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wundayatta's avatar

Where do you intervene in a cycle?

Asked by wundayatta (58599points) November 2nd, 2010

In economics, there are supply side and demand side economists. Some believe it is consumer demand that drives the economy. Others believe you can stimulate the economy by giving corporations more money to hire people with. That’s one cycle. If you’re going to intervene in that cycle, where do you start?

Another cycle is the cycle of poverty. You could probably describe this cycle in many different ways, but here’s mine: lack of education leads to inability to get a job leads to inadequate housing and poor housing conditions. Lack of education and poverty lead to a higher likelihood of single parenting, which means that mothers will be more frazzled and not have time to educate themselves to get better jobs. Their kids will suffer from bad living conditions and poor nutrition and won’t be able to learn, even if they had good schools to go to.

If you’re going to intervene in that cycle, where do you start?

Then there’s the research cycle. Quantitative research is about counting things. You have to count them in order to figure out what is going on. Inevitably, you will find an area where you lack information and lack the ability to begin to study that empty area of knowledge.

Qualitative researchers are good at looking at examples of things and figuring out how to understand them; how to categorize them. You have to have things to count before you count them.

So where do you start? Quant or Qual? Which comes first?

You can talk about any one of these examples or come up with an example of your own. What I’m looking for is a way of figuring out the best place to intervene. This is fairly theoretical, but it has a lot of real world applications. We have limited resources. We want to make them go as far as possible. How do we decide where to spend it? Remember we have to make a collective decision because this is for the collective good of whatever group the decision affects.

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13 Answers

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Joybird's avatar

Those are two theories….let me give you another. Profit. Profit drives the economy and is what determines what is made. Before you even develop a product you have tested to see what will and will not see and whom will and will not buy it and even for what amount of money. A profit margin is determined long before a product ever even hits the market. If something isn’t thought to be able to produce a good profit for share holders it is scraped for development.
Even as an artist I test the market and quickly determine what will and will not sell and what the market will bear in terms of price. I know what amount of money makes me break even and exactly what amount I have to sell at to make a profit. As an example: If I wanted an even bigger profit than I’d have to find cheap labor to make aspects or all of my product quickly or I’d have to find cheap substitutions for elements of my product that I don’t think people will notice. Now that is exactly what American Corporations do….in order to make a profit for a select few they ship jobs that could have been kept in the US out to third world countries and they use inferior products.
And we really DON’t make collective decisions on these things. Mass marketing determines these things.

YARNLADY's avatar

The best way to end a cycle of the nature you have discussed is through education.

josie's avatar

Why intervene?
If intervention actually worked, then economic cycles would have ended, if not centuries ago, then at least in the 20th century.
If intervention worked, the Soviet Union would have been a breathtaking success. The Chinese would not be talking about free markets.
The justification for intervention finally gets down to hubris. Any generation of interventionists justifies themselves by claiming that the last generation simply did not get it right.
I reckon that once upon a time alchemists continued to try to make gold from lead because they figured the last generation simply could not get it right.
The problem is not where or when to intervene. The problem is the conceit of a group of elites who imagine that they can control human nature.
Screw them.
There ya go.
Do your worst.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
gorillapaws's avatar

@josie if we didn’t ever intervene we would all be working for standard oil and buying our food from the company store, being paid with corporate coupons. The free market isn’t magical, it is great at producing innovations and such, but it also leads to monopolies, corruption, abuse of power and manipulation of governments that results in a lot of undue suffering for the vast majority so that a very small group of elites can live big. Take a look at any totally unregulated capitalist economy in the 3rd world and you’ll see how great it is when there’s no basic consumer/worker protections. Read up on the guilded age.

Communism is just as bad on the other end of the spectrum, but I’m sick and tired of hearing people pretend like 100% unregulated capitalism is this magical ideal.

josie's avatar

@gorillapaws Just like I said.
Let’s all wait and hope and pray for the next narcissistic politician to get it right.
Thanks for making my point.

gorillapaws's avatar

@josie you do realize that it takes politicians to impose regulations in the first place right? The reason we’re not all working for Standard Oil is because politicians had the balls to stand up Standard Oil. Read up on trust-busting.

josie's avatar

@gorillapaws Politicians have a skill.
That is to persuade that they (the politicians) have a particular gift for forcing human beings do the “right thing”.
There is always somebody who will believe their bullshit.
But take heart.
You are not alone.

gorillapaws's avatar

@josie there’s no politician trying to get me to elect Theodore Roosevelt. Perhaps you should spend more time educating yourself on history instead of regurgitating poorly reasoned and vapid propaganda. Maybe take a course on economics, so you can learn about how the market behaves without regulation, or just fly to Somalia and take a look firsthand.

josie's avatar

@gorillapaws Interestingly enough, I’ve been there. What’s your point?

gorillapaws's avatar

@josie so you think their model of totally unregulated laissez-faire capitalism would be something we should strive for? Did you happen to notice while you were there that’s it’s not exactly working out all that well for the vast majority of it’s people?

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Please take this (quite interesting) debate to an appropriate thread. Let’s get back to answering this question. Thanks!

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