jookitcz: (Default)
Economics and the Environment:

In the late 1980s and through the 1990s, there was astonishingly effective international action taken against the production of CFCs, which were depleting the ozone layer.  This action was propelled by unanimous public concern, especially in the United States and Britain.  Ozone depletion was most severe at the poles--that is, closest to the world's most developed, most powerful, and most white countries.  It would be these countries that suffered most from the effects, not only because of their proximity but also because their skin pigmentation (and lack thereof) put them at higher risk for skin cancer.

Today, climate change is at least as much a threat as ozone depletion, maybe more, but there is no unanimity in the world's powerful countries to take definitive action to combat it. 

Interestingly, it will be the developing countries in the equatorial and southern latitudes that will be worst hit by the problems accompanying climate change, while richer countries possess economic resources sufficient to cushion the blow.

Coincidence?  Why be too scared, when the worst disasters will be hitting someone else?

On a different note, I have my schedule for next semester:

Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays:
10:00 Calculus III
11:00 Work, Wages, and Inequality
12:45 Management and Organization (MW only)
2:10 Modern Japan

Tuesdays, Thursdays
10:00 Calculus III (Tue only)
11:00 Principles of Finance
12:45 Costume Construction
2:10 Managerial Economics

Seven classes again.  Hopefully Costume Construction won't assign much homework?


Feb. 22nd, 2007 12:33 am
jookitcz: (the last unicorn)
I think I've reached critical mass as far as stress goes.  Between too many classes, too much time owned by Mock Trial, housing, money, job searching, and major rethinking, at some point in the last couple days something in my brain snapped, and was like, "Deal."  So I looked for scholarships, wrote a couple papers, did my Accounting homework, my Econ homework, my other Econ homework, triaged my reading assignments, and reduced my spending. 

I haven't updated for a while because my brain and emotions were wrapped up in handling the excess demand on their resources, and because a lot of that demand was unnecessary.  I get overwhelmed.  If I let myself be unconfident, if I get a stowaway my running inner narrative that says to me, "Oh, god, I can't do this," then the whole ship buckles.  At a couple points, I looked at the future and actually felt like there was no real need to live it.  It was just going to be mind-dulling and hateful, and I was always going to regret not going into a tangible, useful field like medicine or (eek) engineering.

Today Dr. Henrickson mentioned something I had forgotten.  I could get my doctorate in economics.  And something I hadn't considered, somehow.  I could teach economics, at a university.  Not many people get econ PhDs, apparently.  Apparently, there is demand.  It would be a fantastic job.  My dream job, maybe.  I've never actually had a dream job before.  But--why not?  It pays well enough, I would have some kind of creative license, I would get three months a year to do my own research and write papers, I would have influence...

Do you know what having a goal does?  It aligns everything that made you wonder, 'Why bother?'  It funnels all of the energy that was just flailing around into something useful, a mental bottle.  And nothing seems like it is too unfortunate to be borne. 

So this:  I plan on packing up and moving my Economics major to the School of Business, to be a concentration.  I plan on adding a major in Accounting, which will suck.  It might take me an extra semester to finish school.  I will probably be teased and will probably, at some point, have my feelings hurt, because I am not majoring in something deemed artistically acceptable.  Liberal arts majors do not hold people going to university solely to increase their human capital in high regard.

But in the long run, I'll be happy.  Which is why this entry gets the unicorn icon, because it is happy.  And I should maybe admit that I wrote an entry only so that I could use the icon, but making myself write a happy entry resulted in my being happy, so really, the Unicorn caused my happiness.

That just makes me happier.
jookitcz: (Default)
I'm considering inventing a new kind of vegetarianism, for myself.  I'm calling it, "Band-aid Vegetarianism."  Why?  I like vegetables okay, but I rarely think to myself, "Man, I could really go for some broccoli right now."  Actually, I do, but it's more along the lines of snap peas and artichokes for me.  And while I have a moral problem with the animals' quality of life in factory farms, I'm okay with raising animals to kill and eat in general.  I wouldn't want to do the killing myself, no, but if I had to kill to eat, I'm sure I would learn to be fine with it.  Occasionally.  I might hunt down all the vulnerable potato plants in the area first.

But not all meat is raised on traditional farms.  There are, it seems, "farms" that conform to this particular business model.  The article discusses a pork factory company in the southeastern United States that produces so much and such volatile waste that people fall in pools of chemical pig manure and dieThat's beside the enormous environmental damage.  In my mind, this is obviously an immoral use of land and animal, and causes more harm than fair. 

Smithfield estimates that its total sales will reach $11.4 billion this year. So prodigious is its fecal waste, however, that if the company treated its effluvia as big-city governments do -- even if it came marginally close to that standard -- it would lose money. So many of its contractors allow great volumes of waste to run out of their slope-floored barns and sit blithely in the open, untreated, where the elements break it down and gravity pulls it into groundwater and river systems. Although the company proclaims a culture of environmental responsibility, ostentatious pollution is a linchpin of Smithfield's business model.

A lot of pig shit is one thing; a lot of highly toxic pig shit is another. The excrement of Smithfield hogs is hardly even pig shit: On a continuum of pollutants, it is probably closer to radioactive waste than to organic manure.
It's an interesting article if you're feeling morbid.  Unconscionable to even dream of supporting of this monstrosity by chance, and beside the issue, livestock is a pretty inefficient way of feeding the human body.  The animals we eat need resources to support them, plus the food that the animals eat requires resources of its own.  And we sit on top of this ginormous inefficiency pyramid!  Well, if I want people to take me seriously, I mean, as an economics major, I can't let myself be tarred by that kind of inefficient... thing.   And  as for my Environmental Studies concentration, well, that goes without saying.  Vegetarianism of some kind might very well be crucial to my sense of proper scholarship.    I'm going to ignore the business minor for now. 

