Saturday, October 8, 2016

Connecting the Dots

As I skim through my previous blog posts, I realized there were connections between them. The first post was about the economist that was assigned to our name. I made a research about the economist (Abba Lerner) and wrote about his individual works and organizations he worked with in his academic career. The second blog post was about our experience with organizations. The purpose was to think about the organizations we worked in, write about our responsibilities and structure of the organization. The purpose of third post was to write about a moment where we witnessed someone who chose not to act opportunistic when he/she can. In this blog post we questioned ethics and the motivation behind ethical behaviors, which connects with my Illinibucks blog post, as I showed ethical concerns about the allocation of Illinibucks. 

Aside from addressing the prompt, I used economic approach and information about organizations such as their structure and efficiency to connect my blog posts. It was obvious that I had to write about different aspects of organizations. However, as I wrote a few posts I realized that the structure and efficiency of organizations were the themes that dominated my posts, and I tried to focus on these to connect my posts.

I believe that my writing skills and process have evolved since the first blog I posted. The way this class is taught have helped my writings to evolve as I had a better understanding of the themes and subjects after writing each blogpost. The class format is helping students to share their works with each other. The prompts of blog posts make us question the subject in order to actively think about what we are going to write. It is helpful to question the subject and to find a relation between the prompt and theme. I read the blog posts of my classmates to see if anyone has a different idea about the subject, I believe it also improves my writing skills as I gain different points of view with each one. 

If I was writing the prompts for the blog posts, I would include two or three more questions to make students think. It’s easier to come up with a more appropriate answer as the right questions will lead to right answers. My favorite blog post was Illinibucks and I believe the reason for that was because we made up a fictional implementation. I think creativity and imagination are two of the most important elements in learning and the Illinibucks blogpost has both of them. I would also like to see more real world examples in a topic like Illinibucks. I think it would be great if a similar real world example would be given after the Illinibucks blogpost. The problems associated with real implementations or organizations can help us compare the outcome we expected and the real outcome. I like spending more time on questioning rather than writing, and this has been the case for most of the blogposts so far (except the first blogpost). 

Friday, September 30, 2016


The concept of Illinibucks would be interesting as the administration of University of Illinois would have to set a price for the rights of the people. Setting a price on other peoples rights would be a difficult and unethical task that can cause problems among students since it’s not a measurable value. An interesting use of Illinibucks would be to make the seats in class available in Illinibucks, meaning that the ones who have more Illinibucks would be able to sit in front of the class just like in concerts or sports events. The students who have more Illinibucks would be able to sit in front of the class and get better grades. This makes the allocation and pricing critical since the Illinibucks were given by the university administration and they affect the grades of each student accordingly.
The implementation of Illinibucks would cause a lot of trouble and injustice. Let’s assume that the university is allocating Illinibucks depending on the GPA of each student. A lot of research on the effectiveness of classroom seating on students grades came into conclusion that the students who sit in front of the class had better grades than the ones who sit in behind. If the university allocates Illinibucks according to GPA’s of students, then students who sit in the back of the class would have less chance to get Illinibucks in future. The similar injustice can be seen in many other real life issues such as vicious poverty cycles. The cycle of poverty in Illinibucks would go on until a student who sits in the back of the class would study hard and get A’s on his/her classes. In order to prevent this cycle, the allocation should depend something other than the GPA of students.
If the implementation of Illinibucks were real, I would look for ways to invest them rather than spending them to cut in lines. Cutting in lines would be an unwise way to spend the Illinibucks as one would only save a short period of time in exchange. In the seating assignment scenario, each student has a chance to invest in themself by buying a seat in front of the class. This way, the amount of Illinibucks I was allocated would increase each year (as I would get good grades on every class) and I would be able to spend some spare amount of the Illinibucks in my daily life to cut in lines or register to classes earlier.
The administered prices would raise an issue until the market finds the equilibrium price. The low prices administrated by the university would attract the attention but decrease the value of Illinibucks. Since everyone would afford to skip lines or sit in front of the class, there would be a chaos and nobody would have privilege. Another aspect of the inaccurate pricing would be high administered prices which would even lead to forming of black markets. If the Illinibucks were overvalued it would attract less students, and fewer privileges would be available as students would not want spend their bucks all at once. However, these problems would be solved as the market would find the equilibrium price in time. The Illinibucks implementation would be a system of mutual interdependence where the values of goods and services would be set by the students after some exchanges have been done.

