Friday, March 20, 2015


Poverty is an economic condition of lacking both money and basic necessities needed to successfully live, such as water, food, education, healthcare and shelter.

Mahtama Ghandi said that: "Poverty is the worst form of Violence". What do you think about this quote?.

Cities of the Future

How can Caracas become a better place to live?
 What are the main problems of our city? How will the Cities of the Future be?
Watch these videos about the cities of Río de Janeiro and Bogotá and get some interesting ideas.

Sunday, November 30, 2014


This week we will have debates about Economic Systems: Market and Command Systems. Market Economies are systems in which private individuals and firms make most of the economic decisions regarding what to produce, how to produce goods and services and who will receive them. On the other hand, Command economies are those were government officials make economic decisions and control economic activities. Capitalism is related to Free Market Economies, while Command Economies are related Communism.
China's case is extraordinary. It is ruled by the Communist Party, but it has a Capitalist Economic System, and has become the second most powerful economy in the world, after the USA, but predictions tell that China will surpass the American economy in the next 10 year,
These videos will enlighten us about the story behind China's economic growth. The questions: Is democracy a prerequisite for economic growth? Or is ECONOMIC GROWTH a prerequisite for DEMOCRACY?  Is democracy becoming dysfunctional?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The History of Money

Kruggerand, 0 bills, shells, cow

Barter is the exchange of resources or services for mutual advantage, and the practice likely dates back tens of thousands of years, perhaps even to the dawn of modern humans. Some would even argue that it's not purely a human activity; plants and animals have been bartering—in symbiotic relationships—for millions of years. In any case, barter among humans certainly pre-dates the use of money. Today individuals, organizations, and governments still use, and often prefer, barter as a form of exchange of goods and services.
9000 - 6000 B.C.: CATTLE
Cattle, which throughout history and across the globe have included not only cows but also sheep, camels, and other livestock, are the first and oldest form of money. With the advent of agriculture also came the use of grain and other vegetable or plant products as a standard form of barter in many cultures.
The first use of cowries, the shells of a mollusc that was widely available in the shallow waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, was in China. Historically, many societies have used cowries as money, and even as recently as the middle of this century, cowries have been used in some parts of Africa. The cowrie is the most widely and longest used currency in history.
Bronze and Copper cowrie imitations were manufactured by China at the end of the Stone Age and could be considered some of the earliest forms of metal coins. Metal tool money, such as knife and spade monies, was also first used in China. These early metal monies developed into primitive versions of round coins. Chinese coins were made out of base metals, often containing holes so they could be put together like a chain.
Outside of China, the first coins developed out of lumps of silver. They soon took the familar round form of today, and were stamped with various gods and emperors to mark their authenticity. These early coins first appeared in Lydia, which is part of present-day Turkey, but the techniques were quickly copied and further refined by the Greek, Persian, Macedonian, and later the Roman empires. Unlike Chinese coins which depended on base metals, these new coins were made from precious metals such as silver, bronze, and gold, which had more inherent value.
Leather money was used in China in the form of one-foot-square pieces of white deerskin with colorful borders. This could be considered the first documented type of banknote.
A.D. 800 - 900: THE NOSE
The phrase "To pay through the nose" comes from Danes in Ireland, who slit the noses of those who were remiss in paying the Danish poll tax.
The first known paper banknotes appeared in China. In all, China experienced over 500 years of early paper money, spanning from the ninth through the fifteenth century. Over this period, paper notes grew in production to the point that their value rapidly depreciated and inflation soared. Then beginning in 1455, the use of paper money in China disappeared for several hundred years. This was still many years before paper currency would reappear in Europe, and three centuries before it was considered common.
"Potlach" comes from a Chinook Indian custom that existed in many North American Indian cultures. It is a ceremony where not only were gifts exchanged, but dances, feasts, and other public rituals were performed. In some instances potlach was a form of initiation into secret tribal societies. Because the exchange of gifts was so important in establishing a leader's social rank, potlach often spiralled out of control as the gifts became progressively more lavish and tribes put on larger and grander feasts and celebrations in an attempt to out-do each other.
1535: WAMPUM
The earliest known use of wampum, which are strings of beads made from clam shells, was by North American Indians in 1535. Most likely, this monetary medium existed well before this date. The Indian word "wampum" means white, which was the color of the beads.
Gold was officially made the standard of value in England in 1816. At this time, guidelines were made to allow for a non-inflationary production of standard banknotes which represented a certain amount of gold. Banknotes had been used in England and Europe for several hundred years before this time, but their worth had never been tied directly to gold. In the United States, the Gold Standard Act was officialy enacted in 1900, which helped lead to the establishment of a central bank.
The massive Depression of the 1930s, felt worldwide, marked the beginning of the end of the gold standard. In the United States, the gold standard was revised and the price of gold was devalued. This was the first step in ending the relationship altogether. The British and international gold standards soon ended as well, and the complexities of international monetary regulation began.
Today, currency continues to change and develop, as evidenced by the new $100 U.S. Ben Franklin bill.
In our digital age, economic transactions regularly take place electronically, without the exchange of any physical currency. Digital cash in the form of bits and bytes will most likely continue to be the currency of the future.

Article taken from: 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Why is Education so important for the Global Economy?

Expenditures on Education, Training and Healthcare are considered investments in Human Capital. In Venezuela, we take for granted the fact that girls ans boys can go to school indistinctly. But in many countries of the world, girls and boys do not have the same rights. Malala Yousafzai is a 17 year old Pakistani girl that stood up for girls' right to Education, and has been persecuted and shot by the Taliban. She won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Welcome, first year students! This is our Economics blog. Here, I will post information related to the topics we have discussed in class. Also, I will share interesting newspaper articles, magazine articles, videos, and other readings. Feel free to comment, share, recommend, make suggestions, ask questions. Let's build knowledge through collaboration!

Economics is a social science concerned with the way society chooses to employ its limited resources- which have alternative uses- to produce goods and services for present and future consumption.

Economics is also known as the science of choice. It is a social science- and not a natural science (like physics, chemistry, biology and astronomy)- because it studies human behavior. But what about human behavior? Economics studies human choices and decisions regarding how to use scarce resources wisely, so that every individual can obtain all the goods and services that he/she needs or expects. Can you name other social sciences?

So, no. Economics is not about the money, money, money. Well, at least it's not ALL about the money. Even so, when we mention the word Economy, we immediately think about money. Money makes the world go round and comes in many forms, from shells and beads to gold coins to plastic or paper.

According to The Economist's glossary, money has three main qualities: as a medium of exchange, buyers can give it to sellers to pay for goods and services; as a unit of account, it can be used to add up apples and oranges in some common value; and as a store of value, it can be used to transfer purchasing power into the future.

A farmer who exchanges fruit for money can spend that money in the future; if he holds on to his fruit it might rot and no longer be useful for paying for something. Inflation undermines the usefulness of money as a store of value, in particular, and also as a unit of account for comparing values at different points in time. Hyper-inflation may destroy confidence in a particular form of money even as a medium of exchange. Do you know any case of Hyper-inflation around the world, which is destroying the confidence in a particular currency?

Now, talking about money, check out these interesting videos. Do you think money can buy happiness?