The problem is, I rather like meat.  In my mind, chicken is a kind of palette for gastronomic creativity, and red meat is just delicious.  But what if I just ate them for special occasions, or when I'm at home?  Thus, band-aid vegetarianism.

Lucky for my conscience, I hate pork.  Joseph Luter III, chairman of Smithfield, mentions, "Most vegetarians I know are neurotic."  I wonder if maybe it is impossible for anyone with a heightened social conscience to look at the world and not be a little neurotic?
jookitcz: (Default)
Sometimes, to relax, I like to trawl different blogs looking for posts of political/economic topics, like California's Proposition 87.  I like to read the comments.  For every liberal blogger who believes taxing oil at the site of production to invest in the development of alternative energy sources is a passably good idea, there are two hundred conservative economist-wannabes who snarl and swipe their claws, saying, "You only think the tax is a good idea because you understand nothing about economics."  My hobby is trying to pick apart the arguments with what I've learned and read about econ.

My favorite comment was this:

"'The cost of producing the oil has no impact on the market price, so the result of this new tax only affects the profits of the oil companies and not the price the consumer pays.'

Ah, taxes don't cost anything. So we might as well raise all taxes on everything to 100,000,000,000% and grant ourselves all free starships."

And I was all... dude.  You don't even make sense.  Costing nothing and not raising the market price are two completely seperate animals.  The cost would go to the oil companies, who would pay the tax and lose some of that healthy profit margin.  Then the markets would determine the price.  The only way prices would go up would be if the tax caused such a great loss that the oil companies collectively decided to supply less oil to the market.  Which, as long as they were still making big profits (and they would be) they wouldn't do.

While on one hand this makes me feel rather clever, on the other, I get a little depressed about how people will fiercely defend wrong opinions, and a little worried about how they sound convincing, just because their tone does not allow for any uncertainty. 

"The world doesn't need saving. Even if you accept a link between carbon emissions and increasing global temperatures - and I remain to be convinced that there is - we'll move away from carbon-based fuels in the fullness of time, in the same way we stopped using horses and steam trains as principal modes of transport.

Instead, Mr. Bing should spend his money on independant double-blind research into climate change to establish the real facts (whatever they may be) in order that governments make informed decisions instead of these knee-jerk reactions which have worrying implications for all of us."

Considering that it's been rather proven, my brain cried over this guy.  Steve Bing, by the way, is producer of The Polar Express, and was heir to rather a lot of money.  Much of it, as in the ten-millions range, he is donating to get Proposition 87 passed.  I personally think it's rather bad form to tell someone what they should do with their money when they are already giving it away.  Even if it's just in a comment thread.  It makes you look like a jerk, on top of being behind the times on the global warming thing.

And now back to accounting.
jookitcz: (Default)
I suspect that as soon as classes proper ended, my cold knew it could take advantage of me. I'm sleepy all the time, and I've been acutely aware of how uncomfortable college life is. Desk chairs, for example, suck. I badly want to stretch out on my bed to read. Couches are too communal and too narrow, cheap hammock chairs don't allow for stretching, and my poor cot is too close to the ceiling to be anything except a sleeping place.

Not that I'm scorning sleep. Far from it. My body keeps telling me that ten hours of sleep a night plus judicial day-dozing will juice up my immune system. Who am I to disagree?

I want guaranteed hot showers. I want the variety of food of a four-person household. I want that freedom from social awkwardness that comes with being surrounded by only family or the closest of friends. My streak of introversion has taken over me this semester, and I'm a little frightened of people with vague expectations for me. I know I handle this badly; I've done my best to avoid situations that leave me uncomfortable, but there is a point where my shoulder economist whispers, "You can go ahead and give up all your comfort, but you'll only meet par. And baby, nobody's gonna thank you, because you're doing no one any favors."

Shoulder Economist almost always wins his arguments. He wears a funny hat.
jookitcz: (Default)
Spanish pirates attacking and kiss scenes and swelling orchestral music in black and white--I found the film of Captain Blood when I was trawling the Foley library for A Doll's House.  Anthony Hopkins makes a very disagreeable Torvald.  Unlike Dr. Peter Blood, he has no charm nor class, and lacks the uncanny ability to see his way through to the end of his plot struggles.  Peter Blood is a deus ex machina in and out of himself.  The plot stands no chance against his keen intellect and sparkling dialogue.  It swoons in the face of Errol Flynn's dimples. 

Wikipedia untangles a mystery: "In like Flynn" refers to Errol Flynn's success in romantic endeavors. 

I heart Wikipedia.  Does that make me a polyamorist?

Because it's edited by so many different people.  Haha.

I'm way sleepy.  You may notice.  Unfortunately, the System means that I register for classes at midnight + one minute.  And there are only two places left in Economics of Environmental Protection, but I swear, if I have to murder an upperclassman, I will get into that class.  It has been the light at the end of this semester's academic tunnel.  It is the only thing that makes me drag myself from Statistics to Accounting to Business Management Information Systems as my brain slowly liquifies and drains out my ears.

Brain juice dripping down the sides of my neck.  It's terribly embarassing. 

Economics of Environmental Protection.  Say it with me.  It combines the two things I love best about the world.  And it's so alliterative, and multisyllabic.  Like three little sets of bells.  Mmmm.  And the professor is supposed to be fantastic.  Environmental Economics is his focus.  Maybe he'll be my advisor.  Six more minutes.  If I don't get in, I'm totally writing a letter of plea.  And plaguing the registrar's office.  And complaining to everyone who will come near me sans headphones because--

Three more minutes.

Come on, baby.

  Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, FUCK.

My life has become a black pit of despair. 


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July 2010

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