At like 10:30, Prof.B. says to me, "Do you want to see an interrogation?" Sure. And then of course I was interested in the debrief. And then we moved to lunch. (I was expecting Spangler, but we went to the Faculty Commons, so I ate lunch on the department dime -- though as economists will tell you, there's no such thing as a free lunch, and my opportunity cost was actually high 'cause I'd been excited about Spangler pasta and the FacCommons has classy food which tasteless me is less a fan of. And at one point I actually got to contribute -- I brought up the "negotiating from a position of weakness" section of Max and Deepak's book.) I got back to my desk around 2:00.
Nicole was wearing her "Elitists for Obama" t-shirt. I love that it looks like a very down-to-earth college t-shirt.
Nicole got put on the spot to be the interrogatee. Someone was joking that actually this was a ruse and they were gonna interrogate me. I said, No, I still work for Prof.B., so the power dynamics are different, because if he gets on my bad side I can ruin his life. Nicole said, "I love that your sense of the power dynamics is: He can't get you too upset with him."
In the aforementioned "negotiating from a position of weakness" conversation, someone mentioned Gandhi, and someone mentioned that he had the power of the world media, and Navarro mentioned that Gandhi was trained as an attorney, which I had forgotten about.
Navarro talked about how you can change the power dynamics just by standing up. I was thinking later about how often I'll stand up when I'm at my desk and people come to talk to me, how I'll stay standing when I'm in B's office, and wondering how much that was subconscious.
I got dinner at Mr. Crepe. Super Avocado Crepe = v. yummy (though I wasn't clear that there was actual avocado in it). The chai latte, however, was really weak/watery -- which problem I also had the last time I ordered a hot chocolate there. Sigh. (The chai latte also had a huge amount of bleh foam.)
After dinner I was craving chocolate, so I went to CVS. Where they still had half-price Halloween candy. (Though srsly, candy makers? I already knew about Chocolate Skittles, but your newest Hershey's Kisses concoction is candy corn?)
I went to econ class tonight for the first time in like a month
We talked about perfectly competitive markets and then about non-competitive markets.
The objective of a firm is to maximize profits. Entrance of competitors brings down prices, which erases excess profits (you equilibrium where the consumer's paying a price equal to the producer's minimum per unit cost [which is abbreviated ATC for reasons which are unclear to me because I haven't cracked open the book in a month either]). In a monopoly, however... Government could step in and force them to lower their price, but if the allocatively efficient price (P=MC) is less than the firm's per unit cost... Someone suggested: what if the firm is just bad at allocating resources and so they could be more productively/technically efficient (P=ATC). Another student said, "Like if you pay your secretary too much." As a secretary, I was [silently] like, "Hey!"
One kind of monopoly is packaging multiple things together such that you have to buy things you don't necessarily want in order to obtain the things you do want, rather than being able to purchase (or not purchase) all the individual components separately. The prof used the example of music CDs -- you just want a couple songs, but you have to buy the whole CD.
He said one myth about monopolies is that they can arbitrarily fix any price. Like any firm, they are out to maximize their profits
Proof that I am not entirely a cold-hearted economist: eminent domain makes me gut-level uncomfortable even though pragmatically I do think greater good does sometimes trump (eminent domain requires the big IF of the government being responsible and acting in society's best interests, though -- and even absent any actual malice, the latter is difficult to discern).
We operate in a system of monopolistic competition. One of the aspects of a perfectly competitive market is identical products, which seemed somewhat problematic to me from the beginning. In our system you have differentiated products -- so firms do have some market power, but there are also close substitutes. He said something about variety being the spice of life and this keeping our lives from being boring. I asked if this could mean that the marginal benefit to the consumer was greater than our model showed and could in fact be greater enough to be a better system than a perfectly competitive market. Of course this kind of increased MB is subjective and qualitative and whatever, so it's hard to measure and quantify and work into a model.
He said in countries as incomes rise, imports tend to rise as well.
When FUH was leaving for the day, he said, "Have fun tonight."
I laughed and said I was going to grab dinner, go to class, check the internet when I got home at like 10:30, and then go to bed.
He said, "Maybe it'll be decided by 10:30."
I said, "But the polls on the West Coast will barely have even closed at that point, so you'l just have the really inaccurate exit polls."
He said, "But if he wins Pennsylvania and Ohio..."
I was like, oh yeah, although there are some western states in play this election, all the big swing states are on the East Coast.
We got out of class about 9:15, and a woman in my class said, "Sununu lost New Hampshire." I was unclear as to whether she'd been getting text message updates or what ('cause class starts at 7:35, and not all the NH polls are even closed yet at that point).
kurukami linked to a nice map of the United States, color-coded by poll closing times (calibrated to Eastern Time).
I enjoyed the flurry of flist posts this morning about the midnight NH voting.
(via friendsfriends) an explanation of why America still uses the electoral process.
[Lexington] Two cheers for American democracy: A good way to pick a president [Oct 30th 2008. From The Economist print edition]