For many of us, economics is like physics or political science - it affects our day-to-day lives. Yet, we don't understand most of it and want to study it even less. But when one of the stalwarts on the subject states, "Economics can be taught to the common man," there is hope.
To most, economics is about buying and selling, fiscal policy and taxes, and government regulations. And of course, it is about all of that. But, when one looks to experts for answers, it is often the case that they elevate the questions beyond the obvious and present answers that simplify and humanize the subject to the layperson.
The life work of the illustrious economist and Nobel Laureate, Milton Friedman, accomplishes just that. Born on July 31, 1912, in Brooklyn, New York, he is often described as "the most influential economist of the second half of the 20th century." He put forth ideas that were diametrically opposite of popular theories of the time.
For instance, using an ordinary pencil as an example, Friedman illustrates how resources and labor from different parts of the world are brought together to produce a product of monetary value. From the wood, the graphite (lead), the eraser and paint, the everyday pencil is, in fact, the product of complex economic dealings that stretched over many countries and societies. Watch the full video of I, Pencil here.
Friedman says, "People who don't speak the same language, who practice different religions, who might hate one another if they ever met! When you go down to the store and buy this pencil, you are in effect trading a few minutes of your time for a few seconds of the time of all those thousands of people."
Friedman's thinking goes beyond cost and price, demand and supply. He uses the example to showcase how interconnected we are and how interdependent we have to be, even for our everyday needs. He exemplifies the free market as a means to foster harmony and cooperation. His theories and teachings are based on his innate understanding that coercion does not lead to lasting prosperity. He demonstrates how free enterprise nurtures innovation, perseverance, efficiency, and competition.
Contrary to popular view, Friedman states that fostering freedom leads to equality, and equality does not guarantee freedom. He is lauded for approaching economics as not a 'mathematical game' but a method to decipher, explain and understand how the real world works. Drawing examples from everyday life and history, he explained his theories and held fast to them in the face of harsh criticism.
A prolific author and respected intellectual, Friedman steadfastly believed in the ability of market forces to advance individual welfare. His teachings and theories continue to shape economic policies and thinking to this day.
Beijing and Chinese state media have been attempting to downgrade Taiwan's national status during the Tokyo Olympic Games by using "China Taipei."
Taiwan regularly competes as "Chinese Taipei" at international sporting events based on a 1981 agreement to satisfy objections from Beijing and the then-ruling Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government.
Taiwanese IORG [Information Operations Research Group] found that Chinese government agencies referred to Taiwan's Olympic delegation as "China Taipei" or "China Taiwan" in their reports and online messages.
IORG said that it based its analysis on public communications found on Chinese social media giant Sina Weibo.
On Xinhua news agency's Sina Weibo account, official accounts of government agencies, and state media outlets with more than 100,000 followers, "China Taipei" was used 83.39 percent of the time when referring to Taiwan's Olympic athletes and teams.
Deputy governor says Taliban captured Sheberghan, less than a day after taking over Zaranj in Nimruz province.
Qader Malia, the deputy governor of Sheberghan in Jawzjan province, said that government forces and officials had retreated to the airport on the outskirts of the northern Afghan city, where they were preparing to defend themselves.
However, the pro-government forces were still holding some areas inside the city, such as the airport and an army brigade, according to Mohammad Karim Jawzjani, a parliamentarian representing Jawzjan.
In a statement, the US embassy in Afghanistan condemned the "Taliban's violent new offensive against Afghan cities."'
Social media posts have been spreading misleading content about some of the competitors and the events in which they competed.
A viral post on Facebook - now with a warning flag on it from the social media platform - falsely claims that the U.S. star gymnast stopped competing in some events because she wasn't allowed to take medication for ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
False claims about the death of Saudi judo competitor Tahani Al-Qahtani went viral on social media after she lost to her Israeli opponent, Raz Hershko.
The posts claimed that she had suffered a heart attack because she was subject to bullying and abuse online after she lost.
Many other such claims were widely shared on social media.
In early autumn 2018, seven meters below ground in a frozen tunnel deep in the Siberian Arctic, local mammoth tusk hunter Pavel Efimov made a shocking discovery.
What they found there was one of the most beautifully-preserved Ice Age animals ever found: a 28,000-year-old cave lion cub, curled up under the permafrost with its teeth, skin, claws, and even whiskers still intact.
The cub, whom scientist Dr. Valery Plotnikov and colleagues initially dubbed Spartak, was found just 15 meters away from another cave lion cub, Boris, that locals had discovered the previous year.
The pair was first thought to be siblings. But as the first major study to be published on the pair concluded this week, they lived more than 15,000 years apart; carbon dating put Boris at 43,448 years old.
Cave lions have been extinct for around 14,000 years.
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