Economics education

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Directing Research and Scholarship in an Educational Institution

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

The role of research and scholarship (however defined) in an educational institution is to: enable knowledge growth; aid in achieving institutional goals and improve practice. (Tushman & O’Reilly 2007, Anthony & Austin 2008, Ignate, 2008, Prichard 2000, Paul and Rubin 1984)

Given these facts, one task of the person or team responsible for directing research and scholarship is to enable, improve, change, predict and facilitate improved students’ learning. The team or person must enable knowledge growth among faculty and achievement of the institution’s present and future goals; suggest changes to the nature, role, teaching mode and main goals of the institution and predict trends and changes in students’ needs and preferences and the need for ‘new’ courses of study.

The other task of the person or team responsible for directing research and scholarship is to construct a vision for developing these areas in the institution. The vision should have inward and outward perspectives.

Inwardly, this should involve developing and facilitating professional development activities which enable and encourage the ‘scholarship of teaching’. Strategies to encourage this should include: awards/incentives for outstanding teaching based on researching/studying ones’ teaching and developing policy and criteria for this recognition scheme; developing and facilitating in-house training in the scholarship of teaching and organizing special lecture to discuss the idea of the scholarship of teaching.

The inward perspective of the vision should also include developing or facilitating engagement in research and publications. This should involve: building time in teaching schedule for engagement in research; providing funding for attendance and participation in local and overseas conferences and developing policy to regulate attendance and participation; awards/incentives for outstanding research and scholarship attainment; internal forums aimed at showcasing research and presenting research ideas for discussion. Internal review of publications that are to be submit to journals or conferences should be encouraged and where appropriate, facilitate student research by requiring the completion of a thesis or portfolio as a part of courses they are pursuing.

Outwardly, the vision should include the encouragement of consultancy work by staff by showcasing to the community their credentials, experiences and achievements; hosting and organizing annual or biannual conferences to discuss issues relevant to the wider community and the use of the institution’s website to display staff research and scholarship achievements. Doing these can also aid in facilitating ‘research impact’ which is now an area of concern for UK Higher Education institutions involved in research enterprise.


Anthony, E. K & Austin M.J. (2008). The Role of an Intermediary Organization in Promoting Research in Schools of Social Work: the Case of the Bay Area Social Services Consortium. Social Work Research 32(4) 287-294

Ignate, V. V. (2008). Sociological Research in a Military School. Russian Education and Society 50 (12), 40-49.

Paul, C.W and Rubin, P.H. (1984) Teaching and Research: The Human Capital Paradigm. Journal of Economics Education 15(2), 142-147

Prichard, R. (2000) Future Directions for Research in Caribbean Higher Education Institutions. Chapter 11 in Higher Education in the Caribbean: Past, Present & Future Directions. 251-265, ISBN 9789766400798

Tushman, M & O’Reilly III, C. (2007). Research and Relevance: Implications of Pasteur’s quadrant for doctoral programs and faculty development. Academy of Management Journal 50(4), 769-774

An Economics Education by Bitcoin – Part I

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

For those unfamiliar with Bitcoin, there are better ways to begin understanding it than this article; I’d recommend Wikipedia for starters. This article is intended for those who already think they know what Bitcoin is, but haven’t yet traded in it. I was there – I thought I comprehended it, too, but having since dipped my toe in the pond, I’ve discovered an unexpectedly enlightening experience. There are so many nuances involved in the trading of Bitcoin as to make it tremendously educational. It forced me to consider a lot of the built-in features which go unscrutinized and even unrecognized in traditional currencies. In so doing, it made me assign my own values to those features, and allowed me to decide the most preferable ways of satisfying my various needs – choices which are normally taken from us.

