How Can Fiscal Policies Be Used to Protect the Working Class?

In economics, many economists worry about the protection of the working middle class. This sector of the economy is generally understood to be very sensitive to economic adjustments. Any drastic changes in the aggregate demand or aggregate supply of an economy has been shown to have the most substantial impacts on the middle class. In addition, the middle class generally makes up the majority of the economy, meaning that if it is put under economic stresses, the entire economy suffers.

For this reason economists commonly devise fiscal policies to try and protect the middle class and it’s workers. A fiscal policy is a policy aimed at controlling the AD by increasing or decreasing government spending and taxation. The government can use these policies to protect the middle class by a number of means. By granting them tax deductions, the government is able to increase the real income of the middle class workers. By increasing spending on middle class benefits such as health and safety plans aimed at protecting the unemployed, the government is also able to protect the middle class.

Economic Indicators

In economics, certain indicators can predict economic shifts and changes in AS and AD. These indicators, known as economic indicators, can be grouped into two categories:

Leading indicators are indicators in the economy that can be used to predict economic activity before it occurs. These indicators are important to economists as it allows them to use information from the economy to predict and manipulate aspects of the economy in order to prevent market failure. Certain leading indicators include stock changes, changes in debt and money supply in an economy.

Lagging indicators are indicators in the economy that follow economic activity. While these indicators cannot be used to predict economic activity, it can be used to reflect upon the effect on economic changes. This is important as it allows economists to see the effects of economic changes in order to predict how to prevent these effects in the future. Lagging indicators can include changes in interest rates, changes in consumer price index (CPI) and unemployment.

Section 3.3 and 3.4 Summative Reflection and Wiki

I recently scored a 9/10 on my summative assessment for sections 3.3 and 3.4. I feel this score is appropriate given that I gave real world examples when looking at specific changes in the AS/AD model, which I failed to do in the formative assessment. However, I didn’t reach a 10 as I missed a key definition in the beginning of the question.

Additionally, my economics class has recently started work on a Wiki for the section 3.5 definitions and diagrams. In the wiki we decided that we could cover the definitions while trying to link them to real world examples via articles on the web. In order to do that I was assigned the task of finding articles relevant to certain terms, such as real wage unemployment. This article talks about how real wage unemployment is still stagnant even though there has been a large scale recession in overall unemployment in recent months. Real wage unemployment is a form of unemployment caused by the raising of wages beyond the market capacity, driving the number of those applying for jobs above the number of available positions. This leaves a portion of those applying without available jobs, and therefore unemployed.

Section 3.3 and 3.4 Formative Reflection

In studying Supply-side and Demand-side policies in lessons 3.3 and 3.4, I was able to learn a lot about the effects of government intervention through both fiscal and monetary policies in the economy. A fiscal policy is a policy enacted by the government to alter taxes, spending, and the flow of capital. By raising or lowering taxes while increasing or decreasing government spending, fiscal policies are able to regulate an economy’s demand. Additionally, by controlling the flow of capital in an economy with payouts, a government can regulate an economy’s supply as well. A monetary policy is a policy that alters the interest rates in an economy. This can increase or decrease the consumer’s disposable income, thus regulating the demand within an economy.

Neoclassical economics argues that governments should have limited or no intervention in the economy, and that any intervention only serves to worsen the state of the economy. Contrary to this, Keynesian economics argues that governments should play an active role in regulating an economy’s supply and demand. In the formative examination, I scored myself with an 8/10. I did this feeling I had a strong  understanding of the macroeconomic concepts discussed in class. I was able to identify how demand and supply adjustment were able to create inflation in an economy. In my analysis of the situation however I failed to provide real world examples to link my knowledge of the concepts to the real world. I believe that in the upcoming summative assessment I will provide examples to show how my understand is applicable to the modern world.

Unemployment and Economic Freedom

The neoclassical argument in economics is that government intervention in the market isn’t necessary. The idea that neoclassical economists express is that government intervention leads to a rise in unemployment. There is strong data supporting this argument, as the economy of Singapore is the world’s second most unregulated government and has an astonishingly low 2.1% unemployment rate. Contrary to this, Zimbabwe has a very controlled economy, and as such has an extensive 95% unemployment rate. Using this data, neoclassical economists argue that government intervention in the market only produces detrimental results.

Investment Surges in Renewable Energy

Trends in 2010 have lead to an increase in investment for renewable energy by around 34%. An investment in renewable energy by a government would affect the economy’s aggregate supply (AS). This is because with renewable energy, there will be a decrease in production costs, a factor of the AS curve. By saving costs in the production phase by reusing resources, forms will have more capital to spend of increasing production and expanding. This will lead to a shift to the right for the AS curve as the total production possibility of the economy increases. This shift will lead to a drop in average prices and an increase in Real GDP as the economy produces more. This decrease in average prices can be seen in Figure 1 as the shift from P to P1. Additionally, the increase in Real GDP can be seen as a shift right from Y to Y1. This will most likely lead to an expansion in economic capacity in the long run as there is less spending on long term production costs, leading to an increase in production and therefore in a rise in Real GDP in the economy.

 

Commanding Heights – Battle for the World Economy Impressions

Recently in our IB HL Economics class we watched the video Commanding Heights – Battle for the World Economy. This video detailed the ideas of both Keynesian economists and the more recent development of Hayek’s ideas in the world economy. The video interestingly covered the ideas of market control vs the free market. Both the idea of a free market, supported by Keynes, and a controlled or planned economy, supported by Hayek, have their strengths and weaknesses. People generally disagree with the idea of a controlled government because it is associated with the idea of a government having complete control over economic effects and direction. However, having a government that plans the direction of the economy in order to stimulate development is something that has proved very effective in the more recent world economy  – specifically in the United States and Great Britain. However, a free market is associated with the idea that the market itself will eliminate and ‘cleanse’ itself of the weaker industries that are unable to function without government intervention. A good example of this was the coal industry in Britain in the 1980’s. The industry was huge, but relied on subsidies to operate, at one point exceeding $3 Billion annually to support the 180,000 jobs it provided. Now in Britain, due to the privatization of the coal sector, only 3,000 jobs remain, but the industry is completely free of government subsidies.