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A Game of Theories (Episode 1)

Psychologists refer to game theory as the theory of social situations. More specifically, it is the study of the strategic decisions, available to rational agents, producing outcomes with respect to the utility of those agents. Through analysis of different courses of action a ‘player’ can take, the outcomes which these actions lead to, and the actions which other ‘players’ might take, an optimal outcome – oftentimes a counter-intuitive one – can reveal itself. In the movie ‘A Beautiful Mind’ (2001), starring Russell Crowe as Robert Nash, game theory is explored in one scene.

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Happy Valentines Day, from Helicopter Ben!

You can do your part for the local economy by partaking in today’s Valentine’s Day!
To help you in your endeavours, here are some romantic lines which you may use on that special someone. These come courtesy of the ever-generous, Helicopter Ben.

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Standing in the Way

Sourced from Uncommon fritillary (Own work)

By Brendan Law, ESSA Vice-President 2012

The essence behind Free-Market ‘capitalism’ is the idea that the provision of incentives, say, a profit-motive, or some significant tangible benefit, create a response within a particular market that allows it to organise itself, and for goods to be produced in the most efficient way, in the desired quantities and prices.

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Car Subsidies Delaying the Inevitable

The Federal government announced recently that they will continue to support the Australian car industry through ‘co-investment’ – i.e. through tax-payer funded direct subsidies to industry. This is funneling money to multinational co-operations so they can maintain production of Holdens and Fords in Australia. All this is for one reason – to protect Australian car manufacturing jobs.

The government argues that this investment is important to maintain a car manufacturing industry in Australia, and if there no support, they would cease producing locally-made cars. For example, the government granted $34 million in subsidies to the Ford Plant in Melbourne to keep it running until 2016. Decisions such as this have been branded as important to Australia’s ‘national interest’, a clever political line to justify protectionist policy initiatives.

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The Euro Crisis: Why Greece is broke but Germany won’t do anything about it

Source: Dirk Vorderstraße

Anyone reading the news lately would’ve surely caught on that something is amiss in Europe: The so called ‘PIGS’ (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain), and especially the Greeks have been on the edge of default for months, causing  rumours that the Euro may be headed to the scrap heap.  If any of you still remember, the Euro was introduced with great fanfare nearly ten years ago which was supposed to promote closer ties both politically and economically for the EU members in the Euro-zone (The sub-group in the EU that uses the Euro as their currency).  So why then, has the Euro’s health deteriorated to such a sickly state?

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Microcrisis

 

The concept of microfinance has gained popularity recently through stories of grand success and its promise as a panacea for global poverty. Microfinance institutes provide financial services to low-income people who would otherwise be rejected by more commercial banking institutions. Microfinance includes products such as savings, insurance and loans. Microcredit is a specific name for the loans given through microfinance, and is generally the main focal point of discussion.

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Should South Africa Legalise the Rhino Horn Trade?

Rhino hunting has reached record heights in South Africa, prompting the government to address requests for establishing a legal market of Rhino horns to combat poaching.

Rhinos are currently on the ICUN Red List as critically endangered. Conservation society WWF estimated the Black Rhino population has decrease by 95% since the 1980s, from 75,000 to 4,500 in South Africa today. Currently, 80% of Rhinos are found on state owned reserves, their vast size makes them difficult to patrol and prime hunting territory for poachers. The Rhinos are tranquilised, their horns brutally chain-sawed off and left to bleed out through their mutilated heads – a long and excruciating death. More than 440 Rhinos were poached in 2011 – their horns removed for sale predominantly on the Asian and Middle Eastern black markets. The horns, used primarily for ornamental and medicinal purposes, sell for approximately $35,055 US per kilo, making Rhino horns a multi-billion dollar illegal industry on the global market.

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Globalisation

By Collin Li

My opinion is that globalisation is essential for dealing with poverty. While programs like World Vision’s Area Development Program may be helpful, I would argue they are only a small part of the effort in relieving poverty, because while the motive may seem more pure, it may be a smaller pool of energy to draw from. I would argue that the profit motive, provided by globalisation, has a far greater and wider appeal, as I believe people are inherently interested in their own well-being than others’.

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The Unhealthy Surplus Obsession

One of Australia’s prominent business commentators, Alan Kohler, summed it up perfectly in his contribution to today’s Business Spectator: As everyone in business knows, a forecast is just a forecast. In times like these, it’s not even that; it’s a guess that you hope won’t look too stupid. The chances that Wayne Swan, dubbed the …

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Academic Advice Day Launch!

Our new ESSA banner at today’s AAD Launch!

Today was ESSA’s first public appearance at University of Melbourne’s Academic Advice Day!

While the first year Commerce students of 2012 gathered for Academic Advice Day at the Spot, Joan and Esther set up an information stand along with other Commerce societies in the foyer. With the lure of a shiny exhibition banner and lollies for bribery we got to work recruiting.

 

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Economics Student Society of Australia (ESSA) – Welcome!

ESSA logo

Welcome to the Economics Student Society of Australia, more fondly known as ESSA!

So exactly who is ESSA? ESSA was founded in 2012 by a group of friends at the University of Melbourne who love Economics! During our first years of University we knew we loved economics, but had no idea where a major in Economics could take us. And VOILA, ESSA was born.

We are here to help you figure out how Economics can help you. We’re here to provide you with a support network, filled with both students and industry contacts. We’re here to provide you with a contact point to learn more about how Economics impacts you. We’re here to provide you with a forum of discussion.

We hope to provide you with that extra support we craved for when finding our feet at University.

Whether you’re in your first year or your last year, we hope to be a friend to you.

Now, enough about us… what about you? Click on more, go on, you know you want to.

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Struggles of the Australian Retail Sector

Source: Benson Kua

I was watching an episode of one of my favourite political TV shows, The Drum (Mon-Fri, ABC News 24 at 6pm) when Dick Smith was introduced as the program guest. I watched with bewilderment as Smith began ranting and raving – it went something like this:

“(without the GST revenue from electronic retail sales) we won’t have the money to pay decent wages to our nurses…our police, you won’t be able fund the ABC in a decent way, this money is gone forever.”

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