Today started off exceptionally great with a slew of happy birthday cheers and chants directed towards my fellow cohort Erin Miller. Many people gave her presents and kind words, things of this nature really makes Brown feel like a family and that is why I am enjoying my time here. Almost everyone involved in this program from the Dean of Brown, all the way to the students, are all very kind and accepting of all people.
Class today was by far the most intriguing discussion we have had yet. We opened by discussing the major financial/economic issues in our respective home states or countries. This also delved into the most pervasive problems in general in our places of residence. It was interesting to hear of all the problems people had from across the country and world. Because it was so interesting to me I thought that I would share the main problems of most people’s homes.
I will start internationally.
- In China there are extreme gaps between the rich and the poor and this creates many inequalities. Also human rights, or the lack thereof is a looming problem.
- In Brazil there is an inconceivable amount of corruption. Approximately 2 percent of the total GDP is unaccounted for meaning no one knows how it got there.
- In Columbia there is a rebel group known as Guerillas who terrorize the country via murders, thievery, and massive drug sells.
- In India the government is corrupt and this is impacting farmers who are being cheated out of their land.
- In Costa Rica about 98 percent of their money comes from tourists. But they are considering drilling for oil. This could possibly open up a new source of income but tourist revenue would be misconstrued so this is a dilemma.
- In Sweden taxes are unbelievably high, sales tax is about 25 percent, and income tax 55 percent (this is ludicrous).
- In Panama the government officials who buy public works, are the same people who provide the public works service. This is a huge problem because government officials make so much excess money, and the job is awarded based on connections and not who would do the best job.
- In the United States there were also some pressing issues, but they did not seem to compare to those of the international countries.
These economic issues affect everyone in the country, so that is why I believe having a great understanding of economics will help solve other major issues around the world.
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Because it was Erin’s birthday we all celebrated with lunch. Our chaperone joined us and this was a great treat. Also we went to a free concert in which the band Young the Giant performed. In the middle of the performance the band called Erin up to the stage and sang happy birthday to her. Her cheeks blushed, and her smile extended as far as the east is from the west when the other 500 people began to join in unison. Today was a very exciting and learning experience for me, but I believe also for everyone in my macroeconomics class.