Home Opinions

0 555

Sarah Temraz - Contributing Writer

Last week, on Oct. 13, the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences was awarded to Jean Tirole, professor of economics at Toulouse University in France. Tirole has been awarded the prize for his outstanding research concerning large firm regulation and the protection of consumers from monopolies. Tirole is a proponent of game theory economics and can be described as a behavioral economist. His research interests include industrial organization, regulation, game theory and psychology, to name a few. Tirole’s support of the behavioral model of economics and its usefulness is evident in his various works.

In 1986, Jean-Jacques Laffont, mentor to Tirole, wrote a paper with him concerning regulation entitled “Using Cost Observation to Regulate Firms.” The paper provided the authors’ analysis of the regulation of a monopoly in a certain situation—one in which the regulator observes the firm’s production cost, but the firm has private information on the determinants of its costs. The regulator, as a result, cannot distinguish between efficient firms because the firm benefits from economies of scale (cost advantages enterprises obtain due to size, output, or scale of operation). The firm also has been active in its attempts to increase efficiency and production. In other terms, a natural monopoly follows.

 The problem with monopolies in behavioral economics can be expressed by a clear-cut relationship between consumers and monopolies (such as large firms). Basically, monopolies take advantage of consumers with high prices because they act on the basis that the consumer is principally irrational in terms of decision-making. Since monopolies benefit from economies of scale, their products are often the most popular in the market. If the consumer wants that product (oftentimes the dominating product), the consumer will use irrationality in order to get that product, no matter the cost or consequences. For example, a consumer will consider borrowing money from a friend in order to purchase the product.

What Tirole’s works essentially suggest is an idea of an inverse relationship between the act of a consumer changing his or her behavior and a monopolistic company changing its behavior towards consumers. If a consumer uses more rational methods in his or her approach to purchasing products from monopolies, monopolies will eventually cease to take advantage of consumers with high prices. Natural monopolies will lose power over time and, furthermore, come to an end. This will result in the consumer having a more active role in controlling how the market works.

Looking at economics through a behavioral scope can be increasingly useful in understanding how the market works today. Behavioral economics aims to understand consumers’ judgments in decision-making in a freely competitive market.

Tirole’s work is so influential because it touches on a range of issues dealing with behavioral economics that the average consumer can relate to. He proposes an array of realistic solutions in order to combat these issues. The idea of regulatory capture, for instance, (a form of political corruption that occurs when a regulatory agency advances the special commercial concerns of interest groups dominating the industry [i.e. monopolies] it is in charge of regulating, even though these agencies were created to act in the public interest) is one concept integrated into his analysis of monopolies.

 Tore Ellingsen, chair of the committee that awards the economics prize, said, “Tirole’s work helps better the world, so that large and mighty firms will act in society’s best interest. We are affected by big firms all of the time. The quality of those services [electrical, transportation and telecommunication industries] and the price that we pay matters to all of us.”

0 104

The Drew Acorn Editorial Board

Club budgets are due in a little more than two weeks, and SOAB and B&A are discussing a merger to streamline club management and logistics.
It’s a good time to check in on Drew’s club life. We give it a clean bill of health. There have been a lot of club events in the past few weeks, including several major events like dinners. We’ve also seen some clubs that have not usually had a large presence put on well-planned events. Attendance has also been impressive, and many events have had more students come than they expected.
We think that’s great! Every year there are concerns that club leaders are struggling, or that club life is weak. There’s certainly no need to worry about that this semester. And if the SOAB-B&A merger happens, things should get even better for club leaders.
Having to report to two different committees, with different rules and leadership, can be difficult for club leaders to manage. It is also not uncommon for clubs to run into trouble over small mistakes, and SOAB and B&A may not be equally strict in enforcing their rules. Merging the two boards would remove this unpredictability and generally make club management go more smoothly.
We’ve come a long way from the controversies over restrictive advertising policies, or the concern that the “Drew Today” announcements would lead to fewer students reading event ads. We feel that club life is strong, and that it is only going to get better.

