Julian SimonPaul Ehrlich

  • The Ultimate Resource Is Human Intelligence in a Free Society Julian Simon[The] . . . more people there are, the more minds that are working to discover new sources and increase productivity. . . .

  • Knowledge & ProductivityThe source of . . . improvements in productivity is the human mind, and a human mind is seldom found apart from a human body. And because improvements their invention and their adoption come from people, the amount of improvement plainly depends on the number of people available to use their minds. (Simon, The Ultimate Resource 2, 372)

  • Productivity & Population[The] data show clearly that the bigger the population of a country, the greater the number of scientists and the larger the amount of scientific knowledge produced; more specifically . . . scientific output is proportional to population size, in countries at the same level of income.(Simon, The Ultimate Resource 2, 380, 385)

  • Not Just Rocket Science . . .. . . The main contribution that additional persons make to society is the new knowledge of all kinds scientific, organizational, and everyday knowledge . . . that they create and leave behind them. And to repeat an earlier statement, these gains are the result not only of geniuses but of a real number of work-a-day ingenious people. (Simon, Ultimate Resource 2, 380 & 385)

  • Not Everyone Is Hurt By DisastersNational Voluntary Content Standards in Economics:Standard 15, Benchmark, Grade 12: Economic growth creates new employment and profit opportunities in some industries, but growth reduces opportunities in others.

    Translation: Economic change creates winners and losers.Fallacy of Composition: To erroneously assume that what is true of the whole is true of an individual

  • And the Winners Are . . .

  • The Big Ideas from Lesson 1Disaster-related economic change creates losses for some and opportunities for others.Disasters do increase scarcity and reduce output.While the rate of economic growth during disaster recovery may exceed that before the disaster, it proceeds from a lower level.

    *What do these curves show? (rate = rise over run) Which has faster rate?*****Want to emphasize the amount of capital available to labor*Want to emphasize the amount of capital available to labor*

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