What Supply and Demand Does NOT Address

“Supply and demand” is a common response to many economic discussions. However, it is only PART of the discussion. There are MANY MANY MANY factors at play. NOT JUST supply and demand.

Last night I had a great (though short) discussion  with a peer about political candidates and the economy. One of the topics (BRIEFLY) discussed was the unemployment/underemployment of college graduates. His solution was to reduce the number of college graduates because … you guessed it … supply and demand.

He is right. If we reduced the number of college graduates available for businesses to hire, businesses will have to offer the graduates available more. Yet, something nags at me. Something is screaming at me that this is a bad idea. Part of my peer’s argument was that if we continue to increase the number of college graduates, they will continue to get less and less because the supply would be greater than the demand. Thus, we should NOT make college more affordable and accessible for the masses.

Yet, something nags at me. Something is screaming at me that this is a bad idea. That something is all other causes and effects. Yes, one of the effects of having a large college educated population is reduced “reward” for that education. Yet, there is more to it.

Do you know what else is a result of having a large educated (college or otherwise) population? All the benefits of education. You have people making a better contribution to society and making it a better place. You have people making gadgets and gizmos. You have people increase the efficiency of operations. You have people using personal, group, or public resources to improve the environment. You have a happier society.

Increasing the education of the population may reduce the individual rewards, but it also increases the societal rewards. I recall hearing a comparison of today’s economy with yesteryear’s. The comparison goes something like the rich of yesteryear would be the poor of today.

That comparison reminds me of this discussion. A college education may not grant the same social-economic advantage as it did in yesteryear, but today’s society-economy is more advanced than yesteryear. Thus, progress and stuff.

In conclusion, supply and demand is not the entire answer. It is only part of the answer. What are other parts can you think of?

Business Women and the Challenges for Minorities in the Business World — Commentary on an Article

Fundraising While Female: Women Entrepreneurs and VCs On How to Bridge The Gender Gap by Clare O’Connor a Forbes Staff member

This article has a some great advice. My favorite is if you have no idea what you would do if someone wrote you a million dollar check, it is too early to fundraise. My least favorite is “Look for ways to be unimpeachably good,” said by Sarah Kunst.

This advice upsets me, not because it is ‘wrong,’ but because it is true. An old saying, [insert minority group here] have to work twice as hard as white men to be seen half as good. This is a sad reality. Now before you get your panties in a bunch, we all understand that the ratio is not 4:1 (twice for half). However, minorities are hardly ever seen as the equal of the non-minority for equal work.

Once I spoke out about this inequality in a college class and the instructor had the audacity to tell me that there wasn’t a discrepancy between the pay of men and women and when asking for a raise I should bring up the fact that I am a woman and use that to my advantage. HELLO!

If I have to blackmail my employer for a pay raise by crying sexism in order to get the raise, the gender gap still exists… or I am a poor employee. We as a society should not have use our minority status in order to get equal footing. However, until we can get equal footing without it, inequality will remain a problem.

To eliminate the whitewash, each minority group has its own disadvantages, and if you are part of multiple minority groups, the issues compound. Are you a female? Strike! Are you anything but white? Strike! Are you a foreigner? Strike! Do you have an accent ? Strike! Are you not a citizen? Strike!

There are so many things that  can be held against you. Our society needs to recognize this so that we can overcome it. The good news is that there are many people who have. We have many social scientists that recognize that we all have bias and have discovered ways we can overcome our own bias. The bad news is that there are many people who refuse to recognize their own bias.

It is disturbing that minorities have to work harder and be better to be recognized as equals, competitors, and such.

What advice gets your panties in bunch? What do you think can be done to eliminate bias and discrimination?

Leading Employers: Local vs National

A few decades ago, GM was the largest employer in America — so I have been told and I am lazy and don’t want to look it up.
Today, Walmart is the largest employer in America — so I have been told and I am lazy and don’t want to look it up.

The problem that people propose is that when GM was the largest employer, people were paid well on average and the their was a large middle class. Since Walmart does not pay well on average, it is one of the causes of the decline in purchasing power of the middle class — among other issues.

My thought is this…. America is HUGE. Like super huge. Though I agree with the premise of this argument, there are additional factors at play. Yes, having a low wage employer dominate the job market does affect the quality of the middle class. That is on the macroeconomic scale. There is also the microeconomic scale.

You may or may not be aware that there are several magazines (FORBES being one of them) that publish on occasion Best/Worst Cities in America for Business/Middle Class/Whatever.

A single company is the leading employer in a nation because it has multiple locations. As the leading employer, its average wages does affect the national economy; however, that company is not necessarily the leading employer on a local level.

On a local scale, a manufacturer, bank, or other higher paying company may be the leading employer. Those companies have far fewer locations thus have far fewer employees than the nationally leading employer. This local leading employers have a greater impact on the economy.

During our fight reduce income inequality, we must identify our local leading employers and insure their feet are held to the fire too. This does not take from the social responsibilities for a company like Walmart.

Who is the leading employer in your area? What is their average wage?

Tips of Ending Poverty: #2 Reflect Productivity

You don’t want to bust your a$$ making someone else rich while you go no where. Do not make others do that for you either.

Why do so many people want to or do start their own business? There are so many reasons why people want to own and/or run a business. Get rich. Make their own hours. Answer to no one, but themselves. Stick to The Man. All these reasons and more, can be summed up with the fact that they are tired of working all the time and getting nowhere real quick.

A rare few start a business because they have a new idea to take to market. We aren’t talking about those individuals.

It is awesome that people have the gumption to start their own business. It is great fuel for our economy. However, it is despicable that people are motivated to venture out on their own because they are not being properly compensated.

It has been a while since I have looked at the numbers, so bare with me on this. Off the top of my head, productivity has doubled since 1970-ish. Since then the average household income has stagnated.

To put it simply, pay your employees what they are worth–which isn’t always in line with what the market pays them.

A random morning thought: childhood education

What if there are some teachers accidentally teaching our youngsters to not be ambitious?

During my childhood, I recall some teachers would allow bonus work and others would not. The teachers that did not allow bonus work would say they didn’t want the extra work, though a few claimed it did not reflect the “real world.” I also recall some teachers not allowing late work for the same reasons.

I propose that by not allowing late work or bonus work, teachers are inadvertently teaching our children to not be successful. During my short time in the “real world” I find that employers do allow late work – at a cost – and they LOVE bonus work.

Employers would rather you complete your work late than not at all. However, if you make a habit of it, you will be fired.

Also, employers want their employees to be ambitious and take on additional responsibilities and learn new skills. That is the easiest way to get raises and promotions.

I wish we would pay our teachers more. I wish we would not overburden them with too many classes. I wish we had smaller class sizes. I wish many wonderful things for our teachers. If our teachers had better working conditions, imagine our children’s learning environment. Yes, there are many children who each year over come their circumstances. However, I implore you, imagine the child who had to overcome these small obstacles, you know, the one who became successful. What if instead, he were able to use the that drive to better society.

Unfortunately, we all have multi-lemmas (trilemma, dilemma, etc). We have multiple wants and needs, yet we can only satisfy some of them. What if a child wants to improve his or her family’s economic standing, but also wants to improve the economic standing of society as a whole? Not everyone can do both. After all, there are other needs that eat up our time as well.

It takes more than ambition to have the capability of handling multiple large wants-needs at a time. … also, there are many lessons what we all want our children to learn, and teachers can only do so much. We as a society need to work together in order to create the best environment for our children. We as a society need to work together to create the best world for us to live. All I am saying is that treating our teachers better would be a great start.

Ramble over.