NOTE: The Lead Editorial reflects the collective opinion of the Drew Acorn’s editorial board. All other opinion pieces represent solely the opinions of their respective authors.

0 243

Jared Sutton- Contributing Writer

Recently, Rolling Stone profiled Florida’s gubernatorial election. In between the profanity-laden rants, catchy one-liners and conspicuous lack of anything associated with music, they argued something that the overwhelming majority of Floridians, regardless of their political affiliations, could agree on: Both candidates, to put it politely, are underwhelming.

On one hand, we have the  Republican incumbent, Governor Rick Scott. Astoundingly unpopular with unions, government workers and women (his recent advertisement comparing wedding dresses to politics didn’t help much), Scott has been accused of widespread Medicare fraud as CEO of his health insurance company. His anti-Obama rhetoric has isolated many Independents, and his rejection of federal funds for programs ranging from high-speed rail to education leave many shaking their heads.

On the other hand, Floridians are blessed (note the sarcasm) with his Democratic opponent, former Governor Charlie Crist. In the past five years, Governor Crist has changed his party affiliation twice. After serving as the opportunist and pseudo-populist Republican governor of Florida, he ran as an Independent in the Senate race in 2008 (spoiler: he lost) and soon after changed to a Democrat.

Critics from both sides of the aisle argue that his inability to take a definite stance on issues and politics, as well as his mediocre track record as governor, do not make him a very compelling candidate to topple the man lovingly nicknamed Voldemort. Ultimately, Florida’s governor race has two of the least popular candidates running in a gubernatorial election nationwide.

This problem isn’t unique to my beautiful home state. Bad candidates and bad races are rampant nationwide, as both parties move further and further to polar ends, isolating the growing middle.

Voter rates are tumbling as fewer and fewer people are making their ways to the polls for a variety of reasons. Most notably, there is less faith in the candidates who are supposed to lead us.

These bad candidates pose a catch-22: Either we don’t vote because we hate the candidates, which hurts the democratic process, or we vote and hate whoever takes office, and then they truly aren’t representing what we want. It’s embarrassing that the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee are pushing for such terrible candidates.

The other possibility regarding candidate selection is much worse, but extremely likely. It seems as if both parties are running out of good candidates to cultivate, mentor and eventually support. Unfortunately, we are the ones paying the price.

As a constituency, it is imperative that we support candidates who we think can legitimately make a difference. Although we, as college students, are restricted in a lot of ways (i.e., we aren’t one of the Koch brothers), we are the future. In a lot of ways, our arguably inept politicians cause many of us to ignore or avoid the situation at hand.

As such, ignoring what happens politically in Miami, Tallahassee or Washington, D.C. is the obvious and easy thing to do. We all have our own problems, and hearing about corruption and partisanship is not how most of us want to spend our time. But we have the obligation to demand more from our candidates. We have the duty to vote against people we consider bad candidates, or at least to select the lesser of two evils.

I’ll be honest. When I fill out my absentee ballot, I’ll be voting for one of the men I shamelessly and unabashedly criticized a few hundred words ago. However, I don’t expect either of them to change the situation of the state of Florida very quickly or effectively. At the end of the day, I am extremely hopeful that whomever I vote for will fulfill campaign promises and that he will improve on his track record.

Until either party can produce a leader I can be proud to say represents me, I will be perpetually disappointed.

Jared Sutton is a freshman

0 211

The Drew Acorn Editorial Board

It’s the middle of the semester, and as midterms approach or conclude, and essays come due, students utilize library spaces and printing services more frequently. While the library staff and these services have always been supportive of the Drew community, some changes this semester were disappointing.

