Saturday, December 29, 2007
The science of economics
Okay, once in a while I like to dabble with economics, and especially I have been reading Freakonomics. But more especially so, I did a course on economy and society which I like to add, has been beneficial despite my current C results (wah3!). Often I would read about the economy as a glimpse, like that great article about the Goldilocks economy between the US, the UK and China (which by the way made me seriously think about buying property in London...more expensive rentals than Brunei I suppose and I found a nice little house in West London costs as much as my house here. pipe dream probably). Now, as you may have heard, the Great British Pound Sterling has dropped from its steely 1 pound = to 3 $Singaporean/Bruneian Dollars to a mere 1 pound = 2.80 $Singaporean/Bruneian. Now I don't have to add that this is a crucial factor for most people what with I hear UKers running to and fro to buy bohemian houses in Bulgaria (I don't know why though cos I'm not British). I know I read haphazardly and I don't necessarily have read the most utterly recent books because I don't have the worry of foreigners and white Americans because they have read the reviews and whatnot. I am simply in a blissful bubble of utter ignorance due to the fact that nobody I know reads regularly so I wouldn't at any rate be caught knowing the surprise intended for me by the book. So, quite happy here. Now, I know it seems a bit sociological with Levitt but of course as an economist (but, ofcourse~~) he ignores many factors whilst measuring his data concerning unwanted children often would become criminals. It is a fact. But it isn't necessarily the truth. He admits this because he made a comparison between a black economist who has 'made' it and a crazy Unabomber with high I.Q. Another one of his quotes that I think is extremely a blunder was that he said something about I.Q. being strongly hereditary. Hereditary in which factor? Is it nutrition that presupposes I.Q.? I know for a fact that despite I was smoking whilst being pregnant (not much, mind you) all of my children are above the average birthweight for an Asian child, almost to the average of a white child but it could be that nowadays Asian children have the same bodies and heights as Caucasian children (given this is also true because of food globalization impacts). No longer do Asian children depend on rice and noodles which actually has been called inferior to millet, oats and wheat, a Caucasian staple. My children themselves eat both rice and bread daily. He also pointed out about youth pregnancy and young mothers resulting in criminal children. I did have my daughter when I was 19, and thankfully unlike most people which I can understand, can afford expensive things for my children. It could also be the fact that I am an exception to the norm because a) I am from a middle class family and b) my husband makes 40,000 a year and c) I have inherited money at some unknown level (Gifts, a house). While the rest of youth pregnancies results from an unwanted union whereas mine was a wanted union. It is also a known fact that when couples establish themselves at an earlier level over the fact that many people are still beginning their careers and jobs and therefore have lower pay than those at the other end of seniority. The other factor then is that they often come from working class families. So what? Lesser knowledge of birth control? I don't want to say that I.Q. is hereditary, many known child prodigies have sprung out of single mothers and one of them became the president of the United States (doesn't make him smart though), Bill Clinton. They are not exception to the norms, norms are after all a copycat of each other. What these women are able to do however is that they are opposite to the norms themselves initially. As Levitt would point it out which he failed to do, these are 'indicators' of the social problem NOT the cause of it. Many parts of the world do practice youth marriages and childbirth and many actually thrive, why? It's the cultural condition of the situation. As a sociologist and an anthropologist, the social situation of America makes it difficult for a single mother to survive because they are on their own. This is unlike Asian societies where family is everything. The social network of family protects the financial institution therefore, more family control, less spending more money pooling and no wastage. Food is after all, after a couple of days would become bland and thrown away. In a household like mine where there are many teenagers (3) and children (3) and adults (5) it constitutes no waste. Everyone would eat it, leftovers are gone in a matter of minutes. And another imperative question what is I.Q. anyway? I've taken an I.Q. test and I got a high intelligence score but that only indicated that I was well versed with English that I knew these answers. One of the questions was I think concerning Albert Einstein and his E=mc2. Now my question is this, is a person who have been educated in a village setting concerning very important matters such as the growing of rice and the technique of irrigation, something Western academics know very little about is lesser intelligent than I am? But what of Albert Einstein, I will never use E=mc2, for one thing it isn't anymore valid and for another why would I want to ponder on the theory of relativity in application of my daily life? I have never used it past my physics class back in HighSchool and that was a very long time ago (6-7 years ago). But the growing of rice and irrigation is an important factor in life, many of the rice grown would be sold overseas supporting the livelihood of many a people. The quality of intelligence does not support the quantity of life. I.Q. is more likely Western knowledge versus Practical knowledge. Most people who are simple and are not academically well tuitioned are very street smart. They know the art of living and they have ground it to a T. They have limited resources and yet they make the most of it, and most of all they never need to be pained and concerned with other issues outside of their vernacular sphere. They know they will never be wealthy, but this does not mean they are not content. It also does not mean that the Western lifestyle is easily equatable with a DESIRED lifestyle. Most people assume that the highest of the high Western lifestyle is the most desirable most sought for lifestyle. Although in some cases this is true, but then again its because people are taught that they are true. There are still many wise hunters and gatherers out there who do not make the decision and leap towards wanting to become like the West as shown by the rich Kayapo. Western knowledge has been utilized but not necessarily wanted. Sure, there were many loopholes in Freakonomics, that's why they're economists and we're anthropologists and sociologists.