In conclusion, the concept of Illinibucks would be complicated to implement as there are too many unknown factors that should be determined in order to optimize the usage. Setting a price on services or basic rights can cause many problems since it would be difficult to measure their values. A lot of different fields could be found to spend Illinibucks besides sitting in front of the classes or cutting in lines but I would look for ways to invest. The pricing of Illinibucks could be complex but the optimum price would be found after implementation was done.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


When I was in high school, I went to Kenya for humanitarian aid with my father and his friends. Our goal was to bring meat to poor villages in Mombasa, a city in south of Kenya, as there were a lot of people who could not afford it. Before we leave our country, my father and his friends have gathered money from their relatives to buy meat in Kenya on behalf of them.

When we got to Mombasa, we had the chance see the city center and meet with a lot of friendly locals. One of them has offered to take care of our transportation in the city as soon as he heard about our purpose of visit. He told us which villages to go and where to find a slaughter house so we agreed to meet with him the next day. 

We went to the slaughter house to get meat and start distribution. Our driver, Mohammed, took us to the poor villages in Mombasa and started to look for a safe place to start handing out meat. He worried that some people might try to take more than they need as the trunk of the car was full with meat. In our first stop, we found a safe spot to hand out meat. Mohammed advised us to hand out the meet to women, as they will cook to their children.

Our second stop was too crowded and there were a lot of men. Mohammed told us to go to a safer place as he was worried that the aid might turn into a chaos. We decided to park the car outside of the village and carry the bags to people. Once we gave all the bags in our hands, we went back to the car to get more bags and realized that we haven't actually locked it. There was a young men next to the car keeping an eye on the meats and keeping people away from the car.

It was that moment I realized that he could have let people to take all the bags, but he didn’t. He also had the chance to act opportunistic and take everything, however, he decided to be ethical and stayed with the car until we got there. The only reason why he did that is because he had moral values and he wanted the distribution to be done fairly. It was ethics that kept him away from being opportunistic.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

My Experience with Organizations

During my senior year of high school, I was the head of the student council with one other senior student. Two representatives (a boy and a girl) from each freshmen, sophomore, junior and senior was elected to form the student council that worked in collaboration with the school administration. Our student council was much more effective than student councils I have heard about in the other high schools. The goal of our student council was not only to represent students in school administration, but also to find solutions to local problems in the area. 

The priority mission of our council was to make sure that the school regulations were adopted by students. We tried to find midcourse in regulations between the requests of students and administration. Our organization suggested that a vending machines should be placed in the school as some students were not enrolled for the meal program provided by the school. Most of the students were complaining about the regulation since they were not allowed to order food to school. The transaction cost of placing a vending machine, such as transportation and renewal of products, was covered by school. 

Another program we started was in collaboration with the local animal shelter. The district of my high school is famous with it’s stray dogs and the animal shelter was not big enough to take care of these dogs. I got in contact with the shelter and I was told that a supply of dog food would be the most efficient way to help. We started an aid campaign and gathered 110 kilograms of dog food for the animal shelter. Later, the school administration was impressed by the amount and they have organized a trip to the shelter. 

Being the head of the student council gave me a lot of chances to learn about structures of organizations. Our organization consisted of eight students, two from each year, audited by the school administration as if the student council was a sub-organization. Throughout this time period I have talked and negotiated with the school president frequently on many other cases. The connections we formed with the animal shelter taught us how to approach to other organizations in an appropriate way.

Who is Abba Lerner?

Born on 28 October 1903, Abraham (Abba) Ptachya Lerner was a Russian-born British economist who was influenced by socialist movements in economics. Lerner entered London School of Economics in 1929 where he published several top-rank papers about international trade theory and general equilibrium theory that brought him attention. After his student career in London School of Economics, he met with John Maynard Keynes, the founder of Keynesian economics in Cambridge. His works with John Maynard Keynes have made him famous and he is seen as one of the pioneers of Keynesian revolution. In 1937 he moved to United States where he began his teaching career in universities.

In 1934 Lerner published his well-known paper about Pareto-optimality, where he introduced all the important Paretian rule for efficiency. His contributions to Paretian theory have led him to join the Socialist Calculation debate with Oskar Lange. In most of his works, he emphasized the efficiency that can be attained by the P=MC rule. While he adopted the socialism, Lerner was never a narrow-minded economist, he always stated that private enterprise should take over any industry in a socialist economy if it’s more efficient. In 1944, Lerner published “The Economics of Control” where he gathered his works on socialism, trade, welfare and Keynesian theory together. He also brought new ideas in this book about optimal distribution of income arguing that equal distribution of income is optimal, which led to a debate with Milton Friedman. After 1944 he mostly focused on economic policy rather than economic theory. 

With his many contributions in the field of economics, Abba Lerner is considered as one of the pioneers of Keynesian revolution and one of the most important economists of 20th century. His works on international trade, welfare, investments and savings in Keynesian theory have brought different points of view to economics which could have easily won a Nobel Prize.