There are aspects of Bitcoin which make it similar to fiat currency, but it is not cash. There are aspects similar to gold, but it is not bullion. There are aspects similar to securities, but it is not exactly a security. The question of “What is it?” is actually much more complicated than it appears. It exists solely as an entry in a distributed digital ledger; “having” Bitcoins really means having authority to transfer Bitcoins. No, in fact, that’s not even technically correct. It means having a degree of authority measured in Bitcoins to transfer that very same authority. Try to wrap your brain around that. Going forward, I’ll resort to referring to Bitcoins as the thing of value which is transferred, but understand that my doing so is solely shorthand to make this essay readable. Having Bitcoins is the authority to transfer authority.

Thus, upon deciding to acquire my first Bitcoin, the first step was to determine how to attain authority to transfer Bitcoins. One could theoretically print out the cryptographic code of a Bitcoin and hand the paper to someone else as a means of transferring the Bitcoin represented by the code, but how would that recipient know that the printout hadn’t been duplicated and already spent? For that matter, how would the recipient know that the printout even represented some value in Bitcoin rather than merely a string of random characters? Transferring printouts of Bitcoin on paper may work (albeit inefficiently) between people who implicitly trust each other, such as for gifts between relatives, but the genius of Bitcoin is the distributed but authoritative nature of its ledger, and for that to work, transactions have to be exposed to its network.

If a Bitcoin printout is transferred around amongst a group of people without being exposed to the network, none of them would know whether it was valid or counterfeit. It would be like passing around a bank draft made payable to “Bearer;” it might have already been paid, or it might never have been good in the first place. No one would know until they tried to present it for payment at the maker’s bank. As long as someone else is willing to accept a potentially-hot potato for goods or services, perhaps it doesn’t matter, but people tend to be wary of ending up with hot potatoes. I am one such person, so I wanted my receipt of Bitcoins to be verified by the network. This turned my focus to a study of digital Bitcoin “wallets.” Wallets are a digital place to store Bitcoin authority codes.

No Politician Should Be Elected at Any Level of Government Without an Economic Class

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

Apparently, we have a tremendous problem on our hands. We have politicians, and socialist leaning candidates which have filled our ranks in Congress, Executive Branch, and even the Supreme Court. This is rather alarming as we have a Republic here, not a pure Democracy, and we run our business using Capitalism, not socialism or communism. But before we crucify our Federal Government, indeed, we have the same problems at the City, County, and State levels too.

May I be so bold as to make a suggestion? Okay, thank you then, I recommend that no politician can run for any office unless they have taken an economics class, can balance their checkbook, and/or have run a business and actually made a payroll. In fact, I’d like to make this really simple. And I have the perfect economics book to recommend for this;

“Economics for Kids – Ideas for Teaching in Elementary Grades,” by Mark C. Schug; published by the National Education Association and the Joint Council on Economic Education; Washington DC, pp. 64; 1986, ISBN: 0-8106-1832X.

Now then, we need a constitutional amendment that no person may run for public office without knowing the basics in economics, or have run a business. And anyone appointed for any position in government much also pass a basic test on the topic. For those running for Governor, President, or to become a Congressperson or Senator, they must also take College Level economics class on both micro and macro economics.

For this, let me recommend another very easy to read book;

“Economics” edited by Walter J. Wessels, published by Barrons, Hauppauge, NY; pp.593; 2000; ISBN: 0-7641-1274-0.

There are sections on macro and micro economics, trade, price system, market equilibrium, and plotting and understanding graphs in economics. This is the minimum needed. Further required reading should be;

  1. “Atlas Shrugged,” by Ayn Rand
  2. “Free to Choose,” by Milton Freedman

You see, the American People deserve nothing less, and it is unfathomable the level of ignorance in my opinion when it comes to such simple issues amongst our leadership, and in my opinion this is unacceptable. It is obvious that we need a Constitutional Amendment to prevent further decay of our economy, further loss of jobs, and to prevent our nation from being driven off a cliff due to either incompetence or corruption.

Once the politicians know they must learn this stuff, they can no longer claim ignorance for the obvious mistakes they continually make in economic and budgeting matters. Please consider this, and yes, I am very serious. Care to opine, I dare you!