Wednesday, November 20, 2013

GINS Post 4: Tumblr Mashup

Check out my consumerism-themed Tumblr here

Hello! Recently, I have been reading the novel “Thunder Over Kandahar” by Sharon E. McKay. We have also been talking a lot about consumerism and economics, and have created Tumblr's that focus on consumerism and economics. Today, I am going to talk about how the issues in Afghanistan relate to economics. In Thunder Over Kandahar, McKay addresses many issues in Afghanistan such as Women’s Rights issues and the Taliban. Consumerism talks a lot about scarcity and economic systems.
First, I will start off with Afghanistan’s economic system. Afghanistan has a planned economy, which means that prices, production, investment, and incomes are determined largely by the government. This is because Afghanistan has been largely devastated by war and the Taliban. They are still recovering, and so the government has to control, economically, pretty much everything. This is not a particularly efficient way to run the economy, but I think that if they slowly recover enough, they could manage to have more individual involvement. This means that in the consumer aspect of things, prices are largely predetermined so they likely have less choices to make. Instead of comparing prices between stores like we do, things probably have common price, not like the majority of people could afford it anyway. They are really poverty stricken in Afghanistan and so they typically have much less money than we in Canada do.
The quality of life there is much lower than we have here. Quality of life is your personal satisfaction with the cultural and intellectual conditions where you live. I would imagine that the quality of life there is very low because it is poverty-ridden, and probably pretty scarce due to war. Because the quality of life is so low, that means that they have very different consumer choices that they have to make. Here, we have lots of money, so we have lots of consumer choices. There, they have very little, so I would imagine they would take whatever they can get.
This really shows how different the whole concept of consumerism would be if I were to live somewhere different. Here, we constantly make choices as to what brand we buy or what price. There, as I stated, I would pretty much take whatever I could get. I would also imagine that it is more of a barter system than money, because people typically have less of it. They probably are also thinking a lot less about what they value in products. We could value brand or price but they could just value the product in itself if they can get it.
I think that a main issue that connects both economic systems and Afghanistan is the US military. We have been talking a lot recently about how economic systems. The US has a market economy, which means that the majority of the economy is made up of individual companies and the government rarely intervenes. This is a connecting factor because with a market economy, government rarely intervenes, but in Canada, the government provides a variety of public companies, like CBC. Our taxes also pay for free healthcare. But where do the US taxes go? They don’t have free healthcare. A good chunk (an estimated ⅕) of taxes do toward military/foreign aid. “Foreign aid” can typically encompass Afghanistan. There is a lot of controversy around this as to what they are actually doing there, as the impetus for sending troops was most likely the Taliban. Now, it is no longer under Taliban rule, and things are still not drastically improving. They have a planned economy as I discussed, and so most things are controlled by government. The government is mostly affected by other countries like the US. Things are still slowly improving, but many question the need for so many troops.
A main issue in Thunder Over Kandahar was the Taliban. A main issue for the US is the Taliban, and so they devote a lot of money to trying to stop them or whatever they do over there. Taxes are a large part of economics, so this is quite the issue in the US, and considering how in debt they are, I would imagine they would try to take all the money they could get.

Saturday, November 16, 2013