Monday, September 14, 2009


One of the first things that I took away from a beginning economic course was the study of economics does not equal the study of money and banking. The study of economics is the study of human choices. Each person has their own idea of what is worth something and they make decisions out of this idea. The articles only served to drive this point home, especially the one about incentives and opportunity cost.
I liked the ending line, "Perhaps every man has his price." I would say "I would do just about anything to save the life of a child," except I think that statement would more accurately read "I will do anything to save the life of a child." To me, the life of a child is more important that anything in my life or even my life. The "cost" of losing that child is greater than the "cost" of losing my own life. I'll pick the "cheaper" option- take my life. (This hasn't been tested, mind you, I'm still here. The opportunity has not presented itself, so I am assuming my response based on what I know about myself.)
Here's another choice presented to me in the very recent past:
I am enrolled in a class where the teacher at the very beginning gave all students a contract to sign. This contract determines if you will have the ability to end the class with an A or a B. A contracted "A" student has the responsibility of 4 or 5 projects throughout the semester, including a group one. A contracted "B" student does not have to do these projects with the understanding that their exams will count more toward their grade and no matter how well they do, they cannot get higher than a B for a final grade. It's definitely the easier path if you're a good test taker, but if you really want that A, it's not for you at all.
I chose option B. Here's why: This semester, I am taking 18 credits (I want to graduate in May, I have an incentive), I am working part time (I like having disposable income), and I am undergoing therapy to recover from Tendinitis in both arms. 2 of my classes are labeled as "writing intensive" and one of my classes is online. That equates to a larger than normal amount of typing, which is what gave me the darn problem in the first place. Not to mention this, which only adds to the typing. Choosing option A would've meant more typing. Admittedly, there are preventative measures I can take that won't render my arms useless again, such as wearing the obnoxious braces while I type. Even then, though, I have to take breaks and let them rest. And then there's the time factor- 18 credits is a heavy load, and school is not the only thing vying for my time this semester. There's work, church stuff, therapy, and keeping up an apartment. So not only would it put my arms at even more risk than they already are (I've typed too much today finishing up an essay, I can feel them getting sore), but it puts even more constraint on my time.
The "cost" of an A for me far outweighed the benefits- I'm satisfied with a B if I know I've done my best. The "cost" of a B for me is virtually nothing. I have acted in my own self interest- I'm sure I could add something to a group, but I still picked B. It was cheaper for me.

This is the study of economics.


  1. I'm in the same class and I picked option A. I have to admit that now I have a greater incentive to try as hard as I can, because if I don't get a score above a 90 then I will have wasted a lot of time and emotional worry over all this option A stuff and would be bitter that I didn't chose option B. Funny thing though is this not an econ class. You think it would be though ;-)

  2. There is a certain professor at UAF who grades on a modified grade system. He guaranties a C for anyone who scores 50% or greater in terms of total points. The A's and B's are determined by beating your pears and are a very scarce resource indeed.

    I took two of his classes and guess what happened? I knew I could pass with 50% with litterly no effort what so ever. I also knew I could read the book and waste by time to get one more point than a pear and get an A or B. So I took the extra free time and 2 C's. The only C's of my college carrear due to the intensives caused by the opportunity cost.