Shocking Economics 2008

I’m not quite sure what to make of this Shocking Economics 2008 video but it’s definitely thought-provoking. Sources are available at the American Freedom University web site. Happy viewing!

9 Responses to “Shocking Economics 2008”

  1. Hmmm. I’m a teacher and I knew those things. Got a hundred. Wondered if I should be insulted and decided I didn’t really have the time.

    Like you, Scott, I’m not sure what their point is. Statistics: rearrange them a little and you can make a different meaning. Make them per capita and you redraw the picture a little.

    America is great, and it’s a great economy. But my oldest daughter still doesn’t have health care and about 90% of my students still qualify for free lunch. The greatness of our economy is weighed down by the amount of our GDP that gets spend on health care – which I understand to be much larger than most other countries for some reason. And as rich as we are, we still live beyond our means – both as a country and as individuals.

    Those are a few of the thoughts the video provoked in me. That probably means I’ve been watching too much political coverage…:)

  2. Lots of questions about that data. #1: Why no EU? They use the same currency and set broad economic policy together? #2: What about “economic output” per capita? #3: Then, of course, what about purchasing power?

    Of course, whatever the economic statistic, the U.S. will be at or near the top of the lists. Fine. How being at the top of lists equates with “freedom” is really just a biased assumption. Of course, they also would have to provide some definition of freedom, which I would assume to be some version of American style Liberal Democracy infused with a healthy dose of capitalist tendencies.

    Then, I have a question for them. If we are so far ahead of the rest of the world, and have all this excess economic output … then why is the U.S. behind so many other countries in per pupil spending as a percentage of GDP according to UNESCO? (http://www.uis.unesco.org/template/pdf/EducGeneral/Factsheet07_No6_EN.pdf) Perhaps their definition of freedom does not include education.

    But, lest you all get worked up about this … “American Freedom University,” the “university” that put this out, also has a “College of Intelligent Design” … so, they don’t believe in this scientific ranking kind of stuff anyway.

  3. I’m listening to former President Bill Clinton on the live stream at MSNBC and it sounds like he’s watched this video. He’s comparing the productivity of the US economy with the declining reward that US workers get for that productivity…

  4. “then why is the U.S. behind so many other countries in per pupil spending as a percentage of GDP according to UNESCO?”

    Because we have a huge GDP. I’d bet we are below most other countries in per-person spending on (insert any random consumer good here) as a percentage of GDP as well. Comparing PPEs as a percentage of GDP seems fairly worthless. We spend more per-pupil on education than all but one other OECD nation. If dollars spent translated into student learning, we would have the best educated students in the world.

  5. This is a great video. Refreshing to be given some facts for once instead of the main stream media’s liberal agenda.

    In response to some of the other comments:
    1. The EU is not a country.
    2. If people can’t live within their means, a lot of that fault should be placed on them and not the government.
    3. If a per capita comparison means anything, why is anyone even talking about China and India as powers?
    4. Intelligent design means a lack of scientific understanding? Seriously? There is absolutely no scientific evidence at all about how life began, so why discount intelligent design as a theory?

  6. Hi Rory,

    In the US the middle class seems to believe that buying things on credit is okay, and living with large debt is normal. Our government mirrors that. I wasn’t really blaming either; just acknowledging cause and effect. Someday it probably has to be paid for…

    Per capita means something; absolute real numbers mean something. What? That’s open for discussion. But both mean more when you have the other. And the video only discusses one.

    I’m glad a decision has been made about the European Union’s status. I’d be interested in your verdict on Abkhazia, Taiwan, Northern Cyprus, Palestine, and Tibet. Are any of them countries?

  7. I was curious as to what is American Freedom University. Looks like the owner of the domain name is
    Randy Kreisher (CTLGDN-499315)
    PO Box 111
    Lewisburg, PA 17837

    In Lewisburg there is as advertising executive named Randy Kreisher. He is VP at the USAgency, Inc. Curious if it is the same person.
    It is alway interesting to know some background and the reason and purpose for websites. Important to teach our students to be aware of sources to make good sound decisions and check sources.

  8. One conclusion I got from this video is that video is a terribly ineffective way of communicating information like this.

    Perhaps I’m just a bit sensitive to such time-wasting drivel since I attended Edward Tufte’s seminar last week, but I could have read all of the data and conclusions provided in that video in < 30 seconds, but the "author" wants us to enjoy his transitions for 4.5 minutes. At the end of 4.5 minutes I have no idea why I bothered to watch the video or what I'm supposed to do with the propaganda provided within it.

  9. I’m not sure what the point of the video is. Americans consume a lot. If everyone lived like one, we’d need 5.1 planets. As a teacher, I know that the US is the largest economy. That’s not particularly shocking to most people. And the fact that it’s the biggest is not what’s important. What’s important are the implications of unsustainable, hyper-consumption. The video suggests teachers should know these “important facts”. They’re only important if they lead to discussions concerning the greater implications connected to the acquisition (and disposal) of all that wealth.
    The following video might shock people even more: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtubPRxTMB0

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