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Is learning a foreign language worth it?

The prime reason I learned German in high school was because it was compulsory. The second reason was the opportunity to break down the communication barrier with over 80 million people. It was only after I travelled to Germany after high school that I realised hundreds of millions of foreign students learn English for the same reason. Ever since, I’ve wondered about the value of those years of German classes, other than boosting my high school marks. Obviously there are monetary benefits through better employment opportunities. However, there are also monetary opportunity costs – how much would one earn had they taken up chemistry instead, or simply spent the time working? Learning a language also presents a myriad of intangible and some perhaps unexpected benefits, and costs. So what is the overall value of learning a second language?

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Tragedy of the Oreos

Most mornings I am confronted with a choice of what to eat for breakfast. As a semi-rational individual, one would assume I would seek to maximise my benefits while minimising opportunity costs when making this choice.

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Scavenging for rationality at the Camberwell Sunday Market

In economics, we are often presented with the benchmark of a perfectly competitive market, in which a large number of buyers and sellers trade homogenous products with perfect knowledge regarding price and utility. The only feature Camberwell Sunday Market shares with this benchmark is a large number of buyers and sellers.

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Does being an economist make me a bad person?

Julie Nelson’s economic paper “Poisioning the well, or how Economic Theory Damages Moral Imagination” poses an interesting question: is there such a thing as ethical economics? Economic history and literature are embedded with an array of theories that have nothing to do with ethics or moral inclinations. For example, Adam Smith’s invisible hand insisted that the market itself would direct individual behaviour in the right direction.

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The boy who cried wolf

By mapping out the mechanics of a classic story using game theory, David Huang examines the idea of reputation, its importance and associated strategies.

The dynamic force of internet piracy

The free access to film and television is slowly becoming the social norm. Annie Cao uncovers the game-changing effects of internet piracy that have changed the landscape of the industry.

Markets and morality

In recent years, the interrelationship between ‘free markets’ and morality has become increasingly apparent. Stories of corporate corruption, unethical animal testing and the exploitation of workers in third world countries arise frequently in the media.

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Is the Co-op Bookshop providing value for its members?

Economics 101 is that a monopoly is fundamentally any enterprise with substantial ‘market power’ – that is, the capacity to set prices and cut back on quantity with little, if any, response from customers.  While most monopolies arise through natural monopoly conditions (for example, essential services including water and electricity distribution), others simply develop when circumstances facilitate their entrenched establishment. Such conditions include high barriers to entry for potential competitors, legislative encouragement and context-specific advancement.

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For first year university students studying commerce

A brief word to all those first year university students studying Commerce: there’s something special about the first weeks of uni. It’s not the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends (though that’s obviously a good thing). Nor is it the chance to get involved in all kinds of different activities on and around campus (through broadening your horizons is a worthy pursuit).

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