One standout disappointment to the money-conscious student was the computer labs and printing services in the Brothers College basement closing down for good. Printing in BC basement was five cents per sheet, half the price of the library. For one page, the price difference isn’t a big deal. But when you need to print 15 or 20 pages – not uncommon for many upperclassmen Drewids – the cost starts to add up. Saving money was not the only convenience of the BC printing services. Although there are plenty of printers and computers in the library, it was convenient to have those services right in BC near our classes, especially if we only had five minutes to print out a paper between classes. They’re a minor loss, but they were a nice convenience.

There is one remaining computer room in BC: BC 1. However, it is a classroom and not an actual lab, and so it is only publicly available at certain times. Also, it has yet to be announced what these now-empty BC labs will be used for. We can accept that they will not be labs anymore, but we hope they will be used for something.

We are generally pleased with the renovations to the first floor of the library. But there are a couple of sticking points here. For example, the first-floor study rooms are simply made of partitions, not full walls. If people use these study rooms for what study rooms are for – talking in large groups – they may disturb other patrons. If these rooms are intended as permanent fixtures, it would be nice if they eventually had ceilings or even permanent walls.

But this is nothing compared to the state of the other group study rooms, which are aging and have not been recarpeted or painted in what appears to be a very long time. Upon stepping into the library, it appears new and shiny, but the depths of the library need a facelift too. There is also, perhaps, an overabundance of “quiet study” space. Often, these large study rooms are used by only a few students at a time. Some of this space might be more useful as smaller group study spaces.

Admittedly these are not life-and-death concerns, and many students may not have even noticed them. However, repainting aging walls or providing computer labs in multiple locations are the kind of things that make students feel like the university is taking an extra step to serve us. We would appreciate them.

NOTE: The Lead Editorial reflects the collective opinion of the Drew Acorn’s editorial board. All other opinion pieces represent solely the opinions of their respective authors.

0 434

Lead Editorial

The Drew Acorn Editorial Board

Any students who read The Drew Acorn or followed their emails from Drew last semester were almost bombarded with news related to Drew’s budget crisis. Particularly, we received steady updates on the progress of the Drew2017 Committee, and constant news about the INTO program and its promise to bring us revenue while transforming us into an international school. In addition, there was a public fiasco over the proposed cuts of many smaller but unique academic programs.

In April, we learned that Drew2017 had achieved its goals, INTO was officially happening, and that the final report on cutting departments would be deferred until newly-appointed President MaryAnn Baenninger could review them and give her own recommendations.

And now, with the new semester nearly halfway through…crickets.

We know that INTO has begun and that the INTO students are doing well. But there are still many non-INTO students who don’t know what INTO is–and there have been a handful of INTO students who did not know what it is. Furthermore, since one of the main goals of INTO was to raise revenue, how has this matched with this year’s attendance? We would like some kind of update.

We appreciated the regular email updates about the 2017 Committee. While we know not everyone read them, we feel they connected us to an otherwise distant decision-making process. And they reminded us that the administration was continually at work to improve the situation of our school. As we begin to implement the 2017 Committee’s recommendations, we wish that similar updates would be issued about this broader financial improvement process.

Perhaps the most important issue is the fate of the many departments that are at risk of being cut. Students who were in progress with these programs last semester were promised that they would be allowed to finish their degrees before the programs were closed. However, there may be new freshmen who came to Drew for those programs, and are only one semester in. What will happen to them if the programs are cut?

We have not even heard an update on when–or even if–these proposals to cut programs are still being considered. This is of concern to everyone, but particularly for those students who do not know if they will be the last few in a defunct program.

In general, we wonder why there have been exactly zero updates this semester on the state of our debt, budget woes and various programs meant to remedy them. We hope the silence is not an indication of our deteriorating financial health. How long will it be before Drew gets back into the swing of things?

NOTE: The Lead Editorial reflects the collective opinion of the Drew Acorn’s editorial board. All other opinion pieces represent solely the opinions of their respective authors.

In case you missed it...

0 2222
By Phillipe AbiYouness - Staff Writer After months of deliberative meetings and discussions, Drew University has further opened its doors to the international world by...