Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Malala and Kailash and Externalities

In class, we've been really focused in on globalization and its consequences.  Consumers pay less for goods, but cheap labor is exploited.  We have exposure to more cultures, but many cultures are dying out.

Every action has positive and negative consequences.  Economic development is no different.  Today we learned the term "externality."  It used to be called "economic spillover."

An economic spillover (externality) refers to the unintended positive and negative outcomes of economic development.

You can see why we have to teach what the economy is before we can begin teaching about externalities.

Countries (and states, and cities) want economic development.  They want people in their area to have jobs making and selling goods.  They want to have money to buy.  Often, they'll come up with incentives to bring companies or factories in.

When those factories come in, they're coming in because they want to make money.  THAT is what they care about.  Money.

The economic spillover would be the positives and negatives other than that money.

Does the factory take up space that used to be a park?  Negative economic spillover.
Did building the factory encourage others to check out the town?  Positive economic spillover.
Does the factory pollute?  Negative economic spillover.
Did the factory increase the standard of living for the town?  Positive economic spillover.

This idea of unintended consequences touches many areas of our lives.  Students wrote me a paragraph about it this morning.  Many were quite interesting: holding the door to be nice resulting in a piece of candy; play-fighting resulting in getting in trouble; forgetting to close the gate leading to the dog getting out of the yard and getting hurt.

Yesterday we read about Kailash Satyarthi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for his efforts to end modern slavery.  This was an unintended consequence of his actions.

He shared the award with Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the face for speaking out in favor of education.  Being shot; winning the award - these were both unintended consequences of Malala's actions.

Their paring for the Nobel Peace Prize makes sense.  They were both fighting for children to have the opportunities they deserve.  No child should be forced to work 17 hour shifts 7 days a week.  All children should have the right to an education.  

Perhaps an unintended consequence of globalization is that children are being forced to work long hours so first-world nations can have cheap clothes.  But another unintended consequence of globalization is that we all have the opportunity to speak up and speak out - and our words have the potential to be heard all over the world.

If you are interested in how you can raise money for education - and specifically girls education - worldwide, check out The Malala Fund.  They've got some really interesting ideas.

If you are interested in Kailash Satyarthi's organization BBA, check this out.

As always, students in my class may earn extra credit if they read and discuss this post with an adult.  To prove you did this, write a paragraph about your discussion and have the adult you read it with sign the paper.

Here's the trailer to He Named Me Malala.  We watched the trailer in